Tuning—what is it?

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Sir,

Reading your December issue I came across the feature “Tuning Test” and was at once reminded of the opinion held by a very well known member of the motorcycle trade who was responsible for some years for the operation of his company’s TT machines and had ridden himself in the series with no mean success.

He used to say “There’s no such thing as Tuning”, maintaining that what was referred to by this term was in fact a process of making alterations and modifications to existing designs.

Your article seems to support his view since the Maxi car was considerably altered and modified to improve its performance beyond that of the standard vehicle as turned out originally. Even the planing off of 0.030 in. from the cylinder head face can hardly be “tuning”, and the substitution of different induction and exhaust manifolding must surely be classed as making modifications.

When a musical instrument such as a piano is tuned the tuner normally makes use only of the adjustments provided by the piano maker and so the term is correct in the context of pianos.

The preparation of internal combustion engines and the chassis in which they are carried with a view to increasing the performance of the vehicles seems always to involve departures from the designer’s initial concept, so can you please state just where does the “Tuning” begin and end?

Onchan.
R. W. (Bob) Burgess.

[Tuning is surely getting an engine in good order; improving its performance is “hotting up.”—ED.)