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99 things we learned in 2014

  1. A blind man did 200mph in a 1,000bhp Nissan GT-R

    In August, Mike Newman smashed his own world record for the fastest speed driven visually impaired.

    With the help of a guide - his Dad - in a chase car behind, Mike, a former banker who was born with glaucoma, managed to average 200.9mph over two runs at Elvington airfield, near York.

    Mike, Top Gear salutes you.

  2. A man has taken 26 years to drive 900,000km in a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen

    In 1988, Gunther Holtorf bought a Mercedes-Benz G Wagen. In the following 26 years, he and his wife travelled the equivalent of 22 times around the earth. 897,000km, to be precise. Why? Because G, that’s why.

    “In 1988 when I bought the car, I was a bit sceptical about the promise made by Mercedes-Benz [‘where there’s a G, there’s a way’],” he recalls.

    Together with his G - affectionately named ‘Otto’ - and his wife, who has now sadly passed away, Gunther travelled through 215 countries, including North Korea, China, Mount Everest’s base camp, the Australian outback, Siberia and the Dead Sea.

    Some more stats: he crossed 410 borders outside Europe, braced temperatures as low as -27 degrees celcius and +50 degrees celcius, and spent an equivalent of 3.5 years in the driving seat.

    “The entire drivetrain is still original,” Gunther recalls. “Neither the frame nor the body have shown any signs of fatigue.”

    To Gunther and his G, then, may we present a hearty TG salute.

  3. A BAC Mono can almost keep up with a McLaren P1

    “Full throttle in a P1 is like Christmas. It’s something that you can only use once a year. And even then only briefly, because it actually hurts. When this car accelerates, it beats you up. It hurts your face.”

    The wide-eyed words of Jeremy Clarkson, the first time he stepped out of McLaren’s mighty hypercar, the P1.

    But there is something that can help you keep up with a P1 on track. Weight. Or rather, lack of it. As this excellent video demonstrates, with Oliver Webb in a plucky BAC Mono doing a damn good job of stopping British GT racing driver Paul Bailey in a P1 disappearing into the distance at Silverstone.

  4. Lewis Hamilton and Ken Block had a race together. And it was superb

    In May, the Top Gear Festival Barbados took place, and as part of the event, we corralled a little-known Formula One driver named Lewis Hamilton and a man who HATES TYRES. His name is Ken Block.

    Building them a bespoke circuit, each was strapped into their respective company cars - Hamilton’s 2013 F1 machine, Block’s GRC Fiesta - and then set free.

    The resulting video - watch it here - is just… brilliant. F1 vs GRC should be a Thing. Somebody make it a Proper Thing.

  5. 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. 

  6. These are the components you need to make 707bhp of awesome

    In an era of small capacity, turbocharged engines, SRT’s pyrotechnic 6.2-litre, 707bhp supercharged V8 ‘Hellcat’ Hemi is worthy of applause.

    Slotted in the heart of the Dodge Challenger, it spells the most powerful production muscle car in the world. When the same engine is transplanted into the Dodge Charger, it makes the world’s fastest four-door saloon. We love it.

    But if said V8 was to explode, it’d probably look like the image above. But as long as it’d done less than 100,000 miles, or was under five years old, it wouldn’t matter: the engine would still be covered under warranty.

    God bless America.

  7. Corinthians players paid the world's best Ayrton Senna tribute

    Thursday 1 May marked 20 years since the tragic death of Ayrton Senna at the San Marino GP. Sportsmen and women worldwide joined in commemoration of the great man, with Brazilian football club Corinthians’ tribute standing out as the very best.

    The entire team walked onto the pitch, lined up and donned replica versions of Senna’s trademark yellow-and-green racing helmet. Senna was a fan of Sao Paulo-based Corinthians, and the team appeared to summon his win-at-all-costs spirit in the ensuing match, thrashing Nacional 3-0 in the Copa do Brasil.

    Well done, chaps.

  8. Dogs love Porsche Caymans too

    Meet this completely adorable floppy-eared Fred Basset look-alike exhibiting extreme joy in a Porsche Cayman. Which, to be fair, is our general reaction to driving arguably Porsche’s best car on sale right now. Well, except for the 918 perhaps.

  9. And dogs are now getting caravans. Oh no!

    One thing that instantly boils the blood of any Top Gear staffer is any mention of the word ‘caravan’.

    So when news came in this year that the dog fraternity is to get its own tailor-made caravans, work quickly stopped. Some shouting ensued.

    Costing a whopping £450 each, these handmade vintage trailers are custom built to the size, style, colour and needs of your dog. Not that your dog can tell you its preferred size, style, or colour, primarily because IT’S A DOG AND CAN’T TALK.

