We have been flooded with feedback from our April issue in which I showcased a letter from "Carnut99" in my column titled, "The Street Cars vs. Race Cars Dilemma." The responses have been about what I expected and, as a result, we will be using the input to tune up the magazine. Such changes will take some time. I have selected an outtake from the April column to better outline-and reaffirm-our intentions. "So where are we going from here? I think we are on the right track. Turbo will include more street cars but will in no way abandon its motorsports roots. Turbo will remain the leader in import technology and drag racing coverage and we will mix in a broader selection of imports. But as long as Hondas are hot, Turbo will feature them. Domestics will get love as well."
Based on various comments, I learned that it's time for a new reader survey. I also learned that the Diamond Star guys are vigilant Internet users; they made up a majority of the responses. The following is a cross-section of the letters we received.
Dear Turbo,First off, let me say I love the magazine, the coverage of the import racing scene and reading about the 9-second and 10-second cars and how they make all that power. Reading about the import drags that I can't see on TV is very cool; it really gets me pumped. I also like the new products section! Hell, I even like the article on spark plug wires you had in April's issue; I found it really good reading material and much needed ammunition when it came to making wire purchases. However, what I go nuts over is seeing real street cars adorn the pages of Turbo! Sometimes I actually find myself reading over the Reader's Rides cars first and checking out the track cars last. Having said that, you should have some kind of ground rules for the street cars. I don't want to read about a mid-15-second Integra with more ground effects than metal-that belongs in Import Tuner. I also skip over all the import shows, I'm not interested in seeing slammed, painted, and stickered cars. As a little side note, it would be nice to see at least one DSM related article in the magazine per issue, especially one on Club DSM. I think that Todd Day has done more for the DSM community than anyone else and deserves huge credit for his efforts.Thanks for your time,Richard M Cumo
Dear Turbo,I would like to continue seeing the fastest cars possible. I believe this material gives novices like myself background information on how to build our own rides. Conversely, I would appreciate a page or two on crazy machines running fast e.t.s. Also give imports credit for beating down V8's on the street and at the strip. Domestics are OK, as long as they are blown. You know what we DSM'ers think of Hondas. And as far as what you already have in there, you are right on target.
Let me know what happens and thanks so much for the DSM-inspired April 2000 issue; it's been a long time since a layout of that magnitude was aimed at DSMs.Keith KummerTractionless in Gainesville, Florida
Dear Turbo,First I would like to compliment your courage for asking for input-I am sure everybody will have some sort of advice for you. I like Turbo pretty much the way it sits. It has the best race coverage in the scene and is more technically advanced than any other publication out there. I think you are on the right track with regards to adding more street cars to the mix. I also think there should be a different approach to tech. Classify tech in terms of street and track or, better yet, show how track tech can trickle down to the street. Having attended a number of import races and shows, I can attest to the fact that 80 percent of the cars out there are Hondas and I understand you need to represent the scene as a whole. Having said that, I think two or three Honda articles per issue is reasonable. I also liked the Diamond Star Tuning section; what ever happened to it?Charles LoftonIrving, Texas
We had been publishing the DSM section regularly for two or three years but recently have not had access to enough quality cars to sustain the section. There were a number of respondents who say we have shortchanged the DSMs. It also seems they weren't around when we had the section. We will do our best to continue to work DSMs into Turbo.
Dear Turbo,Today I bought your April issue based only on the fact that Sean Glazar's Talon was on the cover. Not that I wasn't already a fan of the mag, just not a regular buyer. Almost every other issue I've bought has been because I was impressed with the DSM content of it, i.e. last year's issue featuring Dave Buschur's Talon. I must say, of the import mags out there, yours is one of the best. Normally though, the issues have the same thing over and over, which I'll explain.
I'm happy to see that Turbo has decided to jump into DSM content recently; there's no car out there that deserves more attention. What really prompted me to write you was the "Leading Edge" column in this issue -"Carnut99" brought up many good points. One of the points I agree with most is "Carnut99"s observation that, while Honda's are by far the most popular brand for import tuners (God knows why.), and that there are Hondas out there running as fast as the supercars-Supra's, V8's, etc., I've gotten sick of hearing about Civics that are stripped-to-the-chassis, full, race-prepped drag cars. To be blunt, it gets old. And I understand that you have a duty to cover "what's hot," which Honda's certainly are, but there are so many other cars out there.
I was also extremely pleased by the "Leading Edge" column hint that more street cars will be featured. Street cars are almost always more interesting and exciting, plus, it gets the readers more involved in the magazine, instead of simply catering to the drag-racing gods. Another excellent idea would be to cover some autocross aspects as well, since there's just as many auto-x'ers out there as drag racers. Autocrossing seems to be heavily underrated as far as auto sports go, but I guess it's because it doesn't have the same intense competitive feel of drag racing-a sort of more abstract competition, if that makes any sense.
