"Power without compromise,
that's what we like to see".
Fast Fours and Rotaries Magazine
For some people, factory power just ain’t enough. Peter Luxon’s APS
outfit is one of the new breed of aftermarket tuning shops
Why do some people fiddle with perfectly satisfactory cars?
It’s the same reason why people climb Everest or break land-speed records.
Many car enthusiasts get bored with the power they are given by the factory
and simply want more. Half our customers are over 40: doctors, lawyers,
IT people and tradespeople who can afford to mess around with a Porsche,
Evo, STi or Nissan GT-R. We’ve modified cars for some of the wealthiest
people in Australia.
What about you?
I have five Porsches – including a new 911 GT2 and a GT3 – as well as one
Mitsubishi Evo V1 and one new Evo V11 model imported from Japan. I’ve
got a number of WRX’s including a 450kW STi circuit car. I’ve owned
a 490kW Land Cruiser, a developmental car for my company’s Middle East market.
It would do 0-400m in 12.1 seconds, so it was very … um .. interesting.
What’s popular right now?
The new (MY2002) WRX STi. We’ve had seven owners come into the workshops
so far and it was released only two days ago! We tune so many WRX’s – about
400 base and 100 STi models have been one our dynamometer in 2001 alone.
Really, the STi’s 195kW in a 1440kg chassis isn’t exactly mind blowing stuff.
A twin-turbo Porsche, but even then some guys are happy to spend $25,000
with us to extract almost 400kW out of them. We’ve tweaked about 20
GT3’s. I think there are only 80 in the country.
So even WRXs and Porsches have shortcomings?
Production cars are compromised. They use engine management maps that are
tuned to suit many different global markets and conditions, such as variations
in altitude, fuel quality, ambient temperature, etc. No foreign car maker
will re-tune a model range to its full potential in order to suit Australia’s
unique environment because our market is too small. I’m convinced of that.
Subaru’s cars run horribly rich in the top end. If you re-map the WRX ignition,
fuel and boost strategies, you van get 15 to 20 percent gain without even
touching any hardware. In fact, improvement mid-range torque is incredible!
It’s actually to improve on a standard cars driveability, part-throttle response
and torque curve. We can get an extra 20 to 25 kW at the wheels of a twin-turbo
Porsche just by cleaning up the factory computer mapping-they run a very
rich 10:1 air: fuel mixture at full throttle. Why? Because its factored in
that German customers nail their cars on the autobahn for extended periods.
Owners don’t get to do that here in Australia.
Craziest request you’ve received?
One guy wanted to twin-turbocharge and fuel-inject his old 5.0-Litre Windsor
V8. The catch was that it was installed in a motorbike [laughs]! I refused
(much to the owners disappointment), convinced that he’d simply kill himself
Rules keeping getting tighter. Is there a future in all this?
I hope tuners and Governments can work together towards an amicable solution.
High-performance modified cars can be fast, safe and environmentally friendly.
We don’t anything like the 1972 supercar scare again. Otherwise, young
guys will just spend even more money on bigger stereos! [laughs].