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Ten Things We Learned This Week

  1. You can now buy a modified 6x6 Mercedes with matching baseball bats

    Dartz, Top Gear’s favourite Latvian car company bar none, has announced its latest assault on common sense: the Dartz Red Russian. 

    It features a fetching pink camouflage paintjob, floor coverings made from shark leather, dancing female silhouettes on each side and, naturally, a case containing painted custom baseball bats should you fancy a quick game of rounders outside Knutsford Services. 

    Not sure? Dartz boss Leo Yankelovich sent TG this characteristically wonderful email to explain the inspiration behind his new 6x6: 

    “No worries - after Russians saw the last 6x6 - they asked for more :))).

    Attached are the next “babies” which happened after sex between MRAP and G-Wagen during Die HARD 5 :). As we think this baby not so ugly like original 6x6 - but not sure other people will think so.

    Carpets and interior - from blue whale enemy - white shark. It look like we will make also Camel Trophy edition - for Middle East, Red Russian - for Russia, and Yakzhemash!!! - for Kazakstan :).

    Maybe London needs own edition - but I think Russian will fit London.”

  2. The Stig has started stealing F1 cars

    Some say his droppings have been found as far north as York, and that he has a full-size tattoo of his face, on his face. But, to our knowledge, some are yet to say that that he breaks into the headquarters of leading F1 teams overnight on daring smash’n’grab raids.

    Until now. Shocking footage emerged this week of our tame racing driver at the home of the Lotus F1 team, first having his wicked way with a mini F1 car, and then redirecting one of the V8-engined 2013 cars that Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean drove with such distinction to… South Africa. Watch it here

  3. This year's Le Mans could be the greatest ever

    The 24 Hours of Le Mans 2014 started with a bang. Literally, as Loic Duval in the number one Audi had a horrific crash coming out of the Porsche Curves in practice which completely destroyed his car. Thankfully Duval walked away with only minor injuries, although he’s out of the race. And Audi, being Audi, has already managed to completely rebuild a replacement car.  

    With the return of Porsche threatening favourites Toyota and long-time Le Mans winners Audi, this year’s LMP1 clash could be the best in years. And you can keep up to date with TopGear.com’s live blog here… 

  4. Going over the speed limit in the UK could now cost you £10,000

    Yes, seriously. Proposals from Jeremy Wright, the justice minister, aim to increase the maximum fine for speeding on the motorway from £2,500 to £10,000. Fines for using a mobile phone while driving, dangerous parking or failure to comply with a traffic sign will rise from a £1,000 to £4,000 maximum. 

    We haven’t heard what the other Jeremy thinks of this yet. But we can hazard a guess. 

  5. If you're hitchhiking in Cornwall, look out for ambulances

    60-year-old blood clot patient Glenn Buscombe has made an official complaint to the ambulance service after the crew ferrying him to hospital in Plymouth stopped to pick up a pair of hitch-hikers. 

    “I said to the paramedic ‘What’s going on?’ And he said he did not know what the driver was playing at.”

    Mr Buscombe added: “I would be the first to pick up a damsel in distress but it was an emergency.

    “I made the complaint because someone else could be in a more serious condition.”

    An ambulance service spokesman said the crew “thought they had a duty of care to the couple because the road is pretty dangerous”.

    There’s no word on whether they also stopped off at Spar for two packs of Chilli McCoys, a PLAIN Bounty (not milk) and a Diet Coke (caffeine-free if you can get it), but investigations are ongoing. 

    (picture above unrelated) 

  6. A Chinese man has invented a suitcase scooter

    In a move straight out of the Top Gear Technology Centre, inventor He Liangcai from Changsha City in China has taken to the streets in this: a motorised suitcase. 

    Clearly regarding Trunkees as hopelessly analogue, what with their inability to seat anyone over five-years-old, and need to be pulled by a stressed, red-faced father lugging a clanking bag of duty free in the other hand, Mr Liangcai has fitted his contraption with a GPS system, horn, burglar alarm and motor capable of 20mph. 

    We want a go. 

    Source: The Telegraph (watch footage of the scooter here)

  7. London cabbies protest against Uber, London Uber registrations explode

    Self-described “tech disruptors” Uber have arrived in London, with a mission to disrupt the cab industry. This hasn’t gone down well with London’s venerable (and to be fair, excellent) black cabbies, who contend that Uber are bending the long-established rules on Hackney Carriages and should be banned. 

    A demonstration this week in London brought the roads around TG HQ to a standstill, but unfortunately for the cabbies, this would appear to have acted as a huge advert for the burgeoning app, who reported registrations going up 850% this week.  

    A man who lives south of the river remarked: “what’s a black cab?” 

  8. Car designers HATE Google's self-driving car

    And tech disruption in the car industry continued with news of this: Google’s self-driving car. Which all car designers HATE. 

    Ex-BMW man Chris Bangle huffed: “Here we are seeing little footage pieces to the tune of a Playskool infant’s toy and it is hard not to come away feeling My First Car is rolling by … but in this case it would be My First Non-Car.”

    Peter Stevens, former chief of design for McLaren, Lotus, MG, snorted: “What we have been allowed to see so far is a rather unsophisticated and naïvely detailed little two-seat car. It is inoffensive in the extreme, with a rather forlorn and apologetic look.”

    Tom Matano, former chief of design for Mazda, sighed: “ don’t like that antenna on top [note: presumably it’s some kind of visual sensor or camera to assist with navigation]. They should have better solved that problem in a more production-ready way. But I guess it’s necessary equipment.”

    Whoever was behind the Pontiac Aztec was unavailable for comment, which is probably just as well.  

    Source: Fastcodesign 

  9. Adriana Lima made a football advert with Kia

    We’ve already had one tenuous football tie-in on TopGear.com this week (have you read our England XI of cars yet?), but there’s always room for just one more: Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima has made a series of World Cup adverts with Kia.

  10. If you're lifting a Seat Leon racer, remember to keep the handbrake on

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