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LETTER OF THE MONTH

Bill Hemming, The Elfin Heritage age Centre, Moorabbin, Vic Vic

Keep it short and sweet (no more than 200 words) and please include your suburb if via email. You can also have your say on Facebook (search for Wheels Australia)

LETTER OF THE MONTH

EMAIL: WHEELS@WHEELSWHEELSMAG.COM.AU

JOSS STICK

Great exposure on the new Brabham BT62. (Wheels May 2018). It does Australia proud to promote the Brabham heritage and our ability to produce a world class machine.

While the current owners of this project have done a brilliant job in developing and launching the car (especially the masterstroke of making it a ‘Brabham’), there doesn’t seem to have been any credit given to the original concept.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, I’m guessing the BT62 is an extension of the Joss Supercar that was launched to great acclaim at the 2004 Melbourne Motor Show. The Joss was developed up to a couple of years ago, but without the right funding or bureaucratic support, the operation was eventually sold to an Adelaide consortium. m. t Joss creator, Matt Thomas put his whole life into the project,, e including his family, his money and his soul, before he had to succumb to a takeover offer.

As one of the partners of Elfin Sports Cars (along with Nick Kovatch), I know perfectly just how difficult and heartbreaking Matt’s Joss s journey must have been. Even n with massive support from Holden and a few investors, we had to sadly relinquish the e Elfin brand to Walkinshaw Performance in 2006.

If, indeed, the Brabham is a developed Joss, it would be only fair to show Matt Thomas s n the respect he deserves for any his part he may have played in this beautiful car’s creation.

Bill Hemming, The Elfin Heritage age Centre, Moorabbin, Vic Vic

“Is this safety tech for our for ou wellbeing, we bei g, or simplymply boosting carmakers’ ca margins?” margins?”

CRASH COURSE

Historically, we Aussies have a thirst for the take-up of a higher level of ‘techware’ than most countries, so one can understand the enthusiasm for, and fascination with, the apps and gear we’ve found in our new cars. However, where is the crash-avoidance/warning and auto-braking tech leading us? Ditto autonomous driving technology?

If this technology is justified and worth it – and it has been available overseas for far longer than we have enjoyed it – there must be concrete evidence and statistics to support implementations, which all come at a higher cost, progressively stepping up prices with each addition. A cynic might ask why road deaths here and overseas have not fallen, and if we are being goaded and lulled into sensing that these tech ‘improvements’ are in the interests of our wellbeing, or simply boosting carmakers’ margins?

Chris Miller, Wentworth Point, NSW

Chris, we think the answer lies in the fact today’s safety techequipped cars are no more costly than the comparatively spartan cars of even a decade ago – Ed

CLEAN IT UP

So Stephen Corby would never buy a diesel-engined car, ever! That’s a bit rich coming from an Australian motoring journo. Yes, in Europe diesels may cause a smidgeon more pollution than petrol. But in a country where 91 RON petrol is the fuel of choice (coming from the UK, I couldn’t believe it was still available!) of drivers who keep the engine running while parked in summer to keep the air-con on, and idling for 10 minutes from cold in winter for a two-kilometre drive to school and back, I shudder to think what the famous ‘hole in the ozone layer’ is now like.

But I’m fairly sure it’s affected more by petrol emissions than diesel; you don’t even seem to have emissions testing over here. I will claim the high ground and say that my diesel Territory is a damn sight cleaner than a lot of petrol cars and utes out there, and at 9.0L/100km it uses a lot less fuel as well! Rant over.

John Norman, via email

OK COMPUTER

I can’t wait for connected cars (Audi looks to fill drivers’ wheel time with money-making services, WhichCar.com.au/ Wheels). Imagine driving to work and knowing the car has already found a parking space for you and ordered you a coffee? The car will become your own virtual assistant. Australian laws on privacy mean that advertising will be able to be turned off. No ads and more assistance with day-to-day stuff … bring it on!

Julian Moore, via Facebook

FROM ZA TO ZD

I left my May issue on the kitchen table while I went to see the band Steel Panther (but that’s another story). However, Dad was quick to point out the next morning that your mag is wrong. He said that on page 75 of your feature covering the cars that defined Australia (65 Big Ideas That Shaped the Motoring World, May) you list the ZA Fairlane, but the picture is of a ZC or ZD.

Scott Hunter, via email

Your dad knows his LWB Fords, Scott. The available images of the ZA/ZB weren’t of print quality, so because the rear-ends are only minimally different, we used a better image of a later model – Ed

HORSE TRADING

Really? (Don’t Spare the Horses, Redline, May) Could you please point to a component, perhaps a washer or even a body panel that the Ford Mustang race car will share with the roadgoing version?

We expect a bit more from Wheels than perpetuating the myth there is some relationship between road and race cars, other than a passing resemblance.

Brian Wood, via email

RESALE OF CENTURY

After much nagging from friends I have recently bought a Toyota Prado Kakadu. Their motivation, besides the practical aspects of the vehicle for young families, is rock-solid resale value. It certainly wasn’t ride comfort, performance or dynamic ability.

When I went to trade our three-year-old Land Rover Discovery Sport (much to my wife’s horror) I was told the large number of variants and configurations available in the range made it difficult to put a value on the car. Across four Toyota dealers, there was a $12K variance!

I wonder whether the availability of a greater variety of configurations, customisation and personalisation options has done owners a disservice when we go to sell our cars.

Perhaps resale prices on a Prado hold up because it appeals to a wider audience. It only has four models, one drivetrain, six colours and three trim levels, versus something like the Range Rover Velar, with more than 40 variants and countless options.

Chris George, Gordon, NSW

“Enright writes about the Skoda’s flat, short squab, but the cushion is what you sit on!”

BACK-SEAT BASH

I completely agree about the need for manufacturers and relevant bodies to look at how we can better protect rear-seat passengers (Inbox, April). It was heartening to note ANCAP has rated the new (and amazingly popular) Ford Mustang so poorly that it has a low two-star rating – specifically for the risk of serious head, chest and leg injury for rear passengers (as well as the insufficient inflation of driver and front passenger airbags).

There’s a strong consumer expectation for new vehicles to have five-star safety ratings and this expectation (and reality) should extend to sports cars.

Jo Wilson-Ridley, via email

“Could you please point to a component these Mustangs share?”

PIGEON PAIR

Andy Enright writes about the Skoda Superb’s “rear bench that’s flat, overly firm and short in the squab” (Grip’n’Rip, March), inferring that what you sit on is the squab. This is wrong! The squab is the padded back of a car seat. The cushion is what you sit on.

I used to work for Chrysler when it made the complete seats in its squab and cushion department, so I know my cushions from my squabs!

David Edyvean, via email

Letter of the month winner

Credit where credit’s due, and that’s to Matthew Thomas for his work developing the Brabham BT62 – as the Joss supercar – if Bill Hemming’s conclusions are correct. Thank you Bill for highlighting the Brabham’s back-story. Enjoy the next 12 issues of Wheels on us.