Inbox

YOUR SAY

Brian Wood, email

GO AHEAD, TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINK

But please, keep it tight (no more than 200 words) and do include your suburb if via email: wheels@wheelsmag.com.au You can also have your say on Facebook (search for Wheels Australia), Instagram or Twitter

LETTER OF THE MONTH

‘How good would an MX-5 EV be with an instant 150kW/350Nm and a 350km range?’

BRING ON THE MX-5 EV!

I FIND MYSELF, once again, in fierce agreement with Editor Inwood. A relatively inexpensive electric sports car would do wonders to convert the recalcitrant ICE diehards (e.g. me). How good would an MX-5 EV be with an instant 150kW/350Nm and a 350 kilometre range? Ok there are compromises but auto engineers have been rather adept at overcoming compromises and turning them into a feature. A Porsche 911 has the engine in exactly the wrong spot but rather than preventing it becoming an icon, it’s a main reason that it is. Conversely, front-wheel drive was driven by cost and packaging but suffered from the silly idea of sending power to the same two wheels responsible for steering. Early attempts to harness 100kW resulted in the tiller turning into a rattle snake. Now over 200kW is quite manageable (somehow) and a barrel of t fun. More recently, the dumb idea of jacking up a perfectly good sedan whilst adding weight to create an SUV was all compromise, yet some are surprisingly capable of a fast, enjoyable punt. Yes, I might be stretching credibility on that one, but you get the point? Ok, it’s a little difficult to see how they might overcome the lack of an engaging noise or the joy of changing gears… but, give ‘em time.

Brian Wood, email

Keep the faith, Brian. It’s happening 

– Ed

 START ‘EM YOUNG

THANK YOU for the beautiful page of my grandson Gabriel and Ferrari. I am referring to the article ‘Dream to reality’ in the July issue.

In it, my grandson Gabriel was surprise-visited by Ferrari Australia and the publishing team of Wheels magazine.

Previously, Gabriel 13, wrote to Wheels about his passionate effort to own a Ferrari – which then led to this visit. Now, as Gabriel’s grandfather I am naturally proud of him for his unconventional wish. In this wish I see a longing for the individual motor car, its engineering and style.

Today we take motoring for granted. Never before was the motor car so reliable and welldesigned to perfection and comfort. And yet, some of us are aware of history, complexity and also shortcomings of cars that are not churned out by robots.

If young people sense this and a friendly editor of Wheels gives support – then a valuable interest is created. So, in a nutshell: Thanks to Wheels magazine for including young people in your articles that are always valuable and inspiring.

Franz Spranger, Seddon, VIC

To be honest, Franz, we’re just as stoked as you about a new generation sharing the passion for cars 

– Ed

STAY FOCUSED

I’VE JUST RECEIVED July’s Wheels and noticed that I have just been awarded my second year free subscription to Wheels.

I appreciate the recognition and the freebie after many decades of paying my own way. I started out working on my own car, went on to racing on- and off-road in WA, was MD of a Toyota dealership, GM of Chrysler Jeep Australia, MD of Hyundai Australia and have been a car industry watcher all my life (72 years).

I left corporate life in 2001 to become a Mr. Mum and experience my young family first hand rather than second hand. As you have no doubt observed I am looking to use my love of the car industry, a little like Robbo (huge respect) to have some minor influence on its direction.

When I selected Jeep dealers in the ’90s, I would go straight past the showroom and talk to the Service Manager. That’s where you would find the value they put on their customer base and how they would treat future Chrysler Jeep owners. I have to laugh at the current corporate strategy that FCA has employed to try and win back customers. You will have picked up from my “lemon” letter that some of the industry has lost their way when it comes to understanding the worth of their customer base.

“MANUALS ARE A GIANT PAIN IN THE ARSE

I believe there is a place in your mag to assist the industry to refocus some of their energy on understanding the true value of their customers. Also to help potential purchasers to see the total picture of the companies and product they are getting into bed with.

I would be pleased to assist if you believe there is a place for end user opinions in your automotive bible.

Doug Croker, email

In certain instances, the focus on customer satisfaction has become subservient to managing the power and reach of the brand. That needs to change and the only way it will is with strong, independent voices in motoring media 

– Ed

TAKE COVER

I LOVED the coverage you guys gave to the wonders of the turbo in your July issue. Especially the brief history lesson on pages 44-45. But that cover? Wow. Clearly the worst ever I have seen on my favourite auto magazine. It looked like a UK Top Gear cover from their Manga period about five years ago. Dreadful.

Rod Davies, Willetton, WA

We knew that cover would divide opinion, Rod, but once in a while it pays to change things up a bit. This month is more of a traditional Wheels treatment, wouldn’t you say? 

– Ed

STICK IT!

IT’S OFFICIAL! I have the complete $&^$$ with readers (and some of motoring writers) lamenting the lack of manual trannies in so many fantastic cars.

My first three cars (and several since) were manuals. They also had cross-ply tyres, smashable windscreens, drum brakes, often dodgy carbies, etc. In other words, way behind what we now feel is essential. And in 2018 I hired a car in the UK: a Fiat complete with gutless engine and a floor-shifter. Yeah, I can still drive a manual. And no, I did not enjoy the experience. Rowing between gears to overtake on the motorways was bad enough, but I got RSI of the left arm (and leg!) in the cities. Hopeless!

If you want/need that ‘interaction’, buy something almost certainly second-rate.

Unless you can afford a 911. Otherwise, get an IS 350 with paddles (which I only ever used on mountain roads), or anything from AMG. And if you say an A45 (auto, folks!) isn’t hilarious to drive, you haven’t got a pulse! Ninety percent of Aussies actually live in cities. Manuals are a giant pain in the arse in cities! Suck it up and move to the 21st century, troglodytes.

Stuart Kennedy, Bli, Bli, QLD

We reckon the manual ‘box still does have its place, but that place is getting ever smaller, for sure. As for the 911, manual variants are shrinking fast 

– Ed

WIN!

LETTER OF THE MONTH PRIZE

Good product planning is always appreciated. Have a year’s worth of free mags on us, Brian!

The question

DO YOU THINK FUEL CELL VEHICLES CAN WORK IN OZ?

FOR

I hope they become mainstream. EVs aren’t quite right as battery alone takes too long to recharge and is not suited to our country towns in Australia and the distances between them.

Mark Jones

AGAINST

It’s all down to the infrastructure. You need to be able to use it before you buy it. How many refuelling stations do we have country wide? There’s your answer.

Lisandro Fagnano