  10. Mark Higgins's gentleman-fruits are made of carbotanium

    When Mark Higgins pulled off arguably the greatest save in four-wheeled history at the Isle Of Man in 2011, we suspected the Subaru rallyist might be packing some weapons-grade danglies.

    And now it’s been confirmed: Higgins has plums of carbotanium. Watch the onboard footage of his record-breaking lap of the Isle of Man this year - in which he recorded an average speed of 117.5mph in a standard US-spec WRX STI - and then DARE to disagree.

  11. A stolen Jaguar was recovered... 46 years after it was nicked

    Finding your purloined classic before it’s burned to the ground or hustled out of the country must be fantastic. Imagine the euphoria after a build up of 46 years…

    Ivan Schneider, an 82-year-old from Florida, experienced just that in September. His Jag XK-E (E-Type in British) was recovered from a Netherlands-bound shipping container nearly five decades after being nabbed from outside his Manhattan apartment.

    After missing it dearly all that time he promised it a thorough restoration as a welcome home gift. Here’s to the prodigal Jag…

  12. The old 'Vettes are coming home

    Yet more heartwarming news from Michigan, where Detroit pensioner George Talley was reunited with his stolen 1979 Chevrolet Corvette after 33 years.

    The Vette was pinched from Jefferson Avenue in Detroit in 1981, and, despite Talley’s best efforts to find it, disappeared off the grid for the next three decades.

    Until July, when Talley got a call from the American Automobile Association to let him know his car has resurfaced 950 miles away, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

    “It was a lucky day,” beamed Talley. “They told me it was running, had 47,000 miles on it, and was ready for me to pick up.”

    Better still, GM bosses got wind of Talley’s good news, and offered to ship the car home for him. Our hearts are full.

  13. The latest cause of crashes is... armpit hair

    Or more specifically, having your armpit hair SET ON FIRE causes crashes. Such childish pranks are the hallmark of any teenage party sorely lacking in blue WKD and Twiglets, but back in September one mischief-making passenger in Idaho, USA decided to inflict such hilarity upon the 18-year-old driving him and two other teens in the early hours of the morning.

    Nobody on board the inevitably crashed Ford Bronco had their seatbelt on, but luckily no life-threatening injuries happened. The armpit hair attacker was ticketed with ‘interfering with the driver’s safe operation of a vehicle’.

  14. One in five British motorists CANNOT OPEN THEIR OWN CAR BONNETS

    Worrying news from Kumho tyres, who conducted a survey on car ownership in Blighty. Turns out that half of motorists stranded on the hard shoulder with a flat tyre wouldn’t know how to replace it.

    There’s more. One in three motorists aged between 18-25 said they’d never checked if their tyres were inflated, while one in four have no idea how to tell if the tread depth is within legal limits.

    But, worst of all, 20 per cent of British drivers don’t even know how to open the bonnet. Britain, here’s the simple TG guide:

    Step One: Take hammer

    Step Two: Apply to bonnet repeatedly

    Step Three: If bonnet does not open, repeat Steps One and Two

    You’re welcome.

  15. We're all a massive bunch of liars, too

    Another survey, carried out by HPI, showed that a quarter of used car owners (28 per cent) lie about the condition of their car when they come to sell it.

    The worst offenders? Those pesky kids… One in three 18-25 year olds (33 per cent) admitted to blatant fibbery to secure a quick sale - 11 per cent would physically hide minor problems, and 9 per cent were actually prepared to turn back the odometer to get a better price.

    So, basically, never EVER buy an old car. Especially not from a young person.

  16. A man was not killed on Google Street View

    A pair of pranksters who decided to have some fun with an approaching Google Street View car were outed in June.

    See, when the camera car rolled through their local town, mechanics Gary Kerr and Dan Thompson decided to enact an axe-killing for the car to capture on film and upload to Google’s Big Brother.

    But police were later called after an alarmed member of the public saw the scene on Google Street View. “It was in the spur of the moment,” Thompson told The Independent. “It seemed like the obvious thing to do so I threw myself on the ground and Gary grabbed a pick-axe handle from the garage.

    “We only had about 20 seconds. It was all we could think of,” he added. The police saw the funny side. So does TG.

  17. A F1 car will overtake everything on trackdays

    Even one that wasn’t very good. This probably isn’t revelatory news, we’ll admit. But the sheer dominance of the 2001 Arrows A22 in this video that surfaced in November is still a beguiling watch.

