TOPS NEWS May 2011


An angry Chinese Lamborghini owner hired a team of men with sledgehammers to destroy his supercar after dealers allegedly failed to repair it.  The Gallardo costs £140,000 in the UK but £465,000 in China.   

Hundreds of motorists in Wyke, Bradford, were flashed by a speed camera after practical jokers erected a rogue 40 mph speed limit sign in a 30 mph zone.

Cornwall Council's decision to close the canteen at one of its offices meant its employees could not have a cup of tea.  So bosses paid to have supplies chauffeured to the office by council vans and private taxis from nearby County Hall.  A council spokesman said that boiling a kettle on site was impractical for a large number of people.

Manganese Bronze, makers of the black taxi cab, is being sued by 436 cab drivers because of a mass recall of vehicles in 2008 caused by under-bonnet fires.  5,000 taxis were affected but most were swiftly repaired.  The company set aside £3.77m but is now concerned about a new High Court claim.

The EU have unveiled plans to ban cars from all European cities (including London) to cut CO2 emissions by 60% within 40 years.  They estimate that more than half of the journeys over 186 miles will be made by rail by 2050.

Rolls Royce is due to develop a new academy in Derby to train 200 apprentices each year.

A 2010 ‘survey’ claims that 5% of motorists had grounds for appeal against parking tickets but instead paid out £58.5 million.  22% contested their tickets and 88% of those were successful. 


Nick Whale has launched a new car auction house ‘Silverstone Auctions’ and will have 3 auctions this year.

According to stolen car recovery company Tracker, the top ten most stolen cars in 2010 were: 

1.BMW X5  2. Range Rover  3. BMW M3  4. Audi RS4  5. Audi TT  6. Mercedes-Benz SL  7. Mercedes-Benz CLK,  8. Porsche 911  9. Volkswagen Golf  10. Mercedes-Benz ML

Tony Fernandes and the Malaysian consortium behind Team Lotus has confirmed the purchase of the Caterham Cars business., which studied data from 8 million purchases in the USA last year, found BMW AG's Mini had the highest percentage of female buyers at 48%, while 93% of buyers for Fiat SpA's Ferrari, were men. Men prefer their cars beefy or fast, while women go for lower price tags and higher miles per gallon.    

Paul Parvin had an insurance policy with Aviva when an articulated truck drove into the back of his excavator causing severe damage. Aviva decided to have it repaired and after 7 months he had it back but it was unroadworthy and Aviva then cancelled his insurance so he drove his massive JCB to the company's offices at Monks Cross, York and blockaded it for several days.   They ‘settled’.

In the UK, 11,400 Land Rovers were sold in March, the highest on record. Sales were also up in China and India.  Jaguar sales were up in India, Russia and Germany.

A town near Buenos Aires has refused to hire male bus drivers due to their bullish way of driving.

World Car of the Year - Winner: Nissan Leaf.  Runners up: BMW 5 Series, Audi A8.  World Performance Car Winner: Ferrari 458 Italia.  Runners up: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Porsche 911 Turbo.  World Green Car Winner: Chevrolet Volt Vauxhall Ampera.  Runners up: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics Edition, Nissan Leaf.  World Car Design  Winner: Aston Martin Rapide.  Runners up: Ferrari 458 Italia, Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Ryanair has launched an enquiry after 3 passengers on the same flight each won a car worth £11,500 after playing its in-flight scratch-card game.   The passengers, who were flying from Milan to Madrid    won the prize after buying one of the airline's £2 scratch-cards.

An eccentric German bicycle designer has unveiled his newest creation - a royal rickshaw.  It is a pedal-powered half-bicycle, half-Trabant.    

Anne Fleming refused to pay a £35 parking fine for leaving her car an extra 10 minutes in a council-run car park.  When the fine rose to £1,600 her BMW was towed away and sold by the council.

Derby City Council is to remove bus lanes on 2 of its city roads.

Profits from parking enforcement:  Bromley £3.8m, Camden £10.7m, Greenwich £10.1m, Kensington & Chelsea £21.5m, Hammersmith & Fulham £12.4m, Richmond £6.0m and Westminster £43.4m.

Michael Thompson lost his appeal against a £175 fine for flashing his headlights to warn motorists of a police speed camera.  He was also ordered to pay £250 costs.

Bristol spent £15m of a £22m grant to make 13 miles of off-road cycle tracks to encourage residents to cycle but there was only an increase of 8,000 cyclists.

Boris Johnson has plans to fine motorists £120 if they leave their engines idling – taxis, delivery vans, buses, school runs etc.

Tom Tom has admitted that it sold information on motorists, gathered from its in-car GPS systems, to the Dutch police who were then able to plan speed traps in Holland.  

The government is considering allowing councils to charge the driver of any vehicle whose passengers are seen to drop litter.

Caterpillar has warned that its giant 16 ft tyres are likely to be in short supply by the end of the year.

Chrysler, General Motors and Ford have all reported profits for the first time in 7 years.

The Agnelli family has linked with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to make an offer for F1 but Ecclestone says it is not on the market.

Hawtai Motor Group of China has agreed to invest £135 million to try and rescue Saab.

A survey of 152 councils found that 40% had a backlog for repairing potholes totalling £5.36 billion.

Three asylum seekers were found on the M3 clinging to the undercarriages of 2 coaches bringing pupils home from France.

It is fitted with some of the most sophisticated technology in the world but one of Barack Obama's armoured cars was brought to a halt by a speed bump in London during his State visit.

Alan Warner drove into Adams Garage in Aylesbury, Bucks, to fill his tank. As he was pumping petrol, an officious female voice came over the loudspeaker instructing him: 'Close your car door.'  Alan ignored her.  He was then accosted by a woman in a hi-viz jacket, marked 'SAFETY CAPTAIN', who insisted he shut the door 'to prevent dangerous petrol vapours going into the car'.  Alan drives a convertible and, as he was taking advantage of the early Easter heatwave, the top was down. This didn't appear to register with the humourless 'safety captain'.


Abridged version of TOPS NEWS sent to members, edited by Trisha Pilkington