100 things we learned in 2016 | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear

100 things we learned in 2016

This year hasn’t been short on madcap car stories. Here are the best 100

  1. This is what a patriotic Lambo looks like

    Lamborghinis do enough to grab the attention of passers-by. They look all pointy and angry, they sound very snarly, and some of them have scissor doors. They are the epitome of wonderfully silly supercar design.

    But what if that’s not enough? Enter Print Tech, a German-based company that’s concocted this less than subtle wrap for your Huracan.

    Perfect for proud Italians or Italophiles, it shouts particularly loudly about Lamborghini’s roots with the tricolore of Italy’s flag. It is also made of latex, and costs, um, £7,500.

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  2. Pigs plotted to overthrow the human race

    This was the only rational explanation after a drove of pigs (no pun intended, that’s the actual collective noun) escaped from a field adjacent to the London-bound carriage of the A21, forcing officials to close the road twice in four days.

    Traffic was diverted as some 30 or 40 pigs – reportedly of the Kunekune breed native to New Zealand – were thwarted by the authorities, with the pigs’ owner later forced to construct a “secure enclosure” to contain the assailants.

    No wonder there’s so much concern over boar-der controls.

    Picture credit: Kier Highways & TFL Traffic News

  3. A traffic camera in Canada captured unexpected wildlife

    With heavy snowfall in Quebec reducing traffic to a minimum, you’d think existence as a roadside camera would be fairly uneventful. Not so.

    One camera at the intersection between Autoroute 40 and the Boulevard des Sources in Montreal caught brilliant footage of a passing owl, quickly gaining traction on social media after stills from the clip were released by the region’s transport minister Robert Poëti.

    To the best of our knowledge, the owl wasn’t fined for speeding.

    Picture credit: Robert Poëti

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  4. A Mitsubishi Lancer ice sculpture sat in a New York parking lot

    Did you have to thaw out your car this morning? If so, you might have cursed your lack of de-icer and got a cold hand while haplessly rubbing your bank card against the windscreen.

    You had it easy compared to the driver of this Mitsubishi Lancer, after a cold snap hit Buffalo in upstate New York.

    Such a severe frosting is the result of rain changing to snow overnight. The owner had left his car parked by Lake Erie after deciding to have a drink rather than drive home.

    “Would you like ice with that?” has never been such a literal question…

    Picture: WKBW-TV

  5. A man has summoned his Tesla on video

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    Earlier in the year Tesla launched its latest software update. And the headline feature was ‘Summon’, a mode which allows you to prod at your smartphone, sending the car breezing out of the garage and to your door under its own steam. Don’t worry, it’ll open the garage door too.

    If it sounds a bit too much like witchcraft, then allow the owner here to demonstrate for you. His presenting style may not be as boisterous as others online, but that matches his languid way of living rather well.

    He’d rather his car came to him than he to it, after all…

  6. You can now scare three people in a GT350R

    “The bored-out 5.2-litre engine revs like it’s completely free of all friction,” said Pat Devereux of the Shelby Mustang GT350R in a previous issue of Top Gear. “Active suspension helps the car flick in and out of turns way faster than you thought possible for a muscle car.”

    An experience, then, to savour for yourself, unsullied by wimpish cries from tortured passengers.

    So we thought. Incorrectly, it turns out. Ford is now offering a pair of rear seats for the GT350R thanks to customer demand, the $999 option coming trimmed in the same red-stitched Alcantara as the front pews.

    Or, to put it another way: pay a premium for the GT350R, which strips the rear seats out of a ‘Stang (among other tweaks), and then pay a further premium to put them back in. At the equivalent of £45,000, though, we’re still going to call it a bargain…

  7. A man drove off without his wife, and didn’t notice for 60 miles

    “An absent-minded tourist left his wife stranded at a petrol station and didn’t notice she was missing for almost 60 miles,” reported The Independent back in January. Didn’t notice for almost 60 miles? Or didn’t feel guilty for escaping until he’d covered that distance?

    They’d been holidaying in Brazil and were returning to their Argentinian homeland when the faux pas occurred. Panicked phone calls from wife to husband were thwarted by poor signal on the road.

    Deliberate or accidental, the pair were reunited a couple of hours later when he (and his 14-year-old son, also in the car) turned back. She greeted their return by, um, angrily kicking the car. Probably fair.

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  8. A ridiculous diversion was set up in the UK

    Diversions present an unavoidable familiarity for drivers, particularly in the UK, whose roads seem to be permanently under construction.

    Typically they lead you from a dual carriageway and onto minor roads for 20 minutes or so, mildly lengthening your journey.

    Not in Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilshire, though. Resurfacing work on the town’s high street - all 300 yards of it - was averted by a 32-mile diversion. Yes, thirty two. Full miles…

    It appears to be the result of council guidelines, which led to A-roads having to be diverted to other A-roads, as opposed to littler routes, which would be unsuitable for lorries.

    Hopefully most drivers utilised their common sense…

    Image: Arriva436

  9. A man ‘invented’ a jet capable of Mach 24

    ‘Invented’ is a strong word. ‘Drew a picture of’ would be more accurate.

    Following his Mach 10 ‘Skreemr’ concept jet from 2015, Canadian engineer Charles Bombardier came up with this new supersonic plane called ‘The Antipode’ which is designed to be capable of a scarcely comprehendible Mach 24. According to NASA, that’s not far off the re-entry speed of the now decommissioned Space Shuttle.

    Bombardier previously admitted that the materials required to withstand flight at Mach 10 didn’t exist yet, however he believes that an airflow technique called ‘long penetration mode’ (no sniggering, please) could help cool components sufficiently to make his idea work.

    At the Antipode’s full chat of Mach 24, you could travel between New York and London in just 11 minutes. TG recommends reinforced seatbelts.

    Picture credit: ImaginActiv

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  10. Police in Ecuador rescued a stricken sloth

    If you are vulnerable to cuteness, we strongly advise that you skip this slide.

    Transport police in Ecuador had to deal with an unusual problem on the roadside, after spotting a tiny sloth clinging to the barriers separating a busy highway not far from Quevedo City last week.

    Photos of the incident were uploaded to the Facebook page of the Comisión de Tránsito del Ecuador, where they quickly gained traction online.

    After being checked over by a vet the little creature was eventually released back into his natural habitat, no doubt returning to life in the slow lane.

    Picture credit: Comisión de Tránsito del Ecuador

  11. Max Verstappen had a brush with the law

    Remember that stunt Red Bull did on a ski slope in Austria? Well the local authorities were less than impressed.

    It was reported that Verstappen and his team didn’t get proper permission for the demonstration in Kitzbühel, and at the time they faced a fine of €30,000 (around £25,000 based on the current exchange rate).

    It’s not entirely clear whether or not Red Bull were forced to cough up, or indeed exactly what it was they did wrong, although some speculated that the car strayed from an agreed route. Or as Charlie Whiting would call it, ‘exceeding track limits’.

    Joking aside, if Red Bull did put the environment at risk, then that’s snow laughing matter…

  12. Some dogs drove a Subaru

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    Hooray! We have rather a soft spot for car-loving canines, as TopGear.com die-hards ought to know. So we were delighted to come across 2016’s first example at the beginning of February.

    The spoilsports among you will point out it’s not real. Everyone else? Just revel in the kind of advertising we actually enjoy. Cars, of course, have had voice recognition technology for years. But it’s never been advertised with such charm and charisma.

    Now, if you excuse us, we’re just popping out to buy ALL OF THE SUBARUS…

  13. Elon Musk cancelled a ‘rude’ blogger’s order

    Tesla boss Elon Musk generated headlines by cancelling the order of “super rude” blogger who criticised the launch of the Model X back in September 2015.

