TOPS NEWS March 2015

West Berkshire Council fined 142 motorists in Newbury for being over the marked parking spaces which were a metre shorter than Government recommendation of 2.4 m x 4.8 m.  The Council ruled out putting up signs to warn motorists, insisting it should be left to the county's 14 civil enforcement officers to decide whether or not to issue Fixed Penalty Notices.


A new cycling safety jacket the Visijax uses motion-activated lights that flash when the cyclist raises an arm to indicate that they are turning; the lights continue to flash for 5 seconds.    The white LEDs on the chest and red lights on the back maintain a constant flash to alert drivers.  (Is this new?  Our dogs have collars which flash at night. Ed)


Daimler is recalling 149,000 E-Class and CLS-Class Mercedes cars in China and Germany over insulating panel seals in the engine bay.



Surrey police were forced to abort a rapid response mission after their BMW got stuck in a notorious ford at Chobham and began sinking.


The Artcurial auction of the Baillon Collection ‘barn find’ cars was viewed by 3,500 people in the sale room at Rétromobile in Paris and another 1,000 viewed online.  All 59 of the Baillon cars were sold at up to 10 times their estimates.  Prices were high with a Ferrari 250GT California at £12.1 million.  Also in Paris, Bonhams sold an Aston Martin DB5 for a world record of £1.4 million.


The new James Bond film Spectre will feature Jaguar’s C-X75 supercar for the main villain and the Aston Martin DB10 for Bond.  However 20 luxury cars have already been stolen from the film set and the car chase in Rome had to be abandoned due to the cobblestones and potholes which caused a loud rumbling sound which interfered with recording inside the car.  The production company paid for road repairs but the Aston could only reach 40 mph.


Peugeot Citroën is back in profit after a 1% sales gain to €53.6 bn.


TomTom has signed a deal with VW to put its traffic system into the group’s vehicles sending TomTom shares up 16%.


A survey has found that the most expensive car hire damage waiver insurance is from Budget.  In the event of a claim without the extra Super Collision Damage Waiver the operation firm in Turin would charge £1,800.


The RAC have estimated that motorists were overcharged by £100 million in 2013 by private contractors operating pay and display car parks at supermarkets etcA test case is due to be held in the Court of Appeal.  


Planning permission has been granted for  a Formula E (electric) car race in Battersea Park on June 27 & 28, the weekend before the F1 GP at Silverstone.


Artist Alex Chinneck has teamed up with Vauxhall Motors for his latest project ‘Pick yourself up and pull yourself together’ which sees the new Corsa suspended 15 feet in the air while still attached to the road at London’s Southbank Centre.


The mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, has been caught speeding.  He authorised the spending of £2.3 million on 20 mph speed signs across Bristol in 2013.  The scheme has been described as a huge waste of money as 20 mph zones are unenforceable.


The National Crime Agency has seized a Ferrari California convertible, a Ferrari GT 599, a Ferrari Enzo, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom found at Stansted airport with a suitcase full of cash, from Alexander Surin, (dubbed ‘Don Car-leone’) who is now living in Dubai


The government is again considering raising the limit on some motorways to 80 mph.


IAM claim that new cars are almost too easy to drive as motorists spend more time fiddling with technology on the dashboard than concentrating on the road.  “They are now living rooms moving at 85 mph”.



Judge Flavio Roberto de Souza, who is overseeing Eike Batista's trial for insider trading, was seen driving Batista’s white Porsche Cayenne after it had been confiscated by police in Brazil. The Judge said "The Federal Police did not have a safe place for the car and it was exposed to sun, rain and possible damage. As I want the car to be preserved in good condition, I took it to a covered parking space in the building where I live. I did not take it to use, just to look after it.   It is a normal situation.


The number of taxi ranks on London’s streets is to grow by 100 to make it easier for passengers to find a black cab.


Ernst Hrabalek is suing his son in the High Court for the return of 4 Lancia rally cars (worth £3 million) which were on loan but his son claims they were a gift.


The French government is to sell 6,500 of its cars to reduce public spending.  Last year it found that the French justice minister’s office employed 22 chauffeurs for a staff of only 17.


Action-packed road signs that depict figures running could help save lives according to “a study”.


A High Court judge has ruled against the DVLA, stating that “age alone is not a reason to remove a driving licence”.  There are 200 people aged over 100 still driving.


Auto Trader, the UK’s biggest website for second-hand car sales is to float for £2 bn on the stock market.  In the 1980s Auto Trader was one of the top 5 selling magazines but the internet reduced their circulation and they closed the magazine.  Its website received 35 million visits last year.


From May 2015 all EU speeding, mobile phone, traffic light running and bus lane offences recorded on camera will be tracked back to the UK with fines and points issued.  

Google and Uber are to develop driverless taxi vehicles.  The government has recently provided £500,000 funding for the expansion a number of car sharing car club initiatives.


14 Land Rovers and Range Rovers have been stolen in East Lancashire in the past month.  Police said the crooks hacked into the cars’ diagnostic systems to disable locks and start the keyless ignition. 


There are around 500,000 minor motoring offences a year and from next April a  ‘Make a Plea’ service will cover minor offences such as speeding or driving without insurance.  It should reduce time and paperwork and is accessed via your mobile ‘phone.



Boris bikes which were painted blue under a sponsorship deal with Barclays Bank will now be painted red as Santander has announced a £51 million 7-year deal from April.  The bikes will be known as ‘Santander Cycles’ - the re-branding will cost £1.7 million paid for by TfL.


So that fans can recognise them, F1 drivers are to be banned from changing helmet designs but Vettel who has used 90 different designs says he will pay any fine.


Thames Valley Police stopped and seized a Ferrari 458 Italia on the M40 in Oxfordshire as it did not show a number plate.


Sotheby’s have bought a 25% stake in RM Auctions.


Rolls-Royce has confirmed that it is to build an SUV.

Abridged version of TOPS NEWS sent to members