Posted on August 10th, 2008 in AutoSpeed,Opinion by Julian Edgar

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to spend the 60 seconds (or less) it takes to fill in the feedback facility (top-right corner) that we’ve currently enabled on every page of AutoSpeed.

The feedback option has been running for (as I write this) a few days and, as would be expected when one of the categories is ‘content you hate’, a host of major negatives is coming in.

Let me take a look at some, and perhaps in part reply to them.

Why do you re run so much OLD stuff…have you run out of content ? or Run out of time …not fair to FILL UP your monthly leter with old stuff…people are capable of searching your files to find it if they wajnt it DONT REUSE OLD STUFF…it makes it look like you have run out of ideas or time…or both

Well, it’s very simple. Our ‘old stuff’ rates very well in terms of reader numbers and reader ratings. In other words, most of our readers have not seen the ‘old stuff’ before.

I ensure the ‘old stuff’ that is run again is still relevant, and where it is important that readers be aware that the material was first published some time ago, I add a note to that effect.

Rather ironically, when many readers who complain about ‘old stuff’ are asked what stories they like, they nominate other ‘old stuff’ that wasn’t labelled as such!

We could leave out the ‘old stuff’ and just simply repeat the article from the previous day to fill the gap, but a clear majority of readers would suffer.

to much repeated contect not enought excitign thigns like the turbo/super charged prius wheres the good unique content gone??

The good unique content? Let me count the articles! Of our new articles, nearly all are unique – ‘unique’ in terms of being material very unlikely to be published by anyone else.  Let me look over just the last month.

The NSU Ro 80  – a highly significant car now completely forgotten. I have never seen a story on it in other modified car media. I think that a historical perspective on cars is vital if technological gains are to be evaluated. Plus, old cars are just interesting!

Running Lean for Economy – I have never seen a story on it in other modified car media. This story was  written as a direct response to constant enquiries we get from people completely confused about altering mixture strengths on current cars.

The Incredible Hovering Craft – What other publication would run a 3-part series on the development of hovercraft?! I am pleased to say that at the time of writing, reader response to Part 1 of this series has been excellent.

Bench Vices – It’s a simple topic but it’s also an article of which I am proud – covering the nuts-and-bolts of working with your hands is a vastly overlooked area of modified car media.

The Chrysler A57 Multi-Bank Engine – What an incredible engine! What incredible times that caused its production! And what media would run this story?

The eLabtronics Voltage Switch – Talk about an article with a unique gestation: a modified car medium approaches an electronics company to develop a range of electronic modules suitable for DIY car modification. Hmm, never heard of that happening before, ever! This module – and this series – puts pre-built electronic modules into the hands of modifiers, modules that were simply previously unavailable at this price and functionality.

Unique content? I think we have it in absolute spades. Is it good? That’s up to you to decide.

And as for a supercharged or turbocharged Prius, well, as you’ve said – we’ve already done it. We have projects in the pipeline as exciting as that: but if you expect them to appear weekly, your expectations are simply too high.

Need to explore more fuel saving technology. has many interesting techniques that are easy to apply. Doing an article on some of their products would be very interesting. There are many other products or techniques out there to explore. This magazine seems like it would be great for doing things like this, but instead you seem to be in a rut. You are regurgetating the same stuff instead of being interesting you have become mundane. Don’t get me wrong I still like your articles, but where I used to avidly wait for the next article, I wait to see if over the course of a month or so you deliver something interesting.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. If there were fuel-saving technologies that worked brilliantly, only an idiot would pretend that they wouldn’t be mainstream and being adopted in huge strides by the companies that spend billions of dollars a year chasing tiny fuel economy gains.

I am happy to cover topics such as water injection, a technology that has a 70 year-plus history of positive technical investigation. I am happy to cover LPG diesels, diesel injection technologies, LPG and CNG and compressed hydrogen technologies, electric cars and hybrids and human powered vehicles.

When I can drive and test a car equipped with the technology, I am also happy to run stories on hydraulic energy recovery systems, hydrogen fuel cell energy efficiency converters using waste exhaust heat, and cars with unique engines.