    Stewart Alsop, who put down a $5000 deposit for the car that had been due in 2013, left a scathing review online after the event entitled ‘Dear @ElonMusk: You should be ashamed of yourself’.

    But instead of an apology, Mr Alsop simply had his order cancelled after allegedly being told that Musk himself was “not comfortable” with the blogger owning a Tesla. Ouch.

  14. A motorist pulled over a speeding police officer

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    No, we haven’t got those two mixed up.

    Claudia Castillo, who was driving along in Miami, was shocked when a police car tore past her without lights or a siren at speeds approaching 100mph along the Dolphin Expressway.

    In a bizarre role-reversal, she quickly flagged it down to ask for an explanation for the erratic driving, eventually earning an apology from the red-faced officer. “I’ll be sure to slow down, ma’am,” he added.

    Sounds like a fair cop.

  15. A man converted a Ferrari into a letterbox

    While you won’t see a Ferrari-made SUV for a long while yet, there’s a chance you might catch a glimpse of a Ferrari letterbox if you’re passing through Belgium any time soon.

    55-year-old Nico Van Lee, a Ferrari enthusiast from Genk, was forced to take his Ferrari Mondial off the road after the cost of maintenance and repair became too much to keep up with.

    Apparently he began selling off parts after realising it would never be driven again, leading to inspiration for the idea to convert the tailgate into what is surely a completely unique mailbox.

    All it needs now is the number plate ‘N0 JUNK M41L’.

    Picture credit: HLN.BE

  16. BAC made a Mono for larger folk

    Want a BAC Mono? Worried you won’t quite squeeze in? Cast your fears away! The Merseyside maker of track merriment has answered your woes with a new, wider chassis for its single-seater sports car.

    “BAC’s close relationship and ongoing communication with its customers” has brought about the upgrade, according to the official bumf. An extra 56mm has been added to the width of its cockpit aperture, thanks to some new panels and fresh engineering for the chassis tub.

    It all lies beneath, though, and the Mono’s exterior measurements don’t change, and neither do its 2.8sec 0-60mph time and 170mph top speed. Weight of driver notwithstanding, of course…

  17. Parking on ice isn’t a good idea

    “Why’s that?” we hear you ask. Well – and brace yourself for this – scientists have discovered that ice has a tendency to stop being ice, and start being something else entirely in certain conditions. The baffling process has been referred to as ‘melting’ by those in the know.

    Several visitors to Winterfest and the US National Snow Sculpting Competition discovered this to their cost, after the frozen lake they had parked on in Wisconsin suddenly became liquidy again without prior warning.

    Reports suggested that as many as 15 vehicles were caught out in the incident, with two thirds of those write-offs according to local news sources.

    TG offers the following quote – from a victim who lost her SUV – without comment: “I think it’s stupid to park on ice now.”

    Picture credit: CNN Newsource

  18. A dinosaur blocked a road on the Isle of Wight

    Livestock in the road. A stray dog. Ducks crossing. These are the typical animal-based jams suffered on UK roads.

    However, Chris Hollingshead encountered something altogether larger and scarier one night on a drive home on the Isle of Wight.

    “That priceless moment when you’re driving home from work at 3am and the road is blocked by a 20ft Triceratops,” reads his Facebook post accompanying the image above.

    It’s not, you’ll be glad to know, Jurassic Park made real, rather some mischievous drunks purloining an extravagant ornament from a nearby garden and placing it in the way of traffic.

    We’re just glad he stopped in time. That could have been a Tyrannosaurus wreck.

  19. You can have a Lada tank for a grand

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    Over in Russia, normal rules do not apply. If you want to do a bit of light off-roading, you use an 8x8 Avtoros Shaman.

    For the hardware on offer, its £88,000 is a bit of a bargain. But it’s still a heck of a lot of money. Enter the wonderfully pragmatic alternative: a makeshift Lada tank.

    Yup. Take one Lada Riva (they’re plentiful in Russia, so you can haggle hard on this) then add around £1,000 worth of tanky things, and you end up with this. It’s not stylish, but as this video proves, it is fearless whether you’re driving forwards or backwards.

    We’ll take ten.

  20. Roscoe Hamilton tested Merc’s F1 car

    Much news spilled from Formula 1’s pre-season testing in Barcelona, but the big scoop came from camp Hamilton: Lewis stepped aside and let his pet dog - and sometime social media personality - Roscoe put some miles under the wheels of Mercedes’ W07 instead.

    Reports suggested Roscoe emerged looking like a bulldog chewing a wasp, due to several bones of contention: a car that felt like it was on the leash, and an engine that was still ruff around the edges.

    Picture: Lewis Hamilton

  21. Mercedes bosses have to drive electric cars

    Yup. In an attempt to lead by example, Daimler decided its workers would have to drive plug-in cars.

    The policy was applied to just the big guns to begin with, but they aren’t likely to grumble: the Mercedes plug-in range is a diverse thing now. Though given the option between a 436bhp hybrid S-Class and a 74bhp electric Smart, we imagine their choices are rather top heavy.

    “We are continuing on the path of zero-emission driving with consistency,” said Mercedes board member Ola Källenius. “This is why we are making electric mobility an integral part of the everyday lives of our top management to set an example and to provide a clear role model.”

    Wonder if he’s set himself an SLS Electric Drive aside? We know we would…

  22. You can now have Morgan Freeman on your sat nav

    Is this still a thing? It would seem so. Despite many people plugging in clever city-traversing apps to get about, the downloadable sat nav voice hasn’t followed the downloadable ringtone into the confines of electronic history.

    In fact, the voice of Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman was been added to one of those very apps - namely Waze – as part of a promo for a film.

    If it directs us to a haul of treasure buried in the ground, however, a la The Shawshank Redemption, we’re totally cool with it.

    Picture: Focus Features

  23. A self-driving Google car crashed

    If you think our fear of the machines is far-fetched, then let news from Google’s self-driving programme prove such worries to be well-founded.

    The tech company’s autonomous programme is the world’s most famous (or perhaps infamous), grabbing far more attention than the efforts of Audi, Tesla et al.

    And this year, one of its cars crashed itself. Vehicles undergoing autonomous testing have had prangs before, but fault has stopped with the driver. This time, however, the self-driven Lexus RX (though probably not the one above) has flung itself into the path of a bus, having paused to navigate its way round a hazard.

    “The Google AV test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue,” read a line from the subsequent report. Oh dear.

    Picture credit: Steve Jurvetson

  24. Grannies love Lamborghinis

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    We severely doubt you’ve seen a more cockle-warming video than this lately. Meet Peggy and Audrey, two utterly adorable American grannies who - for reasons which are unclear - have got their hands upon a tuned Lamborghini Murcielago.

    They certainly don’t appear to be owners of the car, as their consternation at its apparent lack of boot as they pick up their shopping surely proves.

    But just look at their childish excitement, and listen to their whoops as they trundle through town, shocking onlookers and generally having a joyous time in one of the world’s most exciting cars. Bless.

  25. Subaru passed the 15 million mark for AWD cars

    Have you seen a 4x4 Subaru today? Maybe a school-run mum in her trusty Legacy, or a thousand horsepower Impreza with a missile silo for an exhaust pipe crossed your path. We’re betting much money it wasn’t a misunderstood Levorg.

    Well back in March Subaru celebrated building its 15 millionth car equipped with all-wheel drive, so chances are you’ll be glimpsing one soon. Well done, Scooby.

  26. Mercedes and Porsche paid homage to BMW

    Normally the advertising world is a competitive place, but for one week only Mercedes and Porsche put competitive motivation to one side to offer praise… to rivals BMW.

    As the German carmaker celebrated its centenary - unveiling the Vision Next 100 in the process - a Merc ad in a German newspaper read: “Thanks for 100 years of competition. The previous 30 years were somewhat dull”, a reference to the fact that BMW was founded three decades after Mercedes.

