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I was both hon­oured and hum­bled to be awarded ‘let­ter of the month’ for Oc­to­ber. As a re­sponse to the Ed’s com­ment at the end on my Lotm… Although we’re all filled with ex­cite­ment and trep­i­da­tion about the fu­ture of what will be mo­ti­vat­ing our mo­tor­ing, I feel big props should be given to those still in­vest­ing in de­vel­op­ment of the ven­er­a­ble in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine. It will in­deed be around for a while (thank good­ness).

Re­cent no­ta­bles are Mazda and In­finiti/nissan. The for­mer for the com­pres­sion­ig­ni­tion Skyactiv-x tech, and the lat­ter for its vari­able com­pres­sion en­gine. Both of which are claim­ing up to 30 per­cent im­prove­ment in fuel con­sump­tion (which would be as­tound­ing, if true, af­ter nearly 150 years of ICE de­vel­op­ment).

The Mazda I can get my head around (es­pe­cially with the back-up spark plugs over­com­ing the low/high load is­sues) but the In­finiti is mind­bend­ing. I built my first en­gine in 1968 (an A-se­ries Mini) and mar­velled that the agri­cul­tural thing wouldn’t de­stroy it­self when cy­cling at up to 100 times per sec­ond!

How­ever, go find the video an­i­ma­tion of the In­finiti vari­able com­pres­sion ar­range­ment and pon­der the com­plex­ity all that hap­pen­ing 100 times per sec­ond … and your lo­cal me­chanic fix­ing it. Brian Wood, via email

“Fi­nally, some­one with the in­testi­nal for­ti­tude to tell it like it was about ‘Pe­ter Per­fect’”

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