We’ve spent a decade building the credibility of AutoSpeed; I am not going to throw that away by covering technologies that are not the subject of peer-reviewed technical papers, SAE publications and technical publications from companies like Bosch, Ricardo and Toyota. Or, as I said, technologies that can be personally experienced and tested.

Yes, of course, tomorrow a backyard inventor may turn the world on its ear in terms of engine efficiency, or alternative fuels, or some way of running cars on pure water with ultra-low energy cost. But until I am quite sure that has occurred, we won’t be covering those technologies.

If that makes us ‘mundane’, or as someone else wrote to us the other day, we’re ‘missing the boat’ on these technologies, well, I am bloody happy that’s the situation.

Simply, technologies already exist that can dramatically reduce fuel usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and car running costs. They’re well proven, have near-universal approbation in engineering and scientific communities, and can be done (often DIY!) by all of us.

Since that’s the case, I am not about to embrace mystical advances to simply enhance short-term readership numbers…

But are all the feedbacks of the sort that to a greater or lesser degree I dismiss? No, of course not.

the information is very well stated and recieved. what would be good is if there was more links/hyperlinks to different articles to read deeper into specific things that were talked about in the articles.

More cross-linking hyperlinks? Yes, I’ve got a bit lazy in doing that and will improve forthwith.

I’m in US; first found your website about 2 months ago and think your tech is some of the best on the web. Intend to purchase some of your electronics for X-projects here in US. Have searched into your tech archives and treasure your info. My specific interests right now are minimizing bsfc in older engines, aerodynamics & vehicle dynamics, and very high fuel milage vehicles. I’m a relatively older retired guy with a professional technology background

And similar feedback from lots of others, reminding me how important are tech stories – and especially hands-on tech. Whiteboard note to myself: more hands-on tech stories.

But look, if you haven’t given feedback, do so. I may be rejecting some and adopting others (and what else would you expect me to do?), best rest assured, I am reading all of it!

6 Responses to 'Feedback'

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  1. Mike said,

    on August 11th, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    I’d just like to say that even though there’s less on modified cars and Japanese imports now (my main interests), Autospeed still remains a very enjoyable, unique and fascinating read. The Hovercraft articles in particular, were superb.

    I also thought the articles on the Mercedes, Porsche 911 and NSU were brilliant – great to see these older cars getting a run. I’d definitely like to see more of these cars – perhaps some more of the lesser known ones as well.

    The engine epic series was great, and good to see things like the Gas Turbine Chrysler getting an article as well.


  2. John Kirkham said,

    on August 11th, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Julian , this has really become a bit too ‘feed backish’ your blog stuff. You need to step back a bit mate. Stop explaining…. why you have done what you do now. Has your self esteem taken a really big hit since you, changed Autospeed’s direction ? Reading between the lines here, the same flow keeps haunting the blog. I pick up nothing but doubt from you the way you keep defending yourself…. so AS has changed direction, sure. But how many times do regulars need to read why ?…

    Enough feedback on the feedback. Go damn forth blah blah…

  3. Julian Edgar said,

    on August 12th, 2008 at 6:38 am

    John, I am puzzled by your comments. I have always used a column (Initially ‘From the Editor’, then ‘Driving Emotion’, now the blog) to defend the direction that AutoSpeed takes and the content we have.

    Other than the name of the vehicle, nothing has changed.

    The title of the blog post is, I would have thought, pretty self-explanatory, and if that was hard to understand, the first two paragraphs are blindingly obvious. Why then read the whole lot (I assume) and then complain about the topic?

    Most people in the media never bother publishing, explaining or responding to criticism that is received; I like to do just that.

  4. John Henley said,

    on August 14th, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Julian, I think you missed John Kirkham’s point, and also proved his point! He is telling you to stop being so defensive and just get on and do your thing. We are quite happy with the direction that you are taking. If people are’nt then they can vote with their feet.

  5. Julian Edgar said,

    on August 14th, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Web Publications pays me to set the direction of AutoSpeed, and to justify that direction when criticisms are received.

    Placing those criticisms – and my responses – in a published form is completely appropriate, and I will continue to do so when I believe it will be helpful in promoting understanding.

    It was indeed ‘getting on and doing my thing’, which is to do the job Web Publications pays me to do.

  6. Darren Roles said,

    on August 15th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    +1 for the ‘hands-on’ tech stuff.