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WOW!

LETTER OF THE MONTH

THE INFORMATION I HAD MISSED MOST WAS THERE, RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY EYES!

DATABANK DATA BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND

WOW!Wheels October 2019 just arrived in the mail. Immediately, I tore open the wrap and turned, as has been my practice for years, to start reading from the back cover forward.

I turned to the last page of ‘Your Complete New Car Buyer’s Guide’ and it struck me a fair smack between the eyebrows … empowerment had returned, in all its glory! For each variant for each model under each brand, the information I had missed most was there, right in front of my eyes! A ready reference to be sure.

Thanks for listening to the feedback provided by readers. You’ve made my day … er, week … er, month! I’m one happy chappy!

Noel Allison, Deception Bay, Qld

Thanks for the feedback and kind words, Noel. We’re glad Databank generated so much feedback to help us restore the fields readers like yourself clearly value. It’s a section that requires serious man hours, but we’re committed to inputting some of the detail still missing (like Issue Testeddates) so to everyone, please bear with us – Ed

LETTER OF THE MONTH PRIZE

And you’ve made our editor a happy chappy too, Noel. Enjoy the next 12 issues of Wheels on us, whichever way round you like to read it!

SUV CRAZINESS

I DON’T GET THIS SUV craze. And I sure don’t get families buying 4x4 utes. Okay, if you’re a farmer, carry heavy goods or are a tradie, yep, I get it. But a family mover? A primary family vehicle? Nope. Why the hell buy an SUV over a car, apart from sitting high on the road (I concede this is a positive). They use more fuel, they don’t handle as well, or stop as well (many 4x4 utes still have drum rear brakes!), and they can be an absolute bugger to park.

I’d much rather a Mazda 6 or Commodore wagon in which to ferry the kids than a mega ute or SUV. In many cases, the family wagons will have more luggage space than your ordinary SUV. Like I said, I don’t get it...

Tom Bartholomew, via email

We give a resounding “hear, hear!” to your 4x4 ute vs wagon rant, Tom. Wecouldn’t agree more – Ed

“THE UP DELIVERED IN SPADES

WHAT LIES BENEATH

IN ‘ATMO HEROES’ (Wheels, September 2019), you expressed delight at the handling of the Chrysler 300, expecting such an overt American to fall short (my paraphrasing).

It’s only American on the outside. Underneath the Chrysler is the Mercedes W210 E-Class platform (1995-2002), given to Chrysler by Daimler-Benz during the 1998-2007 ‘marriage’ and which provides the Chrysler with the “surprisingly direct and trustworthy” and “balletic” handling you enjoyed. Actually, an interesting road-test comparison would be the 2019 Chrysler 300 and the 1999 Mercedes E55.

David Evans, Braidwood, NSW

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

SOMETIMES LESS IS indeed more (‘Atmo Heroes’, Wheels, September 2019), but not just in the high-performance world.

Take for example unassuming numbers of 55kW/95Nm for a five-seater hatchback. In today’s force-fed world, such stats are certainly modest, but if coming from a characterful atmo 1.0-litre three-pot engine in a taut yet light body, they can scream out absolute delight.

Recently I sampled exactly the above in the form of a rental car in Crete. The little VW Up did not impress me for the first five minutes – until I had become used again to the forgotten pleasure of driving a well-sorted manual car and simply working it well up in the rev range. Thereafter it was pure enjoyment – one tight mountain road and delicious gear change after another.

The Up just continued to deliver in spades. After three days it was hard parting with the modest Up, 55kW and all.

Elardus Mare, Waterford, WA

You’ve discovered why the Up has become the car bought by more motoring journalists than any other,Elardus. Sounds like a great trip – Ed

IT’S A BIT RICH

I TAKE TOTAL OFFENCE to Stephen Corby’s column ‘Rich Pickings’ (Wheels, September 2019). There are too many people like Corby in Australia out to chop down the tall (and hardworking) poppy.

I bought my first Ferrari in the UK, a manual 360 Modena; drove it at high speeds across Europe; shipped it back to Australia and drove it from Melbourne to Perth in 31 hours; shipped it to New Zealand where the police are a lot friendlier. I then shipped it back to Australia after 20,000 kays in 12 months and sold it for more than I paid for it.

I moved back to New Zealand after 35 years in Australia. I own a Lambo Superleggera that I put 10,000 kays on in the first three months. I have a 458 Italia that I recently purchased and drove around New Zealand, putting 10,000 kays kay on in a short space of time.

I’m from a welfare family whose father died I when I was five and I have earned and paid wh for for everything I own; no debt on a personal collection of 40 different bikes and cars col ranging from a Fiat 500 to Vespas.

Celebrate hard-working people who enjoy C spending spe on their passions – in this case, cars.

Allan Rickerby, Auckland, NZ

KEEP IT REAL K

WHAT HAS HAPPENED to Australia’s number one motoring mag? It was not that many years ago you could trawl through its pages and find items of interest to any motorist. Now mostly all you find are $50,000-$100,000-plus vehicles that the average motorhead could never afford or aspire to! The September issue is a good example of the trend. Let’s have a few more articles on the bread-and-butter vehicles that most of us drive, please…

Bryan Sheppard, Albany, WA

Balancing aspirational against affordable is something we work really hard on, Bryan. But we appreciate the feedback, and can assure you there’s plenty of the latterin the pipeline, so stick with us – Ed

IN DEFENCE OF EVS

I WORK WITH THE Electric Vehicle Council. We thought the survey by AVL referred to in your online article ‘Australia’s EVs are dirtier than petrol cars’ (whichcar.com.au) is deeply flawed. Its calculations overlook battery recycling, yet by 2025 around three-quarters of used EV batteries will be reused and then recycled. The AVL report also calculates production emissions based on average US grid emissions. But because of the economics involved, manufacturers are highly unlikely to run massive, energy-intensive production purely on grid power. The Tesla Gigafactory, for example, has one of the largest solar arrays in the world on its roof.

The AVL report is at odds with recent major studies that show the lifecycle CO2 emissions are lower for EVs than ICEVs. In 2015, a Union of Concerned Scientists report found that on average, BEVs produce less than half the global warming emissions of comparable gasoline-powered vehicles in the US grid, even when the higher emissions associated with BEV manufacturing are taken into consideration.

Anil Lambert, Horton Advisory, NSW

#001-derful!

EYES ON THE PRIZE

HOW’S THAT FOR A GIVEAWAY CAR?

Our mates at Unique Cars were trawling through an old issue of Wheels and came across this 1988 promo when we gave a lucky reader HSV VL Walkinshaw chassis #001. It was worth a cool $45,000 back then, and raises the question: where is it now?