the Tribe


Lee-Ming Au, via email

WIN THIS NEXT MONTH! MOTOR MAGAZINE PRIZE PACK Letter of the Month winner Lee will be ogling a brilliantly detailed Alpine A110-50 model with an extra $200. Next month, our pack includes $200 cash prize, 12-month MOTOR subscription edition replica half-scale Warren Luff helmet. We award ideas, opinions, prose and originality,




THE MOST topical and anticipated new car in recent times, the A90 Toyota’ Supra, has been officially revealed. However, there is strong debate on whether the A90 is in fact a real’ Toyota.

On the for’ side, it’ a two-door, rear-drive, inline-six sports car, harking to the Supras of yesteryear. Even the script of the badge on it closely resembles that of the famous Mk IV version. On paper this appears to be the perfect successor Fast & Furious fans have been waiting for.

But the naysayers will point out the fifth generation has a BMW drivetrain and interior, and the chassis was co-developed with the German marque, rather than a car that has been uniquely designed and developed by Toyota itself (like previous generations).

Further they argue it is over styled and doesn’ have the clean lines of the originals, doesn’ have a manual transmission option (for now at least) and will not even be made in Japan!

Although I say that if it takes a joint effort with BMW to bring back a classic badge, then why not? In the current automotive landscape dominated by SUVs, dual-cab pick-ups and electrification, I think we should be thankful that a new Supra exists at all. And from the prices quoted (in the US), it may be accessible for many car enthusiasts.

The real test of its success, though, will be how it drives (which I assume not many have done so yet), and having been tuned by Tetsuya Tada, it’ unlikely to disappoint. I’ m sure you guys will have the drive impression details in the not-too-distant future…

Lee-Ming Au, via email

Our thoughts almost exactly mirror yours, Lee. People are getting very upset about the new Supra; seems weird to be angry that a car company has released a new sports car, circumstances aside.


I found an anomaly in the October 2018 issue of the magazine regarding the feature on the new 2.0-litre MX-5.

Even with a favourable power-toweight ratio, how does a small bump in power (17kW) and torque (5Nm) help it complete the quarter mile in 14.5-odd seconds? How does an extra 17kW/5Nm knock off about 0.5sec from the 0-400m time? Other publications have touted the old 118kW MX-5 to be a 15sec car. A 14.5sec quarter mile from a naturally aspirated engine (even in a light shell) seems far-fetched. Even with a professional driver, the best possible octane fuel, it doesn’ put the new MX-5 on par with boosted cars.

To put this into perspective, a 1995 BMW E36 M3 (236kW) did about 14.5sec across the quarter mile, so does a 221kW Nissan 350Z. Modern hot hatches like the 213kW Audi S3 manual and a VW Golf GTI (DSG) will do 14s. Even a Honda S2000 (177kW), with a much more high tech engine and gearbox, will roughly do high 14.

Anonymous, via mail

We got a 14.68sec from the 118kW 2.0 MX-5 at Winton, Bang For Your Bucks 2016. As for comparisons to the older cars, there are lots of variables to consider but an important one is that performance tyres have come a very, very long way in the last 25 years.


In the Jaguar XJR feature in The Annual 2018 issue you write “600 horsepower through the wheels”. I’ m having trouble reconciling your published figures.

With the XJR you say 423kW which translates to 575hp. An engine of 423kW would find it difficult to transmit 575hp “through the wheels”.

I have a modified SRT8 that produces 720hp at the engine and on the dyno will give 600hp, however a more useable tune is 575hp – which we call at the wheels. Hence my confusion.

David Compton, via email

Love the attention to detail but the opening line to the story was a legendary Mad Max movie quote, it wasn’ actually referencing the XJR.


I considered the new Fiesta ST before I upgraded from the old one to a Golf GTI Original in early 2018. Asked about it at my local’ Ford dealer (there are not many left) and they told me the car had been confirmed to skip Australia.

To revheads like us, the Fiesta ST represents fantastic value. But to most of the car buying public, it’ thirty grand for a tiny car that can barely fit more than two adults. m glad I bought my 2014 Fiesta ST and while I’ m happy with my upgrade to the Golf, I kinda miss the little bastard and if Ford made the damn thing available, I would definitely have purchased another. The interior upgrades, dollar saving and factory LSD makes a very compelling argument.

Greg Broderick, via Facebook

The new Fiesta ST has been delayed for Oz; it’ due to arrive early next year.


