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May 2, 2007

Here's a suggestion for your Project Laser: Buy a second one, get them both running and have a demo derby. For the price of a few cases of Guinness and a couple rattle-bombs of Rust-Oleum, you and your buddies can have a fun evening stripping down the cars and designing your own sponsor decals and race numbers. Race day is something different. You see to keep this all under $1,000, you simply can't afford to register or insure either car. The mad-dash through town toward your local abandoned strip mine is always fun and the glances from other motorists are always amusing. If you and your buddies are as dumb as I am, the demo derby usually begins at the largest intersection in town - broad daylight and witnesses present. Also, both cars need "custom" exhausts. Open header is one of my favorite configurations. Just be sure neither car is traceable back to you or you'll have to burn the evidence.-Danger Dave

Tempting. After all, the Laser has been pissing us off a bit lately. But no.

I have a 2002 Chevy Impala, and I'd like some info on the K20 and feedback on the engine I'm building compared to the K20. I have a friend with a 2005 Civic who plans to swap for the K20. From what he told me, with just headers, intake and exhaust, he'll be pushing about 260 hp. Is this really true? I know the engine comes stock with 200 hp, but can you give me an idea how fast this engine is and if the hype is true. I'm also doing a swap to my Impala. I have a 3.4L, but I'm swapping to a 3.8L Series 3, which comes supercharged with 260 hp. I plan to replace the pulleys, cam, valves, valve springs, port the heads, use a Vortech supercharger, replace the fuel injectors, add one more fuel injector, and more. I think you can see were I'm going with this. Please give me some advice about the engine and tell me if I stand a chance against it top-end wise.-Jay

All right! Some good old-fashioned bench racing. This one's actually pretty easy since your Impala, like your friend's Civic, is also a front-wheel drive. If it were powered by the rear wheels like older Impalas, the comparison would become a bit muddied due to 60-foot times and traction issues. But it's not. Your Impala weighs somewhere around 3,500 pounds, probably a bit less. Your pal's Civic weighs a lot less, at the most 2,900 pounds, and that's with the K20A in place. I don't know how much the 3.8L engine your going to put in weighs - I'm guessing at least 50 pounds more because of the supercharger, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and keep the Chevy at 3,500 pounds. If that was all there was to it, you'd lose. But it's not, and that's because your friend's K20A won't be pushing anywhere near 260 hp with just those basic bolt-ons. Let's assume the possibility that he does have the rare and expensive K20A Type R, which produces just under 220 hp in stock form and not the typical K20A engine that makes about 200 hp. With the headers, intake and exhaust, he can expect to find about another 15 to 20 hp, not 40. But that's still enough to beat your Impala. Sorry. With all that extra weight you're carrying, you'll need to scrounge about 400 hp out of that 3.8L to take that Civic out. But he can always put in some high-lift cams, swap the intake manifold and have Hondata re-flash his ECU. There's another 25 or so horsepower for him. Sorry again. Don't feel too bad though. With the exception of the S2000's F20/F22C, Honda's K-series is their most impressive four-cylinder engine yet. There's no shortage of aftermarket parts available for these powerplants and generating generous horsepower out of them isn't a problem. Don't you just love bench racing?

In the March 2007 issue you had a cooling system additive test (pages 76-81). In this test you mixed the additives with antifreeze and distilled water and then with just distilled water. I was wondering how much of the additives you put in when mixing with just the distilled water? Was it the prescribed amount on the bottle or did you add more? Thanks for your time, and I love the tech articles in your magazine, keep it up.Cory WepplerCalgary, Alberta, Canada

As far as the quantity of additives we used in each test, we followed the manufacturers' recommendations. In most cases it's one bottle per automotive cooling system. Good point, we probably should've mentioned that in the article. But read closely, we didn't find a huge difference when forgoing the antifreeze and using the additives with distilled water alone. For example, when we mixed DEI's Radiator Relief with pure water, our temperatures only dropped by another 2 percent, and that was under extreme high-load conditions. Products like Radiator Relief work so well - even when mixed with antifreeze and water - that there's really no reason for a street-driven vehicle to run pure distilled water. Typically, the only time you'd want to run pure water mixed with an additive is when a race organization's rules don't allow antifreeze in the system. It's a pain in the ass to clean antifreeze up off the drag strip so some sanctioning bodies don't allow its use any longer.

Hi there, I bought my first copy of Turbo last summer after I picked up my R32 because of an article that caught my attention, and I haven't missed an issue since. Glorious photo shoots, wonderful write-ups and a general attention to detail that can get overlooked. I especially appreciate the focus on the car and not the fluff and flair of other magazines. One thing though: Where's the pin-ups? Come on, you know we have all kinds of wall space in our garage just waiting to be filled! We need those pin-ups.-Chris Paradis, Canada

Everyone at Turbo has worked hard to keep the magazine free of fluff and flair and focus on the cars and the technology behind them. Thanks for noticing. As for the pin-ups, it likely won't happen. Ever. There are plenty of car magazines bordering on soft-core porn, but car magazines that put as much emphasis on automotive technical aspects like Turbo are becoming few and far between. Our suggestion: subscribe to Turbo for the stuff we're good at and when you need to get your pin-up fix go pick up something from one of our competitors. You'll not only fill that void on your garage wall, you just might end up appreciating what we do even more.

As a loyal fan I have to ask what happened to the April 2007 issue. I'm reading over your fan mail and people love Turbo because as a fan said, "It's all about real world performance and not gimmick-filled show cars that never see track time let alone public roads!" That's why I buy the magazine. This issue was different. On the front cover you have a naturally aspirated car. I'd like to say you're a Turbo magazine! Yes, the car is impressive and there's nothing wrong with the Honda S2000, but this car isn't like others in previous issues. Yes, I'm picking on one car but I turn the page to find a Nissan Skyline. While the car is impressive, it's more gimmick-filled and it's pictured being driven onto a trailer - meaning it doesn't really see public roads. It's also nearly impossible for the average reader to find or afford. You might as well have a Ferrari in your next issue. I want to see cars that the average person can afford and modify. Next, your Toyota Corolla project car, which is naturally aspirated. I'd like to say again Turbo magazine! Not N/A magazine! Even in your mail you have people loving the DSM project car. Just loving it! Corollas, which are not bad cars but have been getting rare and prices of them are going up to the point where it isn't worth owning one. Stay true to your roots Turbo magazine. Like the a fan said, "It's all about real world performance and not gimmick-filled show cars that never see track time let alone public roads!"

Yeah, but don't forget the last part of the magazine's title: and High-Tech Performance. Our magazine exists because of high-horsepower turbo cars, but we can't neglect cars like Spoon Sports' widebody S2000. As for your qualms with the Nissan Skyline, Turbo has never claimed to feature only cars that our readers can realistically find or afford. In fact, one of the things we think makes Turbo so great is that it does feature cars every once in a while that we know most of readers could never find or afford. And now the Corolla. Again, "and High-Tech Performance." We'll never stop covering anything turbocharged, but every once in a while it's important to shake things up a bit with something like the AE86. Don't get us wrong, we appreciate the input. Really. Without people like you, it'd be difficult to gauge just what direction to take things each month. The truth is though, for every letter we get like yours, there are three others praising us for featuring cars like naturally aspirated S2K's, near unattainable Skylines, and Corollas that some feel just aren't worth owning.

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