TOPS NEWS November 2012

Bizarrely, Haynes has attributed recent poor car manual sales to competition from E  L James’s novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, which includes explicit sexual scenes including bondage and sadomasochism, the publisher also claimed that the book has sold more copies than The Highway Code.


The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has developed “air capture” technology to create synthetic petrol using only air and electricity by taking sodium hydroxide and mixing it with carbon dioxide before "electrolysing" the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide. Hydrogen is then produced by electrolysing water vapour captured with a dehumidifier.  The carbon dioxide and hydrogen produce methanol which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol.


Road deaths have risen by 3% on British roads.


The UK motor insurance industry is under investigation over claims that repairs and courtesy vehicles are inflating premiums by £255m p.a.  Motorists currently pay £35billion in road tax and fuel duty.  MP Andrea Leadsom is suggesting charging drivers by the mile.


The EC is investigating whether Chinese manufacturers are dodging European anti-dumping duties by routing shipments of bicycles through other countries.


Mercedes-Benz has teamed up with Silver Arrows Marine to create a luxurious, 46-foot motor yacht for 2013.  Measuring 14m long, the luxury yacht has enough space for overnight cruises, but seems more suited to day-time cruises.


A man stole a marked Nissan police car at a police station in Pretoria after an officer left the keys in the ignition while he rushed to use the toilet.  Police gave chase and the car overturned when the thief lost control of it. Unhurt, he was arrested on charges of theft and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, police said.


An Australian man has put his 1998 Mitsubishi Magna which is completely covered in astro turf for sale on eBay.


Nick Ponting broke the British electric car record in a Lotus Exige at an average speed of 151 mph.  The motor industry is now trying to make near-silent electric vehicles conform to minimum noise levels.  Lotus Engineering and audio specialist Harman International have teamed up to develop synthetic and active engine noise technologies to create sounds that can be transmitted by these cars to warn pedestrians of their approach. 


The French government have ruled out any financial help for the F1 GP next year.  This slightly rules in favour of Paul Ricard which belongs to Ecclestone but it only wants to run a GP bi-annually in Aug/Sept as opposed to Magny-Cours which wants an annual event in July but cannot fund it.  France is not listed for a GP in 2013.


Russia expects to host its first Grand Prix in 2014.


The Korean GP has reported a 3rd year of loss despite Ecclestone’s insistence that the East is the future.


Cash stricken Greece wishes to build a motor-racing circuit near Patras in the hope of hosting a F1 GP. 


The six-foot tall life-size figure, named PC Bobb, was placed in a Sainsbury's store in Barnslsey to deter shoplifters but it was stolen.  In 2010 Essex Police abandoned a £2000 scheme of 20 cardboard police officers dotted around after they were stolen.  


The UK motor industry turns over £55 billion.  It accounts for 12% of exports worth £30 billion.   2011 employers:  Jaguar Land Rover 20,000,  Ford 7,250,  BMW 5,960,  Nisan 5,000, Toyota 4,530. 


New car registrations in Europe dropped 10.8% in September but sales in the UK rose by 8.2% although the number of cars actually made here fell 5.8%.


Pakistan is planning to launch a 5,000 mile bus route from the Kashmir to Birmingham . The journey will take 8 days and go through some of the most dangerous areas of Pakistan.   The fare would be $210 instead of $1,000 for an air fare   “The Kashmir government will also set up a swift counter system to hasten the visa process for those who don’t have a British passport.”   


It is planned to install average speed cameras on 8 main London routes, replacing 86 fixed site cameras.


Stephen Smith has been banned for 6 months after being clocked travelling at 139 mph on his Aprilia RSV4 on the B1217 near Saxton.  


300,000 vehicles a year are filled with the wrong fuel requiring repair bills of £150 m according to ‘a report’.


The government is looking at a paper about increasing purchase tax on ‘gas guzzling cars’.  The excise duty raises c £6 billion p.a. but forecasts show that revenue will fall as people choose low-emission cars, therefore their purchase cost will have to rise…..!


London cabbies have been voted the world’s best but this has not stopped the demise of cab maker Manganese Bronze.  Geely, the Chinese owner of Volvo has a 20% stake in M.B. and makes the black cabs for international markets, has offered a number of solutions including a £10m loan but the Board felt continuation of the company was unrealistic.


Traffic wardens have issued 388,039 parking tickets since 2010 but 59,144 were ruled invalid following appeals from drivers.


Swansea City Council is to pay £77,000 for a camera car to tackle illegal parking.


In Cambridge 150 cyclists have been warned they will be fined £30 for not having lights on at night unless they buy new lights – and use them!  

The mayor of Paris is trying to ban pre-1997 cars from the city.  Apx 365,000 cars would be affected.  1997 was the year strict anti-pollution rules took effect in Europe.  Paris would not be the first city to ban old cars, Calcutta orderd all cars older than 15 years off its roads in 2008.

Carrying out speed checks in Cambridge’s 20 mph zone has been dropped from being a police priority.


There has been a rise in women repairing their own cars according to the RAC.


The requirement for breathalyser kits in France has again been postponed until 1st March.  The chief of road safety in Sarkozy’s government who persuaded him to issue the ruling is also on the board of Contralco, the leading manufacturer of the kits…………..


Parking prices rose 12.5% in the last year bringing in a revenue of £8 billion. 


Drivers in London were issued with 6,900 fines for breaking Games traffic regulations.

You can hire a lollipop lady but it will cost £55,000 according to Essex county council.


British luxury car-maker Jaguar Land Rover will start manufacturing vehicles in China in 2014  after agreeing a £1 billion joint-venture.


‘British’ businesswoman Kankamol Albon of Essex has been jailed for 6 years for operating a £9 million car sales fraud involving the sale of Ferraris, Porsches and Mercedes.  She bought Smallbridge Hall, a 14thC moated house and sent her children to private school on the proceeds of her luxury car dealership which was a cover for a large-scale VAT fraud.  While on bail she managed to fiddle the taxpayer out of £1.8 million by claiming sales of fictitious vehicles, according to HM Revenue and Customs.  Her house is on sale at £3.9 million and all proceeds will be confiscated.


The government is once again working on cutting sign clutter from highways.


Transport for London has been asked to find a way of reducing the 270 buses every hour travelling down Oxford Street.



Abridged version of News sent to members

Trisha Pilkington














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