    Meanwhile, Porsche’s spread said: “Porsche bows to 100 years of moving automobile history and wholeheartedly congratulates BMW on this jubilee.”

  27. A dog was spotted on a lawnmower

    When reporting on major storm damage, there are many things you expect to see: ruined buildings, felled trees, general devastation… You get the idea.

    Something you might not expect to come across though is the sight of a dog sat on a lawnmower, seemingly getting ready to begin the clean-up operation.

    But that’s exactly what happened to KYTX CBS19 reporter Andrea Martinez whilst on the scene in Malakoff, Texas. The film crew were treading through the debris in the Lone Star State when they chanced upon the peculiar canine, with the clip receiving hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook.

    That’s one pupular video.

    Image credit: Andrea Martinez & KYTX CBS19

  28. Tortoises now have a proper place to park

    Probably a good job, given their paws (do tortoises have paws?) probably can’t operate an iPad very well to appeal any fines.

    Yup, spotted many months ago was what we presume to be a badly labelled disabled bay, but which we deeply hope is actually a parking space especially for our doddering, hard-cased pals. They do drive AMG GTs, after all.

    Just don’t go strapping a rucksack to your back and crawling on all fours in order to fraudulently park nearer the supermarket door. That’d be a bit, um, shell-fish, wouldn’t it?

  29. The VW Phaeton met its maker

    Oh god, this is still sad isn’t it? But there’s a happy ending, fear not…

    The VW Phaeton left the UK some time ago, so we’ve had a long while to adjust to life without it. But nevertheless, the finality of the picture above - which shows the very final car of a 14-year production run, rolling off the line - has our bottom lip quivering a little. No longer will overengineered giganto-Passats roll out of the excellently named Transparent Factory.

    Happily, all the people surrounding it don’t lose their jobs, for the Dresden-based factory began its transition into a “Volkswagen brand showcase for electromobility and digitalisation”.

    VW, don’t forget, has grand plans for electric cars, including - huzzah! - a plug-in replacement for the Phaeton towards the end of the decade.

  30. Nissan's ‘curry hook’ turned 20

    Nissan is never one to shy away from celebrating its latest high-tech safety features, although this milestone was altogether more basic.

    The ‘curry hook’ – as it was subsequently dubbed by the media – was first introduced on the Nissan Almera in March 1996 as a way of keeping bags upright inside the cabin.

    It can still be found in some new Nissans today, although in the Qashqai and the X-Trail it is now located in the boot rather than on the dashboard.

    According to the Japanese company’s David Moss, it’s little ideas like this one that keep “customers coming back time and time again.”

    Perhaps other carmakers should tikka leaf out of Nissan’s book: sometimes simple solutions are better than madrastic measures.

  31. A 911 GT3 RS went for a swim

    In a Porsche dealership, no less.

    Reports last spring suggested that the 500bhp car rolled over the edge of the bank while undergoing minor work at Porsche’s base in Amsterdam.   

    Photographer Nick van Veldhuijzen, who captured the accident on camera, later witnessed the car being winched out with a crane.

    Apparently damage was minimal, although naturally the owner had to be called in to inspect his moistened bonnet. We certainly don’t envy the person who had to make that phone call…

    It just goes to show: you can lead a Porsche to water but you cannot make it sink.

    Image credit: Nick van Veldhuijzen

  32. Batman pranked Uber users in an Aventador

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    Obviously this isn’t the real Batman, who was much too busy trolling cinema-goers in a Jeep Renegade in Dawn of Justice to bother taking any interest in a Lambo.

    This was in fact YouTubeist Josh Paler Lin, who unleashed a torrent of japery on a handful of Uber users who were expecting a quiet journey in a Toyota Prius. How wrong they were.

    After setting up a false account on the taxi hailing service, Lin, in full character as the DC Comics hero, proceeded to thrill his passengers with a series of quick bursts in the 217mph supercar.

    He’s the taxi driver Uber deserves, but not the one it ne- wait, we’ve done this joke before. Sorry.

    Image credit: Josh Paler Lin

  33. Someone sold an actual, sea-faring Lamborghini Countach

    That’s right: an actual amphibious Lamborghini Countach appeared on eBay. 

    What else is there to say? It was fitted with a Rover V8, a composite body moulded from the Countach 5000QV, a semi-space frame chassis, push-rod suspension, some brakes, some steering, some leather, and hydraulic suspension activators, rudders, and a front hydrofoil.

    It was on TV. It was built for a considerable sum of money. It made it to Hollywood and back. And the listing had it priced at just £18,995; the same as a 1.6-litre, diesel Vauxhall Astra. Except it’s a Countach. That floats. The mind boggles.

  34. Ford uses ‘engine listeners’ to check the Focus RS

    That isn’t a typo. Ford revealed that it really does employ people to diagnose issues on its production line simply by using the power of hearing.

    The specialist workers have to go through months of training so they can hone in on imperfections in less than sixty seconds.

    “The experience of hearing thousands of engines allows us to sense straight away when something is not working perfectly,” said quality technician Juan Carlos Rosmari. “Each different engine type has its own unique sound, and from listening to them in the test cells we get to know their individual characters – and the tell-tale signs which indicate a problem.”

    The team of engine listeners at Ford’s Engine Plant in Valencia perform over 2,000 tests every day in soundproof cells to ensure their power units are running smoothly.

    We’ve heard it all now. And so have Ford, by the sounds of it.

  35. A man sold a Porsche 911 R for $1.25million on eBay

    More bizarre internet auction news, though perhaps not the most surprising. Hardcore Porsches are tricky and expensive things to get your hands on. If you miss out on a brand new one, a barely-used example will easily run you tens or often hundreds of thousands over list, and speculators - like this chap - sell their spots in line for way over market value.

    Cayman GT4s, which are £64k brand new, are up north of £100K. GT3 RSs are nudging £300K, more than twice what you’d have paid new. So we’re not entirely shocked by this bloke’s gall, more the scope of it. That’s 918 money, after all.

  36. A study crowned Fangio the greatest F1 driver ever

    Research by the University of Sheffield concluded that five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio is the greatest driver in the history of the sport.

    The study – which used statistical data to rank all of F1’s drivers – placed Fangio above Alain Prost and Fernando Alonso in second and third. Jim Clark was fourth, and Ayrton Senna fifth.

    Dr Andrew Bell, of the Sheffield Methods Institute, said: “The question ‘who is the greatest F1 driver of all time’ is a difficult one to answer, because we don’t know the extent to which drivers do well because of their talent or because they are driving a good car.

    “Our statistical model allows us to find a ranking and assess the relative importance of team and driver effects, and there are some surprising results.”

    He isn’t kidding. According to the analysis, three-time world champion Niki Lauda doesn’t even make the top 100. Try arguing that one with your mates…

  37. Drink drivers in Thailand were rebuked with morgue duty

    Thailand adopted a new punishment for drink-drivers and repeat traffic offenders: community service in hospital morgues.

    The rather macabre sentencing is aimed at sobering up people who decide to get behind the wheel drunk, by giving them a very graphic demonstration of what the outcome of their stupid decision could be.

    In Thailand more than two people die and 160 are injured on the roads every hour. Suddenly this measure makes some sense...

  38. Porsche’s LMP1 car has been redesigned for a snow stage

    When the new season of the World Endurance Championship kicked off at Silverstone in April, no one could have anticipated the weather as the final qualifying session was cut short because of snow.

    Fortunately, Twitter user @LMPone had a solution to hand: this brilliant LMP1 Porsche modified with snowmobile tracks.

    The German team were so impressed with the render, they used it to assure their 30,000 followers that they would learn from the wintery conditions in time for the next race in Spa-Francorchamps.

    A multi-terrain, pan-continental racing series with a field of prototypes on tracks simply has to happen.