I don't want it to seem like I have nothing good to say about your magazine, because I do. It's one of the more informative examples out there. I especially like the "Tech" section: The more the average car owner knows about their car, the better. Another thing I enjoy about Turbo magazine is the project cars-like you point out in this issue, you work out the kinks and trouble spots so WE don't have to find them out the hard way. And by the way, complements on the choice of the MR2 turbo as a project!David Cox'93 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
Dear Turbo,I have to agree with Carnut99 on many of the points. I especially like the idea of seeing more streetable vehicles in the magazine. While the articles of vehicles stripped, slicked, and plexied gives us high aspirations at the track, I would also like seeing the quick and emissions-ready vehicles showcased. I also have to agree with the suggestion of providing a regional article every now and then. Each month you could have a focus on regions such as the Mid-West racing scene, the South-East fast cars, etc.
I stopped my subscription over a year ago because I was getting more and more disappointed in the content focus. Being a magazine that is named Turbo & High Tech Performance, I would at least expect to see more articles on vehicles that actually shipped with a turbo. However, the numbers of those are decreasing rapidly, so I fully understand the direction you've taken.
I now look through each issue at the local store and only buy it if I feel it applies to my reading needs. I still find myself spending about as much as I would on a subscription, but I hold on to all of the issues I buy and I will at least know the ones I have are the good ones.Chris Roth'92 Laser RS AWD
Dear Turbo,I appreciated your editorial concerning the "too many Hondas" issue raised by Carnut99, and I wanted to comment as well. I, too, have been reading Turbo magazine for a long time (since the late '80s), when I was busy putting a single turbo on my '86 5.0 Mustang. At the time, Turbo was the only magazine that could give me any guidance as to the nuances of such installations-the best parts guys, tech articles, etc. (Prior to Turbo, I was a die-hard Big-3 V8 guy, so I read Car Craft, Hot Rod, etc. But in the mid '80s, I bought a 280ZX Turbo and it changed everything. I may never go back to Detroit iron again (although I still appreciate the sound of a Flowmaster-equipped V8). And to make matters worse, I ended up working as a design engineer for the world's largest import automaker. (I'll let you guess who that is...)
The one thing that has separated your magazine from the others is the quality of the content. Usually, there are in-depth technical articles to be found, with new information in them, with details on mods, dyno numbers, installation information, etc. This is in stark contrast to the other mags currently available on the market now relating to the import scene. Essentially, they are a joke-the "technical" content consists of a regurgitation of products available in the market, with the manufacturers name and phone number included. Yippeee. I don't need compilations of lists of products. I can do that part.
I have to admit that I agree somewhat with Carnut99. Please back off on the 9- and 10-second Hondas. Almost all of them would not last two minutes on the street. Full-tube framed, wheel-tubbed, gutted interior, trailer queens are cool, but not real practical for a trip to 7 Eleven, or the one-hour commute to work. A couple are OK, but how about more Supras, 300Zxs, 3000GTs, MR2s, Z28s, Mustangs, etc?
I currently pilot a low, low 11-second Supra for my buddy here on the East Coast (shooting for the 10s this year!), and this car is driven 60 miles to work and back every single day, rain or shine. It's amazing. This is the kind of stuff I would like to see, and I think most road warriors can relate to it as well.
So please put more practical, everyday cars in your mag, not just drag cars. And more tech articles and hop up stuff if possible! Carnut99 is right, you can't please everybody all of the time, but I think more real world cars would better relate to your average reader.
Here's to you on a great magazine...keep up the good work!Newracer@aol.com
Dear Turbo,Recently, I received my renewal notice within days of the April 2000 issue. And while I would like to be able to write a long letter, I prefer to just get to the point. I own an '87 Nissan 300ZX twin turbo. When I began to think about upgrading its performance, the only magazine in the local stores concerning turbos was yours. I enjoy your magazine greatly. However, in the months preceding the editorial, I had noticed a vast number of Hondas now that in itself is not bad, however I cannot help but feel that a number of your subscribers are exactly like me. That is being the owner of a car that does not wear the Honda badge.
I read your magazine to gain some insight into what others are doing to their cars to increase performance. I have worked in the auto industry as an automotive tech for GM for 17 years. I must say that it would be a dream come true to be in a position such as yours. Being able to build up cars, put them on a dyno and see what happens. I can only think that my only difficulty of having such a job would be making myself go to sleep-why not stay up all night because maybe if we just changed one little thing it might make a difference in the way a car performed!
If I was to make a few requests they would be: more tech articles, fuel control systems, maybe exhaust temperature sensors-something we could use in the development of our own cars. Maybe you could alternate each month between pure strip cars and street cars?
Oh, there is one other thing. I have a special request. In two articles I've read recently, the vehicles had carbon-fiber driveshafts. One such article is in the February 2000 issue which mentions an ACPT carbon-fiber driveshaft. I am sure there are other people like me who would really like to know who to contact about acquiring a driveshaft made from carbon fiber.
Thank you very much for your time. Wish I were there.Sincerely, Billy Murphy
ACPT can be reached at (800) 799-7893, (714) 895-5544 or at www.acpt.com.