TOPS NEWS July 2008

Australian police who pulled over a driver found that he had secured quantities of beer with a seat belt - but not his 5-year-old son.

A truck fully loaded with buckets of construction glue crashed into a bus in Chengdu city causing problems for firefighters. 

A Russian man stole a bus at gunpoint and led police on a 20-mile chase across a city in a bid to stop his ex-girlfriend marrying her new lover. He was arrested and charged with armed robbery and endangering the public.  She still married!

Olivier Kapo, a Birmingham City footballer, gave apprentice James McPike his £30,000 Mercedes - for polishing his boots.  He also paid for a year's insurance when James said he could not afford it.

No licenses for hearses have been issued for 36 years in Malta; the government has now decided to ‘liberalize’ them as there were only 11 owners of hearses still alive. 

It is expected that drivers found not to be wearing a seat belt will get 3 penalty points as well as a fine.

The CEO of VW has threatened to resign if Porsche interferes with the group’s operations.  Porsche now owns 31% in VW and wants to increase to a majority holding.  VW’s Audi is seen as a competitor to Porsche.

Last year Lamborghini sold 2,406 cars and made a €47.1m profit. 

Two teenage Germans who abandoned a stolen car in the forest and climbed a tree to evade police had to ask them for help when they were trapped by a herd of wild boar which would not go away.

Muller, a Missouri car dealer, said sales have soared at his car and truck business after   promising buyers a free handgun with every purchase. 

The European Parliament have started debating legislation to force down CO2 emissions from cars with fines on manufacturers who fail to comply. EU carmakers say the proposals threaten their ability to compete in international markets. Germany has vowed to stand by its car sector. 

The electric Uno designed by Canadian Ben Gulak (18) has two wheels side-by-side and uses gyroscopic technology to stay upright. The more you lean, the faster you go. Top speed 25mph, weight 58kg, range of 2.5 hours. 

Hundreds of migrating snails caused chaos as they swarmed across the B14 dual carriageway near Stuttgart.  6 cars were damaged after they slid on the slime.  

Streetcar and Zipcar are car clubs which rent out cars at £5 per hour (annual sub £50).  Both have reported huge increases in membership since the budget.

Italy has begun confiscating the cars of people driving under the effect of drugs or alcohol. The cars can be auctioned off or used by the police

A Dutch cyclists lobby group is teaching people how to steal bikes in order to make owners more security conscious. 700,000 bikes were stolen in the Netherlands last year, home to 18 million bikes. 

A Chinese motorist has been arrested in Taiyan city for hanging a fake police uniform in his car to deter thieves.

Motorists caught jumping red lights in London are being sent on "back-to-school" courses to avoid points and a fine.   Automatic cameras at red lights were "tripped" 106,000 times in London over the past year - nearly 300 times per day.

Bentley has recalled 33,000 cars worldwide, with 7,538 in Britain, because of faulty fuel filters.

Australian police have charged a man for drink driving in a motorized wheelchair after he was found to be 6 times over the legal alcohol limit.

A security van was sent on a 120-mile round trip to move a prisoner 200 yards to avoid breaching his human rights as he would have had to walk across a street in handcuffs

Don Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell, will try to break the steam powered land-speed record in August.  

Fifty couples got married at the Car Power Big Meet in Vasteras in central Sweden.  The couples stood in a queue for over one hour to say their vows in front of a vicar, friends and their car.

Phil Bridge, 21, of Stockport, has developed a cardboard bicycle which could sell for £15.

Dr Iain Fielden, a university physicist, spent £5,000 on experts to help him challenge Gatso evidence, after his wife was caught doing 36 mph in a 30 mph zone. He took measurements, poured dye on the road to track car motion, wrote equations and took moulds of kerbstones to argue his case but has been ordered to pay £15,000 costs after Huddersfield JPs dismissed it.

A Nevada brothel, Shady Lady, is offering a $50 petrol voucher to every customer who buys one hour of ‘service’ costing $300. 

The EU has announced an environmental road tax for heavy goods vehicles.

In a surprise announcement during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the FIA said that from 2010 the British GP would be run at Donington.  The new American owners Simon Gillett and Lee Gill have a five-year, £100m investment programme lined up  and expect to raise money by selling debentures to the public.  They will  have to build all the facilities required by Ecclestone including lengthening the track to 3 miles and sorting out access roads which have been unable to cope with the popular meetings this year.  However, they do not yet have the necessary planning permission and there are two Councils involved but they have hinted at private talks prior to signing the 10 year Agreement.  Ecclestone has categorically stated that in the event of failure by Donington, the British GP will not return to Silverstone. The BRDC has spent huge sums on advice about upgrading the Silverstone circuit and it is expected that some of the upgrades will still take place.

Westminster Council has abandoned its car clamps as being unfair to drivers who already pay a fine and because clamping doesn’t generate enough revenue.

Porsche have won their campaign against the £25 congestion charge for gas-guzzling vehicles in London.

An abridged version of TOPS NEWS

Edited by Trisha Pilkington