    Image credit: @LMPone

  39. A teenager killed a deer on his driving test

    Oh deer, oh deer, oh deer.

    If you thought your driving test was nerve-wracking, try putting yourself in the shoes of Tom Lo - a 17-year-old sixth form student from Essex – who struck and fatally wounded a deer during his examination on a road near Colchester.

    “I was picking up speed because it was a 60mph zone,” the student told Newsbeat. “And all of a sudden I see a deer in front of me.

    “So I hit my brake but unfortunately the deer was killed.”

    Lo’s examiner got out to check for damage, after which he assured the teenager that the accident wasn’t his fault and that he could continue his test. Lo did so, and astonishingly kept his composure to pass with only two minors.

  40. A £10m Le Mans Ferrari met a £120 parking fine

    Top Gear naturally upholds the belief that no matter what you drive, you’re not immune to the law. Break the speed limit or run a red light and you’ll deserve the resulting punishment. But even so, London’s parking wardens have took the cake a bit when they slapped a £120 parking fine on the windscreen of a £10m Ferrari 512 LM racecar. The cheek of it.

    The 45-year old V12 endurance racer was parked in picturesque Kensington Mews, while historic car specialists Fiskens snapped some photographs of the immaculate classic ahead of an upcoming auction. After observing the car contravening the local parking laws for over five minutes, the 512 was collared with the paper penalty. Perhaps Fiskens should’ve make the difference back by legally parking it elsewhere and charging punters a quid just to look at it. We’d pay.

  41. Eagles want to drive Fiat 124s

    It’s the question that nature programmes never seem to answer: which cars would animals drive if they had the necessary limbs to do so?

    Well, Fiat did its best to convince us that if eagles were on the market for some wheels, they’d definitely choose a 124.

    “We all want to be as free as the birds,” reasons the voiceover. “But maybe the birds want to be as free as us.”

    It’s a startling revelation. Our money was on the Eagle E-type being the vehicle of choice for America’s national bird…

    Image credit: Fiat USA

  42. This Rolls-Royce Wraith luggage set is worth £24k

    When you think of Rolls-Royce, you think luxury. Attention to detail. Gorgeous materials. And expensive price tags. So it’s only fitting the Goodwood-based brand has revealed a six-piece luggage set inspired by – and designed to fit in – its Wraith super-coupe. The price for all six items? £24,248 – before tax.

    If you’re being asked to pay Golf GTI money for a family of bags, you’d expect all of the above qualities in abundance, and so it proves: carbonfibre shells for light weight and strength, magnetic handle mechanisms, and the best feature – self-righting wheel centre-caps, just like the party pieces on Rolls’s cars.

    If this all sounds like prissy garnish to you, not so fast. Rolls-Royce consulted the world authorities on posh luggage before designing this lot: the concierge services of the world’s ultra-luxury hotels. If there’s anyone who can spot corner-cutting in transportation of the jet set’s dirty laundry, it’s the door staff at The Dorchester and suchlike.

  43. A driver crashed a McLaren minutes after taking delivery

    The McLaren 650S is capable of doing 0-62mph in three seconds flat, will reach 124mph 5.4 seconds later and has a top speed of 207mph. These have long been established facts.

    But thanks to a man in Essex, we also know it will do 0-crashed in an extremely rapid time as well.

    Pictures emerged of a freshly delivered McLaren moments after a prang in Hatton, Brentwood, along with claims that the accident happened just minutes after the keys were handed over to the new owner.

    Reports said neighbours saw the man in question celebrating the delivery of his new supercar with a bottle of champagne, before smashing the front end of the £200,000 motor seconds after getting behind the wheel.

    Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that while the 650bhp machine crumpled like a paper cup, the tree appeared undamaged…

  44. Someone graffiti'd a Range Rover

    Breakups are hard and everyone deals with them differently. But not everyone makes their feelings known quite so graphically.

    Instead of sending a sarcastic text, or watching Love Actually three times over, it appeared that a jilted lover had sprayed “Cheater” in blood red paint on both sides of a Range Rover, “Hope she was worth it” on the rear window and bonnet, then parked it outside central London’s poshest shop, Harrods.

    However, not all was as it seemed. Shortly after the images of the 4x4 had surfaced, it was revealed that a luxury car workshop in Knightsbridge had set up the whole thing as a publicity stunt.

    Image credit: Klo

  45. Boaty McBoatface wasn’t named Boaty McBoatface after all

    You may remember that a while back the internet was taken by storm by a public vote to name a new Royal Research Ship, due to set sail in 2019.

    It gained huge traction because the most popular suggestions included ‘RSS It’s Bloody Cold Here’, ‘RSS Boatimus Prime’ and the frontrunner ‘RSS Boaty McBoatface’.

    The latter got 124,000 votes, but as the result wasn’t binding, the Natural Environment Research Council instead opted for the much more sensible ‘RSS David Attenborough’, named after the broadcasting legend who turned 90 this year.

    Fear not, though, democracy isn’t completely dead. Recognising the will of the people, NERC decided to name one of the vessel’s on-board remotely operated vehicles ‘Boaty McBoatface’, ensuring the legend lives on. Yay!

    Picture credit: Cammell Laird/BAS

  46. A woman gave birth in her Honda Jazz

    You’re not supposed to stop on the hard shoulder if you can avoid it, but going into labour is as good a reason as any, as Beth Newell will tell you.

    “Can I have a free car?” she tweeted after giving birth to her baby daughter in the back of her Honda Fit, the car we call Jazz on UK shores. “It is a mess” was her succinct reason why.

    Honda didn’t quite do that, but it did send her a loan car while it cleaned up hers, and sent nappies for the freshly born human. It’s a small price for the publicity she’s given the Jazz: who knew anyone under the age of 70 actually owned one?

  47. A car fell down a sinkhole

    Not for the first time, sinkholes crept into the news when the earth gave way and swallowed a car, on this occasion in Charlton, south London. Heavy rain pounded the road and eventually led to the tarmac ripping wide open, taking half a Vauxhall Zafira with it.

    Fortuitously, the car ended up resting on a pipe beneath the surface, and so suffered minimal damage. It was later lifted out by a crane, and its owner has breathed a sigh of relief.

    “In life you have good days and bad days,” Ghazi Hassan told the BBC. “This morning wasn’t a good day. But I’m thankful me or my family wasn’t in the car.”

    His brother, meanwhile, who Ghazi was staying with, was considerably more nonchalant about his sibling’s misfortune. “I woke up very surprised,” said Abdul Ahmadzai. “I thought: ‘There’s nothing I can do’ and went back to sleep.”

    Image credit: Helen Jakeways

  48. 11-year-olds can drive Bentleys

    Yep. You’ve heard of young driver schemes, the likes of Seat and Mercedes allowing little ‘uns in their cars (on closed tracks, naturally) to whet their appetite for learning to drive, and getting them as prepared as possible to slot straight into the driver’s seat.

    Well now, Young Driver is offering 11 to 17 year olds who’ve already had tuition time in a 60bhp Skoda Citigo to upgrade to a 400bhp Bentley Arnage. One with dual controls to keep any ill behaviour in check.

    “It’s something we imagine will be a special treat,” says Young Driver’s Kim Stanton, “and that someone who has had a couple of Young Driver lessons before might like to try to get a new perspective on how different cars handle.”

    In the case of Arnage, quite tyre-smokingly, actually…

  49. A woman obeyed her GPS and sunk her car

    A 23-year-old driver sunk her Toyota Yaris in a lake in Ontario, Canada, reportedly after her sat nav instructed her to proceed into the water.

    Luckily the young lady in question realised her mistake quickly enough to abandon the car through the window, swimming to safety while the vehicle sank to the depths beyond the slipway.

    Local police said that combination of darkness, rain and fog caused the driver to miss the approaching hazard.

