TOPS NEWS September 2011


The police chief of a small South Carolina town will ask a jury to decide if a woman broke the State's obscenity laws by driving a pickup truck with plastic testicles hanging from the back.  Lawmakers in some states have sought to ban the colourful plastic or rubber devices that go by brand names such as Bulls Balls and Truck Nutz.

Arturas Zuokas, the eccentric mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, drove over an illegally parked Mercedes in a Soviet-era armoured personnel carrier – as a warning about parking

Jeremy Clarkson has iritated Nissan by his review of their electric Nissan Leaf, stating that if the battery should need replacing it could cost £19,000.  The battery needs charging at least every 100 miles.  The Government has set aside £43 million to subsidise purchase of electric cars by £5,000 each.  The Leaf costs £26,000.

The Terrafugia works as a conventional car - fuel consumption 35 mpg, top speed 65 mph.  Once its wings are unfolded (span of 28’ 6”) it can fly at 115 mph and consumes 5 gallons of fuel per hour. £150,000.

In Portsmouth an Alfa Romeo Spider was carried away by the tide after its owner left it on a fisherman’s slipway at 8.30 to catch a train to London.  At midday the tide came in.  The fee at a nearby car park was £2 per day.        

The Official Ferrari Opus Digital Edition (ODE) is available to download at £2.99 for the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android phones and tablets, with Windows Phones to follow later this year.   The original 852 page book with 1300 images costs from £2,000 so some people are going to be upset!

Health officials in Ireland are considering banning smoking in cars.

Driver John Bexley from E. Sussex was seen punching cyclist Simon Page for driving too close to his car.  He was fined £400.  The incident was posted on YouTube and seen by 100,000 viewers.

Ford has said it is removing CD players from its cars and wants drivers to access their libraries of digital music via the internet using a USB hub.

Chargemaster, a company specialising in electric vehicle infrastructure, says it will provide 4,000 charging points across 100 towns and cities in the UK by the end of 2012.  Users will pay a monthly subscription of £20 and then 90p to charge their car with up to 100 miles of power.     So far Britain has about 1,000 charging points.

Jaguar driver Martin Takle hit Asda parking attendant Jackie Smith with his car after she gave him a ticket for parking in a ‘child’ bay with no children in the car.  He had been filmed by security cameras and was banned from driving for 15 months.

Italian boat builder SACS have launched the Fiat 500 Abarth rubber boat.  The production run will be limited to 199 units, in red, yellow, blue and grey (Rosso Corsa, Giallo Modena, Blu Abu Dhabi and Grigio Titanio!).  Some years ago there was a partnership between Fiat Group and SACS, resulting in a 1120HP Lancia speedboat and an Abarth model with a V8 outboard motor. 

Ronny Wechselberger from Germany set a Guinness World Record for the tightest parallel parking, sliding his car into a space that was only 10” longer than his car.  But a week later a Chinese driver managed 9”.  It is not known whether either driver was able to get out of the parking space.

A blonde motorist crashed her £250,000 Bentley Azure outside the Principality's Place du Casino in Monaco.  The driver of a £75,000  Mercedes S Class was the first victim as the Bentley scraped down the side of it before crashing into a £140,000 Ferrari F430.  A £140,000 Aston Martin Rapide and an £80,000 Porsche 911 also suffered damage.

In a new UK TV rights deal, the BBC and Sky Sports will share F1 coverage from 2012 through to 2018.  Under the new agreement, Sky Sports will show every race, qualifying session and practice, live, and the BBC will air half the races live, as well as qualifying and practice sessions from those races.   As part of its package the BBC will have the British Grand Prix, Monaco GP and the season finale and will show highlights of all races it does not transmit live.


Jules Charmoy from the Dordogne  is powering a tractor and 2 other vehicles with biodiesel made from duck fat.  The fat is heated to 120° F  then cooled and alcohol and potassium hydroxide are added. Then the biodiesel is separated below a layer of glycerol.  Before being used as vehicle fuel it is mixed in a 30/70%  ratio with diesel as per French law.  Last year they produced 20,000 litres.  The plant, which will process from 9,000 to 10,000 cubic metres of waste per year and will generate about 360 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.  "Chicken fat is great, duck fat apparently makes cars waddle" said Francis Cadalen, who is heading the project

Kris Lech bought a Yamaha motorcycle at an official police auction sale of recovered vehicles in W. Lothian but when he tried to register it with the DVLA it appeared stolen.  Police seized the bike and searched his house for 4 hours for more stolen property, refusing to believe they had sold it to him.  He has been offered the purchase price back but is claiming for the spares he bought for it.

The Swiss have ordered ‘No Naked Hiking’ signs but they keep being stolen.

BMW reported a record second-quarter profit after a boom in the Chinese market.  Porsche reported a 37% increase in profit for the first-half year, also due to

sales in China of 11,700 cars.

Instead of having a dedicated car and chauffeur for each Defence Minister the cars will come from a ‘pool’  saving £15,000 p.a.

A bus driver refused to allow Mr Wetson to board his bus because he was carrying a painting 4’ x 4’ and it might be a risk to health and safety.  He wanted to travel 3 stops. 

A one-legged delivery truck driver was stopped at a Cape Town roadblock when police found him using his 11-year-old son to operate the clutch telling the boy when to press the clutch for gear changes.  The driver had an expired learner's permit for automatic vehicles, the truck had no licence, a broken parking brake and a broken seat belt.  He was fined £90.

Marian Lelliot, 55, of Ashtead was in a traffic jam on the A217 last month when a golf ball came over the Banstead Downs Golf club’s boundary hitting her car inches from her windscreen and causing £500 damage.  The golf club has said that as this is a rare occurrence and that their insurance does not cover incidents of this nature they will not compensate her.

Our sponsors at Vernasca Silver Flag hill climb have won the Octane Motoring Event of the Year for 2011.

The new 1.2 mile Hindhead tunnel in Surrey is being used by ‘wealthy young drivers of Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Astons who think it resembles the F1 Monaco tunnel.

The Council in Woking has provided three churches with special free car park tickets for worshippers on Sundays.

Ghulam Murtza was prosecuted under the 1988 Road Traffic Act - ‘it is illegal to carry a passenger on a bicycle unless it has been designed or adapted to do so’.  He  carrying his 2-year-old son on a child bicycle seat from Halfords.

McLaren is to build 2 factories in the UK for its Applied Technologies division which already makes supercar MP4-12C, bicycles and skeleton sleds.  “I would love to be considered the Swiss watchmaker of cars” said Ron Dennis.

Vintage-style bicycles are in demand with Halfords declaring a 27% increase in ‘nostalgic’ sales.

While Chloe Stoyle went to buy paint remover after vandals sprayed a sexual service price list on her Fiat 500, police fined her £80 for causing alarm and distress to onlookers by not covering it up.

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