AutoSpeed in 2009

Posted on January 9th, 2009 in AutoSpeed,Opinion,pedal power,Reviews by Julian Edgar

It’s a new year – so what do we have coming up in AutoSpeed?

In short, it looks to be a great year.

First-up, we’ll be continuing our ‘How to Electronically Modify Your Car’ series. At this stage the series has about 15 parts – it may grow a little. By reading those stories, you can be taken from knowing literally nothing about electronically modifying a car to the stage where you can confidently make changes to analog and digital signals, and understand how car systems can be altered.

In the second half of the year we expect to cover an innovative development in DIY electronics that will put the power of making major, custom electronic modification of cars into the hands of everyone. It’s a development that has been more than 12 months of work in the making, and one that I think is enormously exciting. More on this as we get closer to launch.

In the first few months of this year we’ve also get new car tests coming on the Mitsubishi Ralliart Lancer, Holden Calais Sportwagon, Lexus RX400h and Lexus GS450h hybrids, and Hyundai i30 diesel.

In DIY tech stories, we’ll be covering how you can engineer space-frames without mathematics or engineering knowledge, how to build an ultra lightweight portable drill from scrap parts, and how to reshape factory seats to get much better comfort and support.

We’ve also got upcoming stories on the MRT modification packages for the Evo X Lancer and late-model Subaru turbos, a story on the brilliant Whiteline Black Box modification for electronic stability control systems, and a two-part series on the development of an ultra light-weight electric car. And for something a little from left-field, we also look at how custom acrylic canopies can be formed – perfect for alternative design cars.

Finally, this year we will also be covering the design and development of Chalky, a new recumbent pedal trike that will combine extreme ride comfort, foldability and cutting-edge design that includes both ‘bicycle’ and ‘leaning trike’ modes of cornering. It will be probably the world’s most advanced human-powered machine suitable for general use.

And those are just the start – as usual, we’ll publish more than 100 new stories this year.

16 Responses to 'AutoSpeed in 2009'

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  1. Ford Man said,

    on January 9th, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Wow, can’t wait. Particularly ‘chalky’.

    Any plans to look at car safety?

    Survey battery technology?

  2. Monty said,

    on January 9th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Upcoming articles sound great. I suspect you’re working towards developing a lightweight, electric commuter. Now that will be an interesting read!

  3. Ben said,

    on January 10th, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Another interesting thing would be to follow/copy/etc the HOT4’s Hyundai I30 diesel project car. Apparently they have got 15kw at the wheels (89 vs 64 stock) with a pod filter of questionable worth and a computer re-fash. Dropping the 1/4 from 17-odd to the mid 15’s. I’m following it anyway, but the other readers might benifit from it.

    Incedentally I remember reading about an aftermarket stability control adjuster and thought it was on here… But I used to have a sizeable magazine stash, so it could have been in there.

    It does sound like you have some pretty cool stuff coming. Good luck with all your projects.

  4. Julian Edgar said,

    on January 10th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Ford Man,

    We don’t have anything specific coming up on car safety. Battery technology? – perhaps. Darwin – Adelaide solar race on this year, and also new Prius will be out. The two would go well together…

    Chalky? yep, spent all today and last night tearing my hair out. Unless you’ve tried minimalistic, light-weight design for yourself, it’s hard to realise how difficult (impossible!) it is…

  5. Julian Edgar said,

    on January 10th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Monty, we won’t be doing that project (this year anyway) but you’re right – there’s certainly going to be enough info presented to let people start devising their own.

  6. Julian Edgar said,

    on January 10th, 2009 at 5:41 pm


    An AutoSpeed reader was good enough to lend me his i30 CRDI for 24 hours while I was in Adelaide the other week. It’s an outstanding car, and one that I’d own in a blink of an eye if I was in that market at the moment. (Test coming up in the next month or so.)

    I haven’t looked at Hot4s for about a decade but it sounds like they have chosen a good project car.

  7. Ben said,

    on January 11th, 2009 at 4:34 am

    So it seems. I got given December’s issue and found that it was the start of their project. Performance is now in the big car league and economy in normal driving has been unaffected (meaning it’s still brilliant). And the only change with real effect was the computer tuning… I”ll be following Hot4’s until the end of this series. It seems like you won’t be buying the magazine, so would you like me to email those pages to you, post the text up here, or should I not bother?

  8. Darren Roles said,

    on January 12th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Have you got much feedback about your review for the XR6? I’m sure it will ruffle a few (biased) feathers.
    I liked the fact that it shows a lot of the improvements to current vehicles are irrelevant when it comes to driving at legal speeds on public roads. Ford should have saved the money on the suspension re-design and put in an economical engine; Hybrid, Diesel, LPG etc instead…

  9. Julian Edgar said,

    on January 12th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Not even one email. However I note from our referrers’ list that a Ford discussion group is talking about it; no doubt that’s one reason for the article’s (currently) low reader rating.

  10. doctorpat said,

    on January 12th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I just rated the article as a 3/5. Not because it isn’t good, but because I realize that I need to leave myself room for giving higher marks to the really good articles.

    So I’ve dropped my whole rating level by a point.

  11. Monty said,

    on January 12th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Julian – with reference to your interest in lightweight design and its difficulties – I think you could reconsider the use of composites in construction. Your previous rejection of the material looked like it was based on the testing of a unidirectional fibre tube extrusion. A filament wound or multiaxial cloth tube would better demonstrate the advantages of this form of construction.

  12. Julian Edgar said,

    on January 12th, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Monty, I am sure that composites have huge potential in what I am doing. However, for prototypes – which is what all my pedal machines are – I think it would be terrible material to work with. I ordered the chrome moly tube today!

  13. BG said,

    on January 13th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    It is possible to prototype with composite tubes, it just depends on what you’re into and skill set.. cr-mo tube isn’t much good for those that can’t weld or braze easily, while composite tubes aren’t much use if you’re not familiar with composite laminating!

  14. Darren Roles said,

    on January 13th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Has anyone here had any experience with the 3M VHB structural double-sided tapes? By triangulating the tube with brazing/welding and laminating flat composite/alloy panels onto the structure using the tape you can get some pretty strong structures. No holes, no glues & no mess. The tapes will never fail if used properly – they’re used to assemble aircraft control surfaces among other things. The stuff isn’t cheap though.

  15. Paul Nelson said,

    on January 27th, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I have just purchased the latest Hot 4’s and there is no mention of the project car at all. Just wondering if it waan’t fast fours that was doing the project?

    P.S. I wouldn’t mind if you were able to scan and email the articles to me though at

  16. Ben said,

    on January 30th, 2009 at 5:02 am

    Yeah i got annoyed at that too. Evidently ‘more serious work will be detailed next month’ doesn’t mean the next months issue… The january 09 issue is labelled as yearbook 2008. Go figure…