    The Mini and BMW it passes are easy meat. But if you’ve even been in the company of a Radical on a trackday, seeing just how foolish it’s made to look down the Zolder pit straight is quite jaw-dropping.

    How safe such an exercise is can be argued elsewhere; the driver’s levels of skill and awareness are wholly appropriate for the car he’s in, potentially frightening closing speeds minimised by some sensibly early braking when a car is negotiating a corner ahead. Thumbs up from us.

  18. Audi's ferret-proofing its cars

    Speak to many German drivers and one of their biggest worries isn’t being aggressively collected by the front of a 155mph repmobile as they merge onto motorways. It’s stone martens.

    “What?!”, we hear you say. The stone marten is a ferret-like creature that has a rather inconvenient habit of burrowing into car engine bays when it’s a bit parky outside. Inevitably, a few vital components normally end up a bit chewed in the process.

    Audi wants to put a stop to it, so it’s rigged some cameras to an A3 and watched the martens at work to try and solve the problem. Click to watch the video, though your German will need to be sharp if you’ve got your speakers turned up.

  19. There was a Clarkson crop circle in Yorkshire...

    Everybody’s favourite plain-speaking, flat-cap-wearing, whippet-walking corner of Britain got a new tourist attraction in July: a maze featuring a massive 50-metre head of Jeremy Clarkson.

    York maze - the largest in Europe apparently - paid tribute to three “Yorkshire” legends by cutting their likenesses into a large field: cricketing miserablist Geoffrey Boycott, shouty mountaineer Brian Blessed, and our very own Jezza, who was, of course, born and raised in Doncaster. 

  20. ...while TG was woven into a blanket

    More weird TG-inspired art comes from British artist Grayson Perry. He made news after creating a massive ‘comfort blanket’ to illustrate the social fabric of the UK.

    And we’re happy to report that Top Gear is featured on the blanket as an important part of British culture. Albeit placed next to the white van and Morris dancing. We’re claiming a victory anyway.

  21. Toyota set the most boring Nürburgring record ever

    July saw Toyota announce that a plug-in Prius managed to record 698mpg while lapping the Nurburgring. Click here to watch the lap in all its breathtaking, sticking to the 60km/h minimum, seat-of-the-pants glory.

  22. Driving the tamest Ferrari is still beyond some people

    “It’s got amazing traction: I had a job shifting the back end outward for photos, even when going repeatedly round a hairpin. In the rest of a day’s driving, it simply never felt likely to happen. And anyway, the traction control in Sport mode is adaptive and fabulously effective.”

    Some words from Paul Horrell’s review of the new Ferrari California. Words, unfortunately, that the driver in this video clearly felt honour-bound to disprove in a wonderfully inept piece of driving.

  23. You need to support this Lego Caterham

    Lego versions of real cars are ten-a-penny on the internet, but there aren’t too many official sets of specific models, and certainly none that aren’t obviously mainstream.

    Hence why we’re rallying the troops (that’s you) to help make this Lego Caterham Seven an actual thing. Lego’s own website has an ‘Ideas’ section for fans to submit their own concoctions, and this is the rather fine and commendably detailed work of user ‘bricktrix_1908’.

    If a project receives the support of 10,000 people, Lego will look at putting it into production. You’ll need to spare a minute or two to set up an account, but think of the joy you could bring yourself by voting: it’s the kit of a kit car! And it should be a fair sight more manageable than building the real thing…

  24. It's the Lego Hachi-Roku

    And while we’re on Lego… You can thank the fantastically named Just Brick League for this brickwork version of the famous JDM drift machine, Toyota’s AE86 (more affectionately known as Hachi-Roku). And doesn’t it look mega?

    The Just Brick League is a design studio that trains and connects together Lego geniuses to create awesome pieces and sets of anything and everything. They can recreate famous racetracks, cars and buildings out of Lego for you. It all comes at a ‘custom’ price, but it is extremely cool.

    If you think you can do better, let us know in the comments below. Could the similarly skiddy GT86 be replicated in bricks?

  25. Nigel Mansell now sells Mitsubishis

    On of the year’s most “Say whaaat?” story came courtesy of Car Dealer magazine, which interviewed F1’s most famous ‘tache. Big Nige, it appears, now runs Mansell Mitsubishi on the island of Jersey.

    If the story wasn’t bonkers enough already, Mansell used the interview to reveal he’s sold an Outlander plug-in hybrid to Ronald McDonald, and that the museum sitting above his dealership contains a dagger made from dinosaur bone. For once, we’re speechless.

  26. Porsche built a one-off 911 concept car with an Audi V8 engine

    You read that right - a Porsche 911 with a V8. Porsche released a little video in May detailing an oddity in its museum stash; a prototype ‘965’ that was built in the 1980s.