Andrew Dove

Porsche Cayman | 2.7-litre flat six, 180kW/273Nm ODO 140,000KM | OWNED FOR 6.0 YEARS


WHY DOES THE CAYMAN IMPRESS YOUR CLIENTS? I’ m a tailor, so it’ almost like you’ ve earned this car, it’ not a corporate handout, you had to go out and earn the money to get a hold of that car and that’ a justification that maybe you’ re not a knob. Or, you are a knob that can earn money, and if you can earn money, that means you might know what you’ re doing.

BUT THAT’S NOT WHY YOU OWN ONE. If you do get it on the Reefton Spur the thing just handles and comes alive. The whole thing comes together on a whole. You can put it through a tight set of bends with negative cambers and it just stays really composed and feels very high quality. If you chuck it in a tight corner in third or second gear you can get a little bit of oversteer. You can’ hang the back out, but you feel the rear tyres squirming as you accelerate.

PLANS FOR IT? When I bought it, it was $30K less than the S for the same year. And I was shopping for a $50K car. There’ nothing in that price bracket, that I can think of, that comes close to this car. The Toyota 86 is a nice car, but it’ not a Porsche. I’ m never going to sell it. maybe get an S. But I don’ plan to.

REALLY? In the Porsche world, you’ re always going to be able to get a Cayman for half the money [of a 911], which is almost just as good in terms of performance and handling. The Alpine A110 is exciting but has the wrong gearbox. The Elise would be great but they’ re just too hardcore.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS CARS. I had a BMW 318is, the one with the twin round headlights, to me it was a baby M3. So that was great fun. I had a Vauxhall Astra GTE 1.8. I lived in Spain and drove that everywhere. The roads across some of Europe in the 90s had no speed enforcement. You’ re pushing your luck, but that was part of the fun.


I regularly drive on the Goulburn Valley highway near Molesworth. Wire barriers are now installed on both sides, and along the middle. Recently, I came around a bend to find a car stopped in the emergency lane. When I saw it, it was too late to brake and the middle barrier prevented me from swerving slightly. If the driver opened their door, I would have killed them. I had nowhere to go at 100km/h.

It was not their fault, they were nearly on the barrier. I support these barriers on the edges of roads, or down the centre of freeways, but on a road like this it was an incomprehensible risk.

Whilst I understand the reason the centre barrier was installed, to prevent vehicles crossing the centre line, nobody I have spoken to agrees with the centre barrier. They agree it is unsafe.

The outer barriers need to be moved at least a metre back if not more and the centre barrier removed before it creates more accidents. “Towards Zero” is noble, but will be waste of time and money without a more pragmatic approach.

Paul Salcombe, via email

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On my P-plates, I want a Lamborghini. Huracan would be cool, but I would love an Aventador. Alas there’s one problem – it’s illegal. I could get any car I could dream of on Ls, but on P-plates I’m only allowed about 130kW per tonne.

I’m only 13 so I have a few years to save, but there’s no point in buying a car that I couldn’t drive for a few years after my Ls. I could also spend the next few years campaigning to get the P-plate power restriction removed.

If my protest doesn’t work what car should I get? I like how well the BRZ tS is rated against the MX-5 RF and 86 Performance Pack though in Bang For Your Bucks it is easily beaten by a Golf GTI. I’ve also been looking at an old atmo Lotus Elise, it just slips into the power requirement, or the lack-of-power requirement.

I’d love some advice, Lotus, BRZ or Golf, or something else? Anyway thanks for the great mag otherwise I wouldn’t know where to start.

Elliot Benson, via email

Buy an early Toyota 86 GT manual. Lots around, pretty cheap. A reasonably safe car, reliable, and get involved in cheap motorsport like dirt khanacrosses.

Find someone there to take you under their wing. Do it often, learn as much as you possibly can, and then shop for something with more power.


I have read your magazine for 15 years. Back in the 2000s you may remember a magazine called SPEED.

My friends and I avidly collected it and when it suddenly stopped arriving in NZ we failed to learn why. We then gathered all our issues stored them safely away in my parent’s garage. Unfortunately some years ago they were dumped in a skip bin during a clean.

Since we have tried to find copies again as we all loved the way the articles were written, especially the tuning guides for each of the popular Japanese engine series. They helped shape the way we bought and modified our own cars through our early years but more so than anything else we were all blown away by the design and photography and the way it was put together. I thought there might be some of the stylistic influences of SPEED in some of MOTOR’s layouts?

We’ve had many beer-fuelled debate about what transpired to take down what we thought was going to become a staple of automotive literature. We would love to know what happened to and why it suddenly disappeared.

Ben Lewis, via email

SPEED was possibly too niche to be sustainable, but that also meant those who did love it, loved it. That included the current team at MOTOR. In fact, the designer who did the new MOTOR also designed SPEED. Not a coincidence!