Just read your eulogy of the V-8 engine, including the part about the “dead end” technology represented by the inline-6 motorcycle engines of the 1970s and '80s (see WAW - Dec. '09, p.3). How surprising, then, to see the latestproduction-ready concept at the EICMA in Milan, Italy: an inline-6.
And what about today's 6-cyl. Goldwing? Not an inline engine, but more than enough cylinders to go around. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Robert W. Sharp
Editor's Note: We were not suggesting the V-8 engine is deceased, only that it will be used more in niche markets focusing on performance, luxury or heavy-duty applications going forward. The newengine concept is an engineering masterpiece and shows I-6s are not dead on motorcycles.
And, theGoldwing has a large and very loyal customer base. But the Goldwing has a pricetag of almost $30,000 with options such as XM radio, antilock brakes and an airbag. The new BMW also is sure to be very pricey. In the vast motorcycle universe, 6-cyl. engines will remain a rare luxury. We stick to our premise that engines in all types of vehicles are evolving to use less cylinders, not more.
Regarding your November editorial (see WAW - Nov. '09, p.2) on “Unintended Bad Driving,” your assessment that the police officer should have known to shift the Lexus into neutral is short sighted and in poor taste. I'm sure you, an automobile expert or even a Formula 1 driver, would not think of doing so in an emergency situation. Things happen at the blink of an eye when going 70 mph (112 km/h).
On the other hand, John McElroy's “Alternatives, Where's the Infrastructure?” commentary is spot-on (see same issue, p.9). Coincidentally, there is an upstart company, Better Place, that is working with multiple governments to install electric-vehicle recharging poles along streets, as well as battery replacement stations, much as gas stations exist today.
They are not interested in making batteries or vehicles but simply want to make EVs a viable solution. They want a common battery platform for quick/easy battery changes.
Editor's note:President-The Americas Mark Fields was incorrectly identified in a blurb on the contents page of the December Ward's AutoWorld. Former Co. CEO Fritz Henderson resigned while the magazine was being printed, so we stopped the presses and printed a new cover featuring Mark Fields. But we could not change and reprint other portions of the magazine for time and cost reasons.
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