    It was a trial to see if a 911 could handle a bigger engine, and so Porsche borrowed a water-cooled V8 from Audi, clad it in 959 bodywork and tested it on the public road.

    However, museum archive chief Dieter Landenberger notes the 965 would never have become more than a concept, because the flat-six engine “is at the heart of a 911”.

  27. Driverless cars really are becoming a thing

    There’s the slightly gormless looking Google car, Merc’s mildly disconcerting Future Truck and Audi’s RS7 ‘Piloted Driving’ prototype, which took us for a spin (thankfully only metaphorically) earlier this year.

    The tech is developing at a really fast pace. There are some clear advantages to it, but our inner driving enthusiasts are upset. And we still can’t help but get the heebie-jeebies at the thought of an M25 chock-full of self-driving vehicles…

  28. This isn't how valet parkers should drive

    We’re far from technophobes here at TG - quite the opposite - but it’s always nice to see some vindication for the dizzying amount of new tech being shoehorned into cars.

    And vindication comes in no starker form than the footage at this link, an unwitting American’s Corvette Stingray showing the benefits of fitting a performance data recorder to your muscle car. Because when you hand your pride and joy over to a valet parker, you never know quite how fast they’ll steam through multistorey car parks in it…

  29. Ferrari has had a tumultuous year

    To name just a few examples of staff turnover, it has lost one of the F1 paddock’s best drivers (Fernando Alonso), its F1 team has had three chiefs - Marco Mattiacci recently replacing by Maurizio Arrivabene after just eight months - while headlining it all, big boss Luca di Montezemolo (pictured) left the company after decades in charge, replaced by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.

    What this means for the company’s future direction - not least LDM’s previous insistence that its cars are kept ultra desirable by sales caps - will be fascinating to watch, if nothing else. That 2014 also saw two of Ferrari’s greatest ever cars - the 458 Speciale and LaFerrari - only turns the heat up on Marchionne to perform…

  30. Ferrari named a car a sweary thing

    More light-hearted news came from Maranello in the form of the LaFerrari FXXK. Officially the latest generation of the FXX track-only supercar, with an added K for kinetic energy (it’s an energy-recuperating hybrid, see), we’re grown up enough to know its resemblance to a rude word for a rude thing is no accident. And in such a serious world, we wholeheartedly approve of such japery.

  31. Foolish race invader got an eight stretch

    Jack Cottle is an oafish man, one who thought sneaking his girlfriend’s VW Polo onto a bustling Brands Hatch would be a load of harmless hashtag bantz. What he actually did was gatecrash a live motor race, endangering drivers and marshals, among others.

    Well, many from the motorsport scene will be relieved to know he’s been punished, being sentenced to an eight-month jail sentence in November. Quite a stretch, that, but this curious case is the first of its kind and a precedent is being set.

    “The sentence must reflect the need to deter others who might be tempted to act as you did,” said Judge Martin Joy. Given the internet infamy Cottle has ‘enjoyed’ since, we say it’s a sensible stance to take.

  32. If you're going to impersonate a police officer, don't try to arrest a police officer

    Also in trouble with the law was Matthew Michael Lee McMahon. The 20-year old from Ohio, it seemed, enjoyed pretending to be a police officer, strapping a set of red-and-blue lights to his Ford Crown Victoria (like the one in the pic above) and then flagging down motorists. What larks.

    Only back in June McMahon flagged down… a real police officer. One Detective Justin Anderson. McMahon was arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer, but this raises an important question: how do we know Detective Anderson is a genuine police officer? What if they’re all frauds, furiously arresting each other?

  33. The hoverboard is here!

    That’s right, Internet, it is finally real. Find yourself a Delorean, stick on some fluorescent sneakers and act out your favourite scenes from ‘Back to the Future’, for the hoverboard is a real thing.

    It works using incredibly sophisticated magnets that none of us in the TG office could possibly explain, but all you need to know is that you need a metal floor to use it. We aren’t quite sure where you can find that. Maybe just take it to the dodgems.

    The Hendo Hover Board isn’t on sale just yet. The company is still raising money on Kickstarter, but if this is the invention you’ve been holding out for, you can support Hendo with a full range of pledges to help speed things up.

