Motor (Australia)

I DON’T ENVY THE POOR SUB-EDITOR TASKED WITH CUTTING COCKBURN’S COPY TO LENGTH

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Why aren’t our local roads full of them? I can’t work it out.

A.J. Smith, via Email There are some models that get unfairly tainted with a ‘jack-of-alltrades’ tag. The Octavia RS wagon might be one of them. We too are at a loss to explain why this compelling car is overlooked in favour of far less talented tackle. – Ed

OUT TO LAUNCH

I’ve heard a lot of magazine road testers sometimes say that some cars are more difficult than others to get a fast 0-100km/h time out of. Why is that and which cars are the trickiest and which are the easiest? I would be interested to know.

Lachie Morris, Via Facebook It’s often very high powered cars with manual gearboxes and tyres that are slightly underspeci­fied for the amount of torque on offer that are the hardest to launch cleanly and reliably. Tuned muscle cars and such like can require a fair amount of trial and error. The easiest are allwheel drive automatics that just grip and go. Electric cars can often seem straightfo­rward, but the very best times can hinge on battery condition, throwing another variable into the mix. – Ed

SIMPLIFY AND ADD COCKBURN

Thanks for the lovely tribute to Paul Cockburn in last month’s magazine. He’ll be missed. I chanced upon this gem from his March 1990 test between a Mazda MX-5 and an old Lotus Elan. Cockburn takes a distinctly meandering tack throughout this piece and I certainly don’t envy the task of the poor subeditor who was faced with cutting his copy to length, but his imagined conversati­on between Colin Chapman and Lotus engineer had me snorting.

“What’s that?”

“Ah... That’s the engine mount, Mister Chapman, Sir.”

“It looks a bit... Solid.”

“Oh, it is, Sir. Knowing you wanted everything light we started with your original idea, which, of course, broke. Well, sorry, when I say that, I mean it may have been the way we tested it, putting the engine in it and all, but then we added metal until it was strong enough. This is the fourth version.”

“Hmm, fourth, eh? And it’s strong enough?”

“Yes, Sir. Quite strong.”

“Okay, put the third in production.”

Brilliant.

Hardeep Singh, Via Email I’m sitting here chuckling at the thought of an online editor trying to walk Cockburn through the exercise of writing for SEO. He was a great writer and, by all accounts, a truly lovely bloke too. – Ed

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