TOPS NEWSJanuary 2014


200 cars stolen in Germany have been tracked down in Tajikistan, where most are now driven by family and friends of President Emomali Rakhmon. The Tajik embassy denied as "completely unfounded" the charge that stolen German cars had ended up with the president's family, saying the claim aimed "to damage the reputation of the nation and the Head of State".

The London Motor Museum which has 50,000 visitors a year may close after Hillingdon council imposed a £130,000 business rates bill. Run by former model Elo it has 200 cars on show.

Hungarian football champions Gyori ETO have punished their players after an embarrassing defeat by confiscating the keys to their free Audi cars.

Jake Larsson has won an award from industry for his idea of a car seat which vibrates to warn of objects around a moving car. On-board computers relay the data to vibrating motors inside the seat to create a 360o sensory field of vision around the moving vehicle.

Police are catching 4% more ‘drink-drivers’ between 6-8 a.m. when the drivers don’t realise they still have alcohol in their systems.

Saudi Arabia ministers continue to discuss the possibility of women being allowed to drive but the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia says that a ban on women driving protects society from ‘evil’. The absolute monarchy is the only country in the world where women are prevented from driving.

Official figures from the Driving Standards Agency indicate that 48% of men passed their test at the first attempt compared with 44% of women, making men the better driver. (?!)

Thousands of cyclists gathered in central London during rush hour one day in November to protest against the recent spate of cyclist traffic deaths in London.

David Davies from Transport Safety has said that cycling in London is as safe as walking.

There has been a decline in usage of the Boris bikes in London because the £45 p.a. registration has risen to £90.

Richard Sears and Nick Gough have broken the world record for the longest journey in a four-stroke Piaggio Ape D3S tuk-tuk 23,000 miles. They crossed 37 countries in 14 months to raise money for children’s education in the developing world where 57 million primary aged children receive no schooling. They had to drag it the last few miles due to mechanical failure.

Charles Morgan still owns 30% of the Morgan holding company from which he was sacked last October. He is planning to set up a rival company.

Hollande's French government ordered irate farmers blocking roads into Paris to halt their protest over tax hikes after accidents that left one person dead and six injured. The government planned an environmental "ecotax" on commercial vehicles carrying cargo of more than 3.5 tonnes.

Mallory Park has new operators. Real Motorsport Limited set up by Stuart Hicken and Eddie Roberts. Eddie owns Complog (motorcycle tyres) and Stuart owns Buildbase BMW Motorrad UK.

An acoustical engineer from the University of Texas has at last found that the noise of F1 cars at a circuit could damage race-goers’ hearing.

Tough curbs on rogue lorries entering London are to be fast-tracked following the recent spate of cyclist deaths. HGV drivers entering London will face stiff penalties if their vehicles have not been fitted with side-guards and cycle-friendly convex mirrors. Operators of non-compliant tipper trucks, skips and concrete mixers will face a £500 fine, with drivers facing a £130 penalty.

Four police officers from an undercover unit in Lancashire have been sacked for organising a car buying fraud.

Formula E, the electric single-seater motor racing series is due to launch next autumn and is in talks with BT Sport and BskyB over a UK TV deal.

Noman Qureshi of Bradford, W Yorkshire and Israr Khan of Luton, have appeared in court after £40 million of heroin was found crammed into a Jaguar car, hidden in the bumpers, wheel arches, dashboard, central console, spare wheel compartment, engine and rear seating.

Until 1916 you could buy heroin and cocaine over the counter at Harrods.

Under EU regulations, fuel suppliers must blend conventional diesel with increasing amounts of environmentally friendly biofuels. Experts say this could be the cause of many breakdowns caused by a build-up of gel in the engine.

UK Car sales rose 7% in November according to the SMMT.

The Car of the Year was built in Britain – the Nissan Qashqai which sold more than 50,000 (who names these cars?). The Range Rover Sport was best large SUV and the Mercedes-Benz S350 best luxury car. BMW 435i best coupé and BMWi3 best green, Audi A3 best executive saloon; Ford Fiesta: small car and Porsche Boxter sports car of the year.

Thames Valley Police had repair bills of £396,000 on their cars in 2013 after 789 crashes. Surrey Police paid £374.058 after 477 incidents, Hampshire police were involved in 413 collisions and Thames Valley refused to comment.

It is possible for a registered car club to allocate a vehicle chassis number if the vehicle never had one, or if all traces of the original number have been lost, but if the original chassis number is known, it would potentially be fraud to allocate a new one.

McLaren is working on plans to replace windscreen wipers with a hi-tech ultrasound device which will stop anything from sticking to the windscreen.

137,624 cars were built in Britain in November and production for the year was up 4.5% on 2012. However, Europe’s new cars sales fell 1.7% to an 18-year low.

Traffic jams cost commuters £4.4bn a year in urban areas with the average British driver spending 40 hours a year stuck in jams - in London the average is 80 hours according to a Cebr report.

A 60-mile central-London network of bike lanes has been unveiled as part of Mayor Boris Johnson’s mission to “de-Lycrafy” cycling. Riders will be able to navigate around town using cycle-friendly backstreets, to be known as “quietways”, and parks.

Motorists are being fined £135 million a year by spy cameras in bus lanes and box junctions. A record 1.32 million fines were issued for minor offences in 2011/12. Penalties can be as high as £130. London drivers bear the brunt and were penalised 850,000 times in 2012/13. Nationally, drivers paid between £67 million and £135 million for the 1.32 million offences in 2011/12 – depending on how many received a rebate for quick payment.

Since December 16th motorists who declare SORN on their cars do not have to repeat it annually.

UK Motor Sport now has a £9 billion turnover with 90% of the industry’s 4,300 companies selling overseas.

Munich prosecutors are to proceed against Bernie Ecclestone for involvement in the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery scandal. He has stepped down as director of F1 holding company Delta Topco.

Extract from TOPS NEWS