  34. The 2014 Baja 500 looked absolutely fantastic

    If you watch the loud, shouty trailer video for Mexico’s bonkers Baja 500 race, you will be amazed by the resilience of the Baja buggies and no doubt tempted to join in what looks like a lot of fun. But as our very own Ollie Marriage will confirm, the Baja is no joke. Still, watch this video

  35. Stealing cars isn't as easy as in the movies

    We’d hate to break it to you, but life isn’t like the movies. A Seattle man discovered this fact as he tried to half-inch a brand new Chevy Camaro Z/28 by driving it through the window of a dealership. Yep, just like Kip Raines in Gone In Sixty Seconds.

    However, this thief wasn’t as diligent with his planning as Nicholas Cage and his crew.

    After leaving a Camaro-shaped hole in the Lake City dealer’s window, the crook didn’t point his pilfered 505bhp track-spec muscle car to Long Beach docks and pray he could get there without jumping a bridge.

    Instead, he just parked it up outside his house. Half a mile away from the scene of the crime. Busted.

  36. An Australian man drove his plane to the pub

    And that’s before he’d had any beer, the ‘driver’ passing a breathalyser test at the scene. The 37-year-old travelled to his drinking establishment in Newman, Western Australia without wings or any form of steering, the propeller taking him in a straight line from one end of town to the other.

    Police described the man in question as a “local character” before refusing to see the funny side, declaring it a “serious incident’ that endangered local kids that had just emerged from school. So there is, if you needed it, some clarification: planes are for the sky, not the road.

  37. There's a surprising amount of want for a tuned Jaguar F-Type

    In August we posted a story on a German tuning company - Arden - having the sheer affront to modify one of the most beautiful British cars in recent memory: the Jaguar F-Type Coupe.

    We battened down the hatches for a torrent of comments along the lines of “MY EYES!!11!”, but actually, you lot seemed to like it. That, and the wonderfully pointless upgrades to the lunatic V8 that would give it more power than a Ferrari 458 and thus spit you into the nearest hedge almost immediately.

    Good job Arden.

  38. Porsche is rubbish at Photoshop

    Look at this picture of the 919 hybrid racer out testing at Monza back in February. Now look a bit closer. Right a bit. Yep - that floating mechanic has NO LEGS. Amazing. Porsche can build a V4 hybrid Le Mans weapon, but it still can’t get the hang of digital picture editing software.

  39. The driver of this 55 Chevy drag racer is a very, very lucky man

    Drag racing: it’s just driving in a straight line, right? Well, it is if things go right. When things go wrong - especially in classic drag racing, in classic cars with a classic lack of rollover protection - drag racing tends to get rather… wonkier.

    Just ask the driver of this souped-up 1955 Chevrolet. Lined up against a second-gen Camaro on the quarter-mile straight, all looked to be going smoothly until the Chevy decided it wanted a better look at its peripheral surroundings. From every angle.

    Scroll forward to the minute mark, and prepare to wince as the retro rod enters a nasty fishtail before launching broadside across the track, a grizzly crash that ends with the Chevy’s driver sticking feet-first through the space where the windscreen once lurked.

    Amazingly, the driver emerged with nothing more than a limp. And, we’re guessing, a quick prayer to his merciful Almighty. Watch and wince.

  40. The original Skoda RS is 40 years old which means we can legitimately run this excellent picture

    Skoda wanted to go racing in 1974, and thus introduced the first ever ‘RS’ badged models in its history, the 180 RS and 200 RS. Both ran in competition for the first time in June of ‘74, with the 200 RS packing a 160bhp 2.0-litre engine and top speed of 135mph.

    Which is great. And allows us to gawp at this lovely picture of the original 200 RS.

  41. Buying a Pagani Zonda doesn't exonerate you from BUMP STARTS

    Imagine the glamour, the glitz and the pizazz. You’re the owner of a Pagani Zonda. You’re in Cannes. Life is good.

    Only your Pagani Zonda doesn’t start. In Cannes. In front of many people, including one with a camera. Life isn’t so good. Still, owning a jet black piece of exotica does at least attract attention, so when this chap’s Zonda failed to start, a few locals helped him out the old fashioned way. By pushing him off down the road.

    Better luck next time, chap.

    Watch the video here.

  42. Hypercar track days are now a thing

    A racetrack is the only real place to stretch the legs of a hypercar without attracting the rozzers.

    But rocking up at Brands Hatch on a Wednesday evening’s ‘Run What Ya Brung’ event in a £1.15 million, 950bhp hyper-hybrid LaFerrari might be classed as a bit ‘showy’ by the have-a-go heroes in their Honda Civics.

    That’s why the Ultracar Sports Club has been formed by SRO Motorsports. Grafted onto next year’s Blancpain Endurance Series events at Paul Ricard and Misano, it offers the world’s minted the opportunity of a hypercar track day. Yes, hypercar track day.