    At least she didn’t do it live on TV

    Image credit: Andrea Vincze

  50. Aston Martin parodied Art Attack

    In our minds, anyway.

    It’s a reality of nature that cows aren’t shaped like bucket seats. As a result, there is always leather left over when designers have finished upholstering the interior of Aston Martin’s Vanquish.

    However, the British carmaker managed to put that extra hide to good use, as demonstrated by the display above. At its headquarters in Gaydon, a team was able to assemble a rather wonderful collage of the 6.0-litre V12 from the very leather that furnishes its interior.

    BMW’s Art Car has competition at last.

  51. Google patented a glue for self-driving cars

    A grim likelihood in motoring is that from time to time, pedestrians and cars are going to collide. Even with the advancement of autonomous tech fast gathering pace, it’s a problem that surely isn’t going to go away.

    Recognising this, Google has been racking its collective brain for ideas that could lead to potential solutions in the years to come. One of those brainwaves, showcased in the above photo, was granted legal protection by the US Patent Office this year.

    But what is the idea, exactly? In all seriousness, it’s a special glue that emerges from the bodywork in the event of an accident to stick pedestrians to the frame of the car. Really.

    “The front region of the vehicle may be coated with a specialised adhesive that adheres to a pedestrian,” explains the patent, “and thus holds the pedestrian on the vehicle in the unfortunate event that the front of the vehicle comes into contact with the pedestrian.”

    TG predicts that this could lead to a number of sticky situations.

  52. Merc’s ‘Airscarf’ feature was banned in Germany

    But only until Christmas.

    The German Federal Court of Justice ruled that Mercedes shouldn’t be allowed to sell convertibles with its familiar ‘Airscarf’ neck-heating feature until the original, 1996 patent of inventor Ludwig Schatzinger expired at the end of 2016.

    Until then, the manufacturer was warned that it would have to disable ‘Airscarf’ on new models or face a fine of nearly £200,000.

    This might strike some people as a waste of time given that Mercedes will be allowed to reactivate the feature again shortly after the festive season.

    Sounds like a lot of hot air to us…

  53. 20,000 bees chased a car for two days

    It sounds like the stuff of nightmares. Pictures were widely circulated in the press in June of a Mitsubishi Outlander that was followed by an enormous swarm of bees after their queen got stuck in the boot.

    A team of beekeepers was drafted in to retrieve the buzzing horde, only for the wind to blow the lid off the box containing the recaptured queen, who then returned to the rear of the Outlander.

    Unaware that the royal insect had returned, the owner of the car then drove off, only for the swarm to make a bee line (excuse the pun) for the car in pursuit of the tiny stowaway. According to reports, they stayed locked onto the back of the car for about 48 hours.

    Bee careful out there, folks.

  54. A kart crash turned into the greatest overtake ever

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    Karting tracks will always be a hotbed for original overtakes, although we’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

    During a race at the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship in Ontario in the summer, an anonymous driver clipped the back of a competitor and was launched into the air, seemingly destined for a heavy impact with the wall.

    Amazingly though, the driver in question managed to land his kart on all four wheels and return to the track in one fluid motion, converting an almost certain crash into one of the greatest overtaking moves we’ve ever witnessed.

    Understandably though the incident cost the driver momentum, and he soon lost the place again. Too bad.

  55. A driver made his own F1 wheel

    Police officers probably come across all manner of things in their crime-preventing capacity, although to the best of our knowledge, this is a first.

    Two officers – named only as SSO Richardson and SSO Mortimer – stopped a vehicle in Leeds and were shocked to discover that the driver had modified the steering wheel in a very peculiar way.

    As you can see from the image above, the owner of the car had sawn off part of the wheel to give his Renault sporting credentials it probably didn’t deserve.

    It’s not known what happened to the driver or the car afterwards, as West Yorkshire Police said that they had merely “advised” the person in question. Be in no doubt though: this is a wheely dangerous thing to do…

    Image credit: @WYP_Specials

  56. Nissan employs a man with 40 phones

    According to consultants McKinsey and Company, 28 per cent of car buyers prioritise connectivity over features like fuel efficiency, and as many as 20 per cent would switch brands entirely to get a vehicle that was better equipped for syncing up to a mobile device.

    As such, Nissan employ Patrick Keenan – known as ‘the man with 40 phones’ – to ensure that their latest models are keeping pace with modern technology.

    “Today’s new cars have a lifecycle of five or six years before a new version is launched, but a mobile phone will only be on the market for less than two years before it’s replaced,” he explained. “Keeping cars and phones talking to each other is the crux of my job.

    “My job is to make sure anyone who walks into a Nissan showroom anywhere in Europe doesn’t walk out again because a car they want to buy won’t pair with their phone.”

  57. Alonso’s big crash was a biggie

    Do you recall Fernando Alonso’s horrifying shunt at the Australian Grand Prix? His McLaren clipped the rear of Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas and barrel-rolled off the circuit, with TV footage of the wreck giving fans an anxious wait to find out if the double world champ was ok.

    Luckily he was, and the data collected from the accident demonstrated just how fortunate Alonso was to escape without a serious injury.

    The FIA’s report into the incident confirmed that Alonso was travelling at nearly 190mph when he struck Gutierrez, sending the Spaniard into the wall with a peak lateral deceleration of 45G. In other words, he briefly experienced 45 times his own body weight. Yowch.

    Amazingly, he walked away with only a few cracked ribs missed just one grand prix before returning to action. Three cheers for safety tech that kept him in one piece.

  58. Zafiras kept catching fire

    Remember when a recalled Vauxhall Zafira caught fire? And a few weeks later when Vauxhall announced a further recall? Well, it wasn’t without good reason.

    43-year-old Damian Fisher was driving through South London earlier this year when he noticed smoke coming out of the dashboard. Three minutes later, the car had gone up in flames.

    Cruelly, he arrived home later that day to find a letter from Vauxhall on his doorstep informing him of the latest recall.

    Warning others of the dangers on Facebook, Mr Fisher said: “If you have a Vauxhall Zafira, don’t wait for the recall notice, contact your local dealer now so this doesn’t happen to you.”

    Image credit: Damian Fisher

  59. The DB10 and DB11 shared each other’s company in Russia

    That’s about all there is to this story, which saw the DB11 and James Bond’s wheels from Spectre, the DB10, parked up alongside each other on the edge of Moscow’s Red Square.

    But as well as displaying some overt spy adventure connotations, it also provided us with an opportunity to compare the styling of both cars. Naturally the production-spec DB11 looks a little fussier than the film-world-only DB10.

    We’ll leave the vote to you, though. Which Aston would you want to tear away from the Kremlin in?

  60. The Lego GT3 RS takes a long time to build

    We like Lego and we love cars, making the recently launched Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS something we’d all deeply love to procrastinate with.

    It’d create an awful lot of work avoidance though, it emerges. A speedy time-lapse video of the model’s build emerged online and it was, um, 25 minutes long. Yikes.

    But then this is a model with a working PDK gearbox, and proper suspension. It’s no mere toy…

  61. This NYPD car supported Orlando

    The world, this year especially, has shown that it can be a sad, scary place. Not least in Orlando .

    Hope always comes, though, in the response of the good people of our planet. People like the NYPD, showing support for the victims of the attack in Florida by applying a colourful lick of paint to their Ford Explorer patrol car ahead of New York’s pride event.

    Nice touch.

    Picture: @CommissBratton

  62. Mercedes wants to put a snow-melting sprinkler in your wheelarches

    US Patent office commissioner Charles H. Duell is alleged to have predicted, way back in 1899, that ‘everything that can be invented has been invented’. Certain newcomers have proved said statement a tad wrong since, with little inventions such as the aeroplane and the internet.

    “But”, we hear you cry, “when will someone invent a system that sprays treated rainwater onto my car’s tyres to melt ice and snow, maintaining traction during winter?”

