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Ten things we learned this week

  1. This German chap's tiny paper F1 cars are awesome... and his story's even better

    Paul lives in Germany and makes astonishingly detailed Formula One cars out of cereal boxes. These cars are so complicated and beautiful that it makes Top Gear’s face both happy and curiously melancholic.

    It’d be worth watching this beautifully shot three-minute video only for the footage of Paul’s incredible, tiny creations. But the punchline is even better. We beseech you: watch this from start to finish and feel all life-affirmed and gooey.

    Watch the video

  2. Ferrari employees can now buy themselves a whole load more Ferrari tat

    Despite its woes on the F1 track, 2013 was a good year for Ferrari. Despite deliberately cutting production, the company saw revenues increase by five per cent, with profits rising by over eight per cent.

    To say ‘grazie’ to its diligent, espresso-quaffing workforce, Ferrari this week announced each of its 3000-odd employees would receive a 4,096 Euro bonus, the highest ever awarded in the company’s history.

    That’s equivalent to about £3,400. Which means each and every Ferrari employee could buy 40 Cavallino Ramparte ties from the Ferrari store.

    Or 32 ‘F1 Pad Line’ pendant charms.

    Or 14 ‘Gran Turismo’ hatboxes.

  3. The Jaguar F-Type must never wear the 'leaper' ornament on its hood

    The F-Type is a very pretty car, and even better in coupe form. Angered by its elegance, German tuning firm Arden (short for Ardent Desire To Destroy All Things Beautiful) has subtly ruined the lovely F by gluing a ‘leaper’ ornament to its nose.

    Old XJs? Just about. New F-Types? No.

    We’re told the small cat will cost you a mere £287, and can be had rendered in chrome, body colour or even - if you really, really hate eyes - gold.

    Stop it, Arden. And take off those grotty rims while you’re at it.

  4. There are still many good things left to be found in barns

    Sometimes Top Gear worries there will no more barn finds: that all the glorious, old, rusted cars squirrelled away in sheds and forgotten have since been… refound.

    And then something like this gorgeous 1954 Jaguar XK 120 coupe turns up in a barn in Georgia, USA, and totally restores our faith in humanity’s ability to buy beautiful cars… and then totally forget about them.

    This 120SE Drop Head has covered 60,000 miles, wears factory correct ‘Jaguar Red’ paint (along with quite a lot of cow dung) and is expected to fetch around $80,000 when it goes under the hammer in May. Jetwash not included.

  5. Top Gear might air in North Korea

    A megalomaniac leader with a penchant for blowing things up, Jeremy Clarkson has firmly established Top Gear as the most popular motoring programme on the planet.

    And now it seems North Korea wants in on the big TG phenomenon. Reports have emerged from Pyongyang this week that the totalitarian dictatorship is considering airing Top Gear on its single state television channel.

    Telly in the secretive state is limited at present: the Independent newspaper reports that the most popular programme is ‘It’s So Funny’, which sees ‘two uniformed soldiers performing slapstick sketches between lectures about the greatness of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un’.

    Along with Top Gear, it’s rumoured North Korea is also considering Doctor Who. And the Tellytubbies.

    The revelations follow a Foreign Office initiative last year to draw up a list of potential programmes to offer to North Korea, a move foreign secretary William Hague described as “a good way to improve understanding about the outside world within such a closed society”.

    We’ll leave you to ponder that one for a moment. Watching TG. To learn how the wider world works. Yep.

  6. You can buy Nelson Mandela's 'Democracy' BMW 318i

    In 2004, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected president, BMW South Africa cooked up a bunch of special edition 3-Series saloons, dubbed ‘Democracy Cars’. The 318s were exported around the world, with profits going to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

    Of course, you knew all that already. But the exciting news is that now one’s up for sale! At the Bonhams Auction at RAF Hendon! Later this month! And it’s expected to fetch a whopping… £4,000!

    Yep, four grand. Which is probably about right for a 2004 318 with 46,000 miles on the clock and full service history, ‘Democracy Car’ or otherwise. Almost like the buying public doesn’t quite grasp the connection between the heroic battle to defeat apartheid and a well-regarded German executive saloon.

  7. A lady called Janet has made a Clarkson sporran and we don't know what to do with it

    A sporran, for the uninitiated, is a traditional element of male Scottish Highland attire, a pouch secured by a strap in front of the groin of the wearer. Mmm.

    This week, a sporransmith called Janet Eagleton (MBE, no less) sent this hand-made Clarkson sporran to the Top Gear office. It features images of JC in his permed prime, along with an image of a lady who isn’t Jeremy. On the back there’s some blue tartan, but absolutely nowhere to attach a super-unleaded nozzle.

    So far as we’re aware, JC doesn’t own a kilt. Therefore we are not sure what to do with this kind gift. If you could find it in your heart to give this strange animal a home, please contact us on the usual address (editor@topgear.com).

  8. Marussia Motors is no more

    Marussia Motors is Russia’s first sports car manufacturer. Founded in 2007, it has been responsible for the B1, B2 and, more recently, this strange, pointy F2 SUV.

    But now it seems Marussia might be ma-resting in peace. Russian motorsport site rsport.ru reports this week that the company has ditched its car-making operations, with staff departing en masse.

    “The supercar project was ambitious, but it is disappointing that it was unable to get to market,” a spokesman is reported as saying, confirming Marussia had ceased to build cars.

    We’re told the travails of Marussia Motors will have no effect on the Marussia F1 outfit, which is a separate company owned by Marussia Communications Limited. “There is no link between the two companies, financially or technically,” the spokesman said. “The F1 team has been a independent operation for some time.”

    Lil’ Max shall be relieved.

  9. Land Rover has installed witchcraft in the bonnet of its Discovery Vision concept

    Next week, Land Rover shall whip the covers from the Discovery Vision, a concept that previews its new ‘family’ of SUVs.

    But we already know the design study will debut Land Rover’s strange and brilliant ‘Transparent Bonnet’ tech, which - through judicious use of cameras and black magic - allows the driver to gaze right through the engine and onto the road below.

    Rumours that this technology will render naked any pedestrian standing directly in front of the Discovery could not be confirmed.

  10. Australian weddings are the best weddings

    Your wedding day. The one day of your life that’s really all about you. The one day you can do anything you want (local laws notwithstanding. For the most part) while the rest of the world must politely tolerate your marital whims.

    So if you, oh tax-paying Australian citizen, want to celebrate your holy matrimony by gathering all your mates in their fast cars - including a Merc C63 AMG and a bunch of excellent old Mazdas - and perform smoky burnouts through your neighbourhood… well, why the hell not?

    Top Gear fondly imagines every Australian wedding to be like this.

What do you think?

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