    If you’ve got a P1, LaFerrari, 918, Aston One-77, Lamborghini Veneno, Koenigsegg One:1, Veyron, any of the Ferrari XX models, a Pagani Zonda R or any other super fast, super rare and super expensive supercar, you’re in. If you’ve got a daggy Astra with aftermarket rims, you’re very much not.

    Pirelli will even supply spare tyres so you can initiate Maximum Attack Mode. Just make sure you don’t put it into the barriers: with such a selection of cars, there’ll be more than a few camera phones videoing everything from the stands.

  43. Red Bull had its trophies thrown in a lake

    It wasn’t only departing Red Bull driver Seb Vettel who endured a bit of a sinking feeling in 2014; the Milton Keynes-based former ruler of F1 had its factory broken into in a smash’n’grab raid for trophies.

    Sixty shiny things were stolen - though the most glorious of the glory pots, the F1 world titles, survived - and after a week of chin-scratching, around 20 have so far turned up, damaged in a local lake.

    It’s a sad story, really. The trophies have no real financial value - it can’t be easy to sell one without simultaneously turning yourself in for the crime - and the factory’s many staff who worked so hard to garner them are rightfully perturbed. Hopefully the rest turn up in as good a nick as possible soon…

  44. The Nürburgring fisticuffs continue

    If, like James May, anything Ring-related grinds your gears, then look away now. The Nordschleife record-swapping has shown no signs of abating in 2014, and not just at the top end amoung the sub-seven minute supercars: perhaps the feistiest battle right now is with the front-drivers.

    Spring saw SEAT nab Renault’s front-drive record, a suspiciously stripped-out Leon Cupra lapping the Nordschliefe in 7m58s.

    The celebratory tapas wasn’t gorged upon for long, though; Renault promptly ripped the back seats from its beaten Megame Trophy, gave it more power and some seriously fancy suspension, and headed back to Germany, emerging victorious with a 7m54s.

    That’s not the end of the story, though, with Honda set to reignite the saga in 2015 with its new Civic Type-R. You have been warned…

  45. It's quite hard to get three hybrid hypercars together...

    …but it’s unbelievably satisfying and life-affirming when you do. Working with Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren to get the LaFerrari, 918 and P1 together on the same roads at the same time wasn’t easy, but we’re blooming glad we did it.

    Read our verdict right here…

  46. Jenson Button is still in F1

    Huge sighs of relief across the population of British F1 lovers greeted McLaren’s 2015 driver line-up confirmation. We’d known Fernando Alonso was joining the team for a while; whether he ousted Button or Kevin Magnussen was unclear. And like an X-Factor final, McLaren didn’t half drag out the suspense.

    Confirmation that Button remains is good news for fans of smooth, consistent driving. And as if to affirm just how likeable he is, he was truly gracious in victory, tweeting the following:

    “Feeling for my buddy @KevinMagnussen such a talent and great guy, he’ll be back in F1 before we know it. #KM20”

  47. Mercedes ruled F1. Convincingly

    If you’ve even the most passing interest in motorsport, you’ll know Mercedes took the Formula 1 constructors’ title by a considerable margin, its two drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, scrapping it out for individual honours right up until the final round.

    Mercedes failed to win just a trio of races, Red Bull’s ‘number two’ Daniel Ricciardo filling the top spot of the podium in all three of those cases.

    The big question now is who’s good enough to claw back respect for the rest of the grid in 2015…

  48. The Honda NSX still isn't here

    The second coming of Honda’s everyman supercar has been on the cards for quite some time. It’s nearly three years since we first clapped eyes on a svelte NSX concept, so it’s fair to say we’ve got itchy everything in anticipation to drive it.

    Thankfully, Honda has confirmed we’ll see the production version at January’s 2015 Detroit motor show. Just the three years after that initial concept debuted in the same halls, then. Let’s hope it’s not another three years until we have a go…

  49. Bristol buses are running on poo

    If you frequently use derogatory four-letter words to describe public transport, then you’re much nearer the truth than you probably ever intended. Buses in Bristol are now eschewing boring old diesel and instead running on human waste.

    Steaming between Bristol Airport and Bath city centre, the Bio-Bus transports 40 people and can cover up to 186 miles on a tank of gas. That’s the annual, err, emissions of five people. Those with a distrust of technology will be mildly horrified to know that it’s all stored above their heads, in the dome-like tank atop the bus.

    We’ve never been happier to be car people.