    It’s the obvious string missing from Mercedes’s not-inconsiderable technology bow; a hole that appears to have been plugged.

    This patent image appears to show a system that coats your tyres in an antifreeze solution to prevent snow building up in the tread. Tell you what, Mercedes – stick this on your F1 cars first. That’ll bring the viewers back, Bernie.

  63. Mobile phones can moonlight as reverse cameras

    Attention terrible parkers. Yes, the six of you who don’t already own a car festooned with parking assists.

    This is a reversing camera called, imaginatively, the RearVision. It’s the work of tech startup Pearl, which was founded by a trio of ex-Apple engineers, and it takes the form of a kind of frame that fits over and around your number plate.

    For now only available in the US, Pearl promises fitting it is the work of but a moment. The solar-powered frame streams video from its two cameras to your smartphone when you shift into reverse.

    Cool, but at $500, it ought to be. Cheaper than a whole new rear end, though…

    Image credit: Pearl

  64. Roads might soon be made of poo

    In Britain, you’ll often find people complaining that their local roads are crap. Soon, that could literally be the case.

    That’s because students in North Carolina have come up with the idea of paving roads with swine manure, something which apparently cuts both costs and environmental impact.

    It won’t be the sole, um, ingredient in road building, but the waste product of pigs could provide the adhesive that keeps roads stuck together rather than a pile of their constituent materials.

    Far from being poo-pooed, it’s an idea that picked up an award at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Business Competition. The students dung good.

  65. Caterham discovered the art of the publicity stunt

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    We had a real struggle deciding whether or not this was humorous. And to be perfectly honest, we still haven’t made up our minds.

    What Caterham has done is riff off the frequently tiresome airline safety speech, the monotonous tour of seatbelt and life vest locations, and reinvented it for its own products.

    Some of it is arguably a bit hackneyed, but then it’s not a video to be taken seriously. Especially not when there’s a mint green Caterham 620R skidding about the place.

  66. The Pokémon Go craze swept the Nürburgring

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    Anyone who regularly visits the internet will have been unable to escape the rise of Pokémon Go this year, after developers Niantic began releasing the app across the globe with record numbers of people downloading the game.

    With millions on the hunt for virtual Pokémon placed in real world locations, people ventured into all manner of places in order to build their collection. And that includes racetracks.

    Take the above video for example, in which one user hitches a ride in the infamous Ring Taxi to catch Pokémon at the Nürburgring.

    In the M3, it’s a service which costs €269. We suggest this might be a tad steep for anyone looking to capture an elusive Bulbasaur…

  67. Ford celebrated its Le Mans win in an unusual way

    In June, Ford claimed an historic victory in the GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, exactly 50 years on from its first overall win there in 1966.

    But it seems the celebrations continued long into the weeks that followed. At the company’s HQ in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford lit up its offices to spell out the message ‘GT WINS AT LE MANS’ on the side of the building.

    Full marks for effort, although it’s been slightly scuppered by the tree line. 8/10.

  68. Some Aussies wanted to ban 'Drift Mode'

    The Focus RS’s deeply entertaining ‘Drift Mode’ angered a bunch of Australian road safety campaigners, who called on Ford to disable it because, in the words of the head of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, “a disclaimer is not going to stop an idiot from trying [to drift] on public roads”.

    If you don’t know what we’re talking about, then you need to visit TG.com more often. Drift Mode is a selectable drive mode in the new Focus RS – TG’s Car of The Year – that instructs its torque-vectoring AWD to let you pull massive drifts. 

    Like the Mustang’s Line-Lock feature, which lets you pull massive burnouts (and, incidentally, is disabled in Australia), it is hilarious. And for your sake Aussies, we hope you get to keep it. For track use only, obviously.

  69. This is a crash-proof human

    Say ‘hi’ to Graham. He’s the product of a collaborative effort by a team of doctors, artists, and engineers from the Transport Accident Commission in Australia. Their task was to produce a human that’s evolved to such an extent it can survive car crashes. Graham is that human. He also might be your next swipe on Tinder, so keep your fingers primed.

    See, car crashes are bad. And no matter how good crash safety gets, the difference between life and death is generally the strength of our puny, squishy bodies. And in comparison to Graham, we’re pathetic.

    You may notice that he looks, um, rather different to you or I. His head is larger than your average human, with a helmet-like skull complete with crumple zones to protect his brain.

    He has a concave, fatty face and has no nose to break. His expression is void. We’re not sure if that helps with crash safety, or is indicative of his character. Either way, Graham looks pretty chilled with life. And to be fair, we would be if we could crash a Caterham into a wall for fun.

    You may also notice he has no neck. That’s to prevent leverage and your head falling off in a hefty shunt. His rib cage extends further up than normal, and his chest is complemented with air sacks that act as fleshy Citroen-style air bumps. They’re also reasonably foul-looking.

    Leathery, thick skin shrouds his body. Even his new knees that move in all directions like a joystick. Meanwhile, his biggest party trick are his hooved legs that allow him to jump out of the way of oncoming traffic.

    Now, who wants to go for a pint with Graham? We sure as hell do.

  70. Parents shouldn’t put their kids in the boot

    Technically this isn’t something we learned this year: not locking children in the boot of your car has been standard practice ever since humans developed common sense.

    Apparently though, not everyone got the memo. Pennsylvania resident Jessica Reger was arrested by police after they discovered her children – just three and five years old – in the ‘trunk’ of a red Corvette driven by a friend in Hanover.

    While both the driver and the mother were charged with recklessly endangering another person, only the latter was remanded in custody, with a reported bail fee of $2,500.

  71. DIY convertibles are not an ok thing

    A few slides back we saw how someone in Leeds had got a ticking-off from the police after it was discovered that the driver in question had used a saw to give the stopped vehicle an F1-style steering wheel. It wasn’t the safest modification we’d ever seen.

    Nor is this. Coppers in Manchester Tweeted the above picture of a car they seized in Swinton, which had been converted into a convertible (geddit?) using what must have been a very blunt set of tools, judging by the roughness of their handiwork.

    No doubt making the car structurally unsafe, the driver’s case probably wasn’t helped by the “Going as fast as I can!” sticker on the rear of the vehicle either…

    Image credit: @GMPRoytonShaw

  72. Police advised drivers not to stop for unmarked cars

    If an unmarked police car tells you to pull over, you comply immediately right? Um, not according to Essex Police.

    The force had to advise motorists in the area to call 999 before stopping to verify that any unmarked vehicles attempting to flag people down really were conducting police business.

    It comes after fake officers stole two vans from unsuspecting drivers using police uniforms and blue flashing lights to convince the victims that they were genuine cops.

    “Anyone who is signalled at to stop by someone in a car which may appear to be an unmarked police is asked not to stop but to call 999 immediately to verify whether the vehicle and its occupants are genuine,” said Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Smith.

  73. Police intercepted a car carrying 800kg of rice

    Thought that was it for police-based motoring stories? Not a bit of it. A man driving what looked to be a Toyota Corolla Verso was stopped by police in Luton after they noticed that the suspension was carrying a particularly heavy load.

    They were surprised to discover that the driver had stacked the vehicle with 800kg of basmati rice, having capitalised on a bargain deal at a nearby cash and carry.

    Oddly, the man in question ignored his first warning and eventually had to be stopped a second time, where he was fined £300 for driving a car that police said was “dangerously overweight”.

    Talk about going against the grain…

    Image credit: @roadpoliceBCH

  74. Someone built a bulletproof speed camera

    We can’t think why anyone would possibly want to aim a gun at a speed camera, but German company Vitronic decided it was a problem that needed solving.

    Their solution is the formidably named ‘Enforcement Trailer’, a 1,250kg manoeuvrable unit made from bulletproof panels, wires and not a lot else.