  50. It's really hard to spell the word "BUS"

    Well, it is if you’re one of the people responsible for painting the roads in the Old Market area of Bristol City Centre. The very same Bristol whose buses run on poo, yes…

  51. Footballers like Audi Q7s

    Let’s be honest, this isn’t something we learned this week. But it was wholeheartedly reinforced when team sponsor Audi turned up to offer Real Madrid’s players their annual pick of free cars. (Yes, the same Real Madrid that pays Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo roughly £300,000 a week, if you’re as perplexed as us by the whole affair.)

    A list of what everyone picked has emerged. Ronaldo went for an S8, while Bale opted for a diesel Q7, as with the vast majority of his teammates. Quite how they remember whose is whose after training is beyond us.

    You can watch an overwhelmingly lame video of the whole process here.

  52. Football players don't like Corvettes

    The Manchester United squad has done nothing to cancel out any footballer-bound vitriol from that last story, it must be said. The team’s main shirt sponsor is Chevrolet - thanks to a deal worth a slightly bonkers £47million per season - and as a result 15 Corvettes and Camaros were delivered to its training ground for the players to use.

    Alas, Messrs Rooney, Van Persie et al have stuck to their Range Rovers, Porsches and Mercs, and reports suggest the Chevys are sitting there feeling sorry for themselves. Oops.

  53. Ken Block owns the best ski lift... in the world

    Senior tyre slayer and part-time ping-pongist Ken Block has been up to his old tricks throughout 2014, providing the internet with juicy video goodness.

    However, one our favourite driftmeister’s vids preented something of a departure from the normal smokey sideways forays in his 650bhp Fiesta.

    Swapping smoke for snow, Ken and pro snowboarders Zak Hale and Ethan Deiss headed for Baldface Lodge in Nelson, British Columbia, to go shred powder, not tyres.

    But not being a fan of funiculars, Ken thought he’d drive up the mountain in his ‘RaptorTRAX’ - a heavily modified F150 Raptor with tank tracks for tyres.

    Modified by Special Vehicle Concepts in California, Ken’s personal ski lift is equipped with snowboard racks, a roof basket, a rear-mounted winch, interior storage for snacks and drinks, an exterior stereo setup for blasting music, and exterior-mounted lighting rig to blind the snow into submission if they get stuck and, best of all, a tailgate-mounted BBQ for toasting some tasty marshmallows.

    Check out the video of the supercharged 6.2-litre V8 pick up burying itself bonnet-first in the powder here.

  54. A crime writer was turned down for car insurance because of his ‘dangerous' job

    Scottish crime novelist Ian Rankin announced on Twitter that he’d been denied car insurance due to his apparently risky job title.

    Whether insurers have confused him with his murderer-hunting character Inspector Rebus is as yet unconfirmed, but it led a fruitful TG office quest for other occupations shunned by the world of car insurance.

    Footballers, exotic dancers and funfair employees, we discovered, feel the most pain. If you’re a left winger, stripper or waltzer spinner contemplating public transport instead, then perhaps it’s time for a change of career to a nurse, lollipop lady, or coastguard (seamless swaps, respectively), the friendliest career choices come renewal time.

  55. We love Poland and its insane hill-climbers

    This is the finest 15 minutes of hill-climb footage you’ll ever see. Taken from the Gorskie Samochodowe Mistrzostwa Polski (GSMP) Polish Hillclimbing Championship, there are many crashes, and some incredibly large gentleman vegetables on display. Also, congratulations to the Astra GSI driver, winner of our inaugural Keeping it Pinned Freaking Constantly award.

  56. NCE hates your face and wants it to look very different

    Clearly taking inspiration from TG’s legendary Espace-cabrio, California-based Newport Convertible Engineering announced it is to create a Nissan GT-R convertible. So that’s 542bhp, a 0-62mph time potentially under three seconds… and no roof to protect your terrified, gurning face from wind, hail or birdstrike. We’re pretty sure this contravenes at least three of Newton’s laws.

  57. Someone built a 200mph Nissan Qashqai that can out-accelerate a McLaren P1 to 62mph

    Speaking of GT-Rs… Severnvalley Motorsport wanted to one-up Nissan’s very own GT-R engined Juke. And so they built a GT-R engined Nissan Qashqai+2. Then they turned the engine up to Maximum Stig (1100bhp), and made it very fast indeed. Like 0-62mph in 2.7 seconds fast. Like a top speed of over 200mph fast.

    Is this the ultimate Fast People Carrier?

  58. 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.

  59. South Korea has women-only car parking spaces

    In an interview with the Korea Times in June, South Korea’s Assistant Mayor for Women and Family Affairs Cho Eun-hee declared that the city would create ‘she-spots’: women-only parking spaces.