    According to their demonstration video, the trailer can be transported and positioned by one person alone, and the battery lasts long enough for it to catch motorists speeding for five days straight.

    The French government were so impressed by the invention, they ordered 250.

    Image credit: Vitronic

  75. UK police wrongly impounded a Huracan... then sped in it

    We’ve all seen those traffic cop shows: police pull over a driver with no licence, confiscate the offending vehicle, and then congratulate themselves on a job well done.

    However, that’s not always how it unfolds. Back in June, it was reported that a Lamborghini belonging to hire company City Supercars was contentiously seized by Met Police, who refused to recognise evidence that the car had recently had its insurance renewed.

    When the Huracan was eventually released, data from its tracker revealed that it had hit 63mph in a 30mph zone whilst in the care of the bobbies who impounded it.

    Eventually it was announced that the officer behind the wheel had received three points on his licence, whilst a colleague was subjected to a “management action”.

  76. The US Air Force flew a donated firetruck to volunteers in Nicaragua

    Every so often it’s nice to be reminded that the world isn’t such a bad place: this story does exactly that.

    New Jersey Air National Guardsman Master Sgt Jorge A Narvaez travelled to Nicaragua to meet a group of volunteers who were in desperate need of firefighting equipment at their base in the capital, Managua, in 2014. A donation of coats, boots and hoses followed, but what they really needed was a firetruck.

    “I offered to help and get them assistance in the United States,” said Narvaez. “I explained to them that I couldn’t make any promises, but that I would try to do my best.”

    Following a conversation with Ray Wadsworth, a fire chief in Princeton, New Jersey, it just so happened that a firetruck was being decommissioned and could be made available for donation.

    The local department sold it to Wadsworth for a single dollar, and Narvaez made use of a government scheme to secure transport for the truck’s 3,700km journey to Central America. Top work.

    Image credit: US Air Force & Master Sgt Mark Olsen

  77. Thieves stole wheels from 48 Chevys in Texas

    Having the wheels stolen from your car would probably appear in yours and most drivers’ ‘Top 10 Worst Scenarios’ list. Spare a thought then for the general manager of the Peltier Chevrolet dealership in Tyler, Texas, who faced a $200,000 bill after losing wheels and tyres from 48 vehicles to thieves.

    CCTV footage revealed that the suspects arrived in the middle of the night some months ago, breaking in by cutting the locks and then knocking out the usually-lit floodlights at the dealership.

    They then reportedly spent around four hours gathering their haul, leaving behind a yard strewn with abandoned lug nuts.

    “We’ll go through and do a full safety inspection, get wheels and tyres replaced and we’ve contacted our insurance company,” said GM David Bates, adding: “It’s rough but we’ll get through it.”

    Image credit: Detective Gary King, East Texas Auto Theft Task Force

  78. This man owns 6,000 Transit vans

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    Ok, so a lot of those are actually models, but it’s an impressive feat all the same.

    Peter Lee’s passion (not an obsession, he insists) for the Ford Transit began over 40 years ago when he bought his first van, which he drove all the way to Spain before living in the back of it with his wife for 11 months.

    He purchased two toy Transits during the trip and simply carried on collecting when they eventually returned home. Today his collection consists of 23,000 separate pieces of memorabilia, including cookie jars, Frisbees and stress balls.

    Lee also owns nine classic Transits, one of which contains a custom-built mini bar compete with functioning liquor tap. For post-drive purposes, naturally.

  79. A radio DJ rolled a G Wagen at 15mph

    The Mercedes G Wagen has conquered deserts, tundra and all manner of other wildernesses, but a flaw has finally been uncovered: a gentle slope in Stoke Newington.

    Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw had to miss an edition of his morning breakfast show after reportedly swerving to avoid a cat on his way to work in the £80,000 4x4.

    “I turned out of my house, my car flipped over and went over on its side,” he explained the next day. “People were like, ‘You can’t have been doing 15 miles per hour.’ I was. That’s how embarrassing this was.”

    Can a G Wagen really be rolled at that speed? Yikes.

  80. You can take your final ride in a Ghibli hearse

    We’ll all have to think about our very last journey at some point in our lives, so why not plan to go out in style?

    It’s the kind of thinking that gave birth to Italian company Ellena Autotrasformazioni, who have been in the business of constructing funeral hearses for the last 20 years.

    Their latest creation is this G3.0, which takes its inspiration – and presumably many, many components – from the Maserati Ghibli.

    If the G3.0 is anything like the Ghibli post-conversion then the ride quality won’t be up to much, but we reckon you’ll be past caring by the time you, um, require its services.

    It still looks pretty stylish though. To die for, in fact.

    Image credit: Ellena srl autotrasformazioni

  81. Someone designed a DB11 Shooting Brake

    Now this is how you modify an existing car. X-Tomi Design brilliantly reimagined the DB11 as a Shooting Brake, and the outcome is pretty exquisite.

    Aston Martin’s newest model was hardly short on looks before, but there’s something about the extended bodywork that, together with the front end, just sort of… fits.

    Sadly, the British carmaker won’t be able to wedge a Shooting Brake into its intensive programme, even if it wanted to: over the next few years they’ll be busy redeveloping their entire lineup, and the AM-RB 001 won’t exactly be a part-time project either.

    You’ll just have to make do with the GTC4Lusso, for now.

    Image credit: X-Tomi Design

  82. Aussie drivers invented the ‘shoey’

    Podium celebrations in Formula One have been stale for some time now. Three drivers, some trophies, a national anthem, then some champagne. Yawn.

    Luckily, F1 has Daniel Ricciardo to liven things up a bit. The 27-year-old celebrated his second place at the Belgian Grand Prix by performing a ‘shoey’, which involves drinking champagne from a well-used (and presumably very sweaty) race boot. Eew.

    Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber was on hand to conduct the post-race interviews with the top three drivers, so naturally he was pressured into taking part as well. Apparently he said afterwards that the experience was “not very nice”.

    The shoey supposedly has its roots in V8 Ute racing where Ryan Harris pioneered the move, quickly followed by David Reynolds in Supercars and Jack Miller at the Assen TT. Strewth!

  83. Will.i.am modified a Tesla, and it wasn’t subtle

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    Do you have taste? If so, look away now.

    The monstrosity in the video above allegedly belongs to musician and producer Will.i.am, who left the modified Tesla Model S parked on a street in Beverley Hills.

    Presumably the work of Mr .am’s customisation brand IAmAuto, the revamp does away with the swooping lines of the Model S and replaces them with air intakes. Lots and lots of air intakes.

    Each to their own…

  84. Ford GT prototypes were caught speeding

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    As shown in the video above, Ford took its new GT into the hills of Colorado ahead of the supercar’s now imminent delivery to specially selected customers around the world. However, it sounds as though the run wasn’t all plain sailing.

    Allegedly the group was caught speeding at over 100mph by local officers, more than twice the signed limit of 50mph on the road in Glenwood Canyon.

    The cars were packed with data-collecting kit, and had been in the area to test the GTs performance at altitude according to reports.

    Each car received a ticket from the officers who performed the stop, although it’s not known how much the fine was. Given that the GT is set to cost in the region of £400,000, we suspect Ford can afford it.

  85. Fuel stations are a thing of the past for Bentley owners

    Most car manufacturers are going for improving MPG as a way of making it so their customers have to stop less frequently for fuel. Not Bentley, which as part of a partnership with tech’ start-up ‘Filld’ (without the ‘e’ for literally no reason), is set to offer fuel deliveries for its Californian customers.

    All owners will need to do is open an app and select a time. A full tank is then delivered to your Bentley, wherever it may be. You don’t even need to be with the car. Screw EVs, this is the future. 

  86. You can get a Fiat 124 with a V8 in it

    Flyin’ Miata will, on request, fit a Mazda MX-5 with a 525bhp Chevy LS3 V8 engine. This much we have known for some time. However, so similar is the Fiat 124 to the car on which its based, they’ll also be offering the same kind of treatment for the little Italian. Very Good News, we’re sure you’ll agree. We’d be tempted to go for the MX-5 on looks alone, but we know a load of you prefer the 124’s more butch, more American face…

  87. This man loves his E30 M3

    A car ending up in someone’s living room is usually the result of tragic understeer and a greasy, off-camber right-hander. Not so this time. This chap is called Randy Jalil. To protect his rather lovely E30 M3 from the wrath of Hurricane Matthew recently, he squeezed it through his patio doors and into his living room, thus keeping it safe and dry. The M3 survived the hurricane in perfect order, but we wonder whether it would have been any worse off in the garage…

    Image: @Jalilsup on Instagram

  88. Very quietly, Audi killed off the electric R8 e-tron

    When Audi launched the second-gen R8 at the 2015 Geneva motor show, it displayed not just the V10 and V10 plus coupes, but also a new R8 e-tron. The AWD electric supercar, we were informed, developed 45bhp and 67lb ft, allowing it to reach 62mph in 3.9 seconds and cover 280 miles per charge.

    Price? A mystery. Annual build totals? Schtum. And now, rumour has it that Audi has ceased production of the special order-only R8 e-tron. Was it a victim of the fact the new V10 version is just too damn great, or the fact you can buy a family SUV that’s quicker off the mark? A bit of both, most likely. 

  89. Lewis Hamilton featured in a computer game

    As if occasionally warring with the press and (now ex) teammate Nico weren’t enough, Lewis took things to another level when it was announced that he would appear in the latest instalment of the Call of Duty series. Um, right.

    He plays an engineer in ‘Infinite Warfare’, this season’s F1 runner-up said: “The experience of being put into the game - from the facial scanning process to working with the team on the performance capture stage and just being able to meet the developers at the studio to get a glimpse at all the hard work that goes into the game - this has been an incredible experience.”

  90. Someone bought a DB5 with their phone

    Smartphones can deal with just about any aspect of your existence. Sorting out your social life, control the central heating on the move, buying an £825,000 classic…

    Yep. The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 you see here was purchased from auctioneer Coys was the best part of a million quid, and all via an app called Vero, which uses Apple Pay to transfer the funds. It was bought via an anonymous bidder using a ‘Buy Now’ function.

    If you do download the app, TG advises that you take special measures to ensure that any young children in your household don’t find themselves in a position to spend all of your money...

  91. Car washes are freaking out modern cars

    Each new car we drive at TG seems to have a newly sophisticated layer of crash avoidance beeps and bongs to either warn its driver into an avoiding an accident, or bypassing the fleshy human altogether and stamping on the brakes itself.

    Great for not crashing into things on the road, then, but not so hot when it comes to not crashing in a car wash, apparently.

    American magazine Forbes has found that cars, concerned by the massive rotating brush that’s heading right for their windscreen, are actually crashing to try and avoid it, while the advent of the electric handbrake is scuppering the use of more complex, conveyor-based systems.

    Our advice? Get outside and clean the blooming thing yourself.

  92. The new Volvo S90 comes with a shoe compartment

    The new Volvo S90 Excellence is a more premium version of the Swedish saloon aimed at the, um, well-heeled. Which probably explains why the front passenger has to make way for a shoe cupboard, of all things.

    It’s not the, err, sole purpose of the switch, with the ‘Lounge Console’ also serving as a foot-rest or the basis of a work station or entertainment screen set-up. There’s also a fridge, which is accompanied by crystal glasses made by Swedish glassmaker Orrefors.

    The Excellence will be built in China, rather than Sweden, giving some hint at its target market. And if you really want, that ‘Lounge Console’ can be swapped back for a regular chair. You can always put your footwear in, y’know, the boot

  93. This is what a blue-on-blue-on-blue Bugatti looks like

    The Bugatti Chiron is a car we’ve yet to drive, but it’s already one that’s had many column inches and online galleries dedicated to it.

    That was only boosted when Bugatti’s world tour landed in Japan, and this rather bold Chiron was put on display at a dealer. It’s a Chiron with all of the blue selected on the options list. Seats, wheels, paint: the lot. We reckon the windows would be blue if such a thing were deemed legal.

    Should’ve called it the Blue-gatti Chiron...

  94. The latest Lexus is actually a spaceship

    Finally, a vehicle upon which Lexus’s quirky design language naturally fits. We jest, obviously, but there’s no denying this is a more cohesive piece of design than the aesthetically odd CT200h hatchback.

    It’s the Skyjet, and it’s been designed with the help of Lexus for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a sci-fi film with Rihanna in it. Obviously.

    Lexophiles will note the Skyjet’s lights and grille are shared with the new Lexus LC coupe.

  95. The Japanese can mend anything

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    Judging by the time it takes the average British council to get around to mending an alloy-bending pothole, were a 98ft wide, 30ft deep sinkhole to open up on Park Lane, it would take several years to fix. We wish that was an exaggeration.

    When such a sinkhole opened up right in the middle of Fukuoka, the Japanese had it mended in four days. And that’s not just filled in, but with all the telephone lines, electricity, sewage, gas and water connected back up again. Efficient. 

  96. Teslas are getting even faster

    Good news! The Internet’s favourite car is getting even faster thanks to an over-the-air software update.

    In early November Elon Musk tweeted the news that the Models S and X would get faster, and he later confirmed that the already outrageously rapid P100D versions of the Models S and X will get a tenth of a second trimmed from their 0-60mph times.

    That takes the Model S down to 2.4 seconds, and the X down to 2.8 seconds. Cue a whole new wave of drag race videos.

  97. Toyota’s WEC team is going to miss Audi’s

    There’s a lot of camaraderie in motorsport, as evidenced by Toyota’s rather touching tribute to WEC rival Audi, which not long ago announced it was leaving the sport for Formula E. As many on Twitter have pointed out: more emotional than the John Lewis Christmas ad, this. 

    Image credit: Toyota WEC Team on Twitter

  98. Bologna Airport’s got a Lamborghini Huracan

    Looks like someone at Bologna Airport – a stone’s throw away from the Lambo, Ferrari and Pagani factories – has been reading TopGear.com.

    A few years ago we joined Heathrow’s airside operations team for a day. They told us to bring a suitable car, so naturally we phoned Lamborghini and borrowed a bright yellow Aventador.

    Bologna, it appears, has done much the same. Lambo has loaned a Huracan to act as a ‘Follow Me’ car until January, bedecked in a livery designed by its Centro Stile. All airports should have them.  

    Image via Twitter

  99. Speed bumps are poisoning the air

    Speed bumps do a decent job of slowing cars in cities down. Thing is, canny, rushed drivers speed up between the bumps to make up time. Obviously. This constant concertina of harsh acceleration and braking is causing havoc with air quality, a recent report announced. In fact, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the UK says smoother driving – and fewer speed bumps – would help bring down the 25,000 deaths every year linked to dreadful urban air quality. Think about that next time you’re trying to ‘make time’ in a dash across town…

  100. Brazil is getting a giant bendy, bendy bus

    A few years ago, London banished the bendy bus. The lengthy red conjoined buses were deemed too big for our narrow streets and binned in favour of the new Routemaster. But that doesn’t mean these slinkys-on-wheels can’t work elsewhere in the world. Places like Brazil, for instance.

    They’re getting even bendier bendy buses over there, by adopting a three-bus-in-one bendy, bendy bus – the largest bus in the world in fact.

    It’s made by Volvo and called the Gran Artic 300, a biarticulated chassis – your traditional bendy bus but with two bending elements rather than one – that can carry 300 passengers. Which, during a hot, sweaty rush hour must be, er, sweaty.

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