    While not-at-all-sexist-in-any-way-whatsoever, these spots are apparently wider, longer, outlined in pink and identified by a skirt-wearing pink figure.

    “It is like adding a female touch to a universal design and make things more comfortable for women,” Eun-hee said. Nope, not sexist at all.

  60. Planet Earth's worst parker lives in Calgary, Canada

    No thanks to this lady, then, for giving South Korea’s Assitant Mayor some vindication. Attempting to exit what was, let’s be honest, really quite a large parking space in her BMW X3, our intrepid Canadian managed to first reverse at a decent lick into the car behind, before engaging in the most extraordinary sequence of Austin Powers infinite-point-turns.

    Then, yet better, she (slowly) fled the car park without leaving a note on the car she’d damaged. Joyously, all this was caught on security camera. Click here for four and half minutes of excruciating, glorious pain…

  61. The new Mustang's been climbing tall buildings


    Back in April, Ford showcased its all-new Mustang on the observation deck of the Empire State Building before the New York motor show. Not content with that, though, it went one better in November. Well, 26 floors and 79 metres better, to be precise.

    To officially launch Ford’s Middle East and Africa operations with a bang, a bright yellow ‘Stang was sent up to the 112th floor of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. At 830 metres high, it’s the world’s tallest tower, though the Stang could only make it up to the 112th floor, which at 399 metres, isn’t quite halfway…

  62. The F1 world (and beyond) has been praying for Michael

    The very end of 2013 was a sad and incredibly worrying time for F1 fans. Love or hate Michael Schumacher during his dominant years in Formula 1, there’s no denying the talent he displayed. Or what a brilliant sport he was when we appeared on TG TV a few years ago (above).

    His unfortunate and tragic skiing accident has never strayed far from the forefront of motorsport news in 2014, as updates on his progress have drip-fed into the press, both officially and unofficially.

    As the first anniversary of his accident approaches, the latest from his manager is that Michael is “making progress” but faces a “difficult and long” recovery. He is now out of a coma, though is paralysed and currently unable to speak. Now, as ever, our fingers are crossed for his successful recovery.

  63. The F1 world (and beyond) has been praying for Jules too

    F1 safety fears have been more prominent than in recent years after Jules Bianchi’s unfortunate accident during the Japanese grand prix in October. A similarly vexing process to the aftermath of Schuey’s accident has ensued since. The latest? Jules has flown back to his native France, where he is out of a coma but still in a “critical” condition.

    His parents, Philippe and Christine Bianchi, said: “Following a challenging period of neurological intensive care, we are able to announce Jules has made an important step.

    “His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function.

    “Although the situation continues to be serious, and may remain so, it was decided that Jules was sufficiently stable to be repatriated to his native France.”


  64. A couple in America has painted a 1949 Cadillac in money

    Why spend your money on giving your car a new paintjob when you can literally cover the car in coins? That was the exact lightbulb moment Larry and Theresa Thompson from Indiana, USA, had.

    With the help of their family, they painstakingly applied 38,000 pennies by hand to give their 1948 Cadillac a unique look and add exactly $382.95 to its resale value and 89kg to its kerbweight.

    But it doesn’t appear that the Thompson family has applied the coins to the wheels. Which is slightly odd, as that’d be a real money-spinner. Badum tish.

  65. A Russian student in London has covered her Merc CLS in A MILLION CRYSTALS

    Meanwhile… Clearly sick of young Middle Eastern gents grabbing the attentions of the automotive paparazzi in London’s glitzy Knightsbridge, a Russian business student has hit back with some serious bling.

    21-year-old Daria Radionova - a lady TG suspects may not hail from the wrong side of the tracks - has treated her Merc CLS 350 (registration (BA11 BYY) to a coat of more than a million Swarovski crystals.

    “I wanted to have something unique and do something special,” says Daria. “The people who did it came over from Russia and worked for 12 hours a day for two months on the car.”

    The crystals alone cost a reported £20,000, but Radionova insists she is of altruistic bent. “When I sell the car, I will give the money to charity,” she says.

    No word whether the CLS has been plagued by light-fingered ‘souvenir hunters’ on London’s streets, but we do know Radionova keeps a spare bag of the gems inside the car to patch up any losses.

    TG’s attempt to replicate this effect on our ratty BMW 320i, using 200 packets of Little Gems and a tub of Superglue, has thus far proved unwhelming. And lightly rat-infested.

  66. A man in California received the most ironic parking ticket in history

    Truck driver Dan Greding was given a parking ticket on Victoria St, Santa Barbara, after parking for 90 minutes in a zone where parking was limited to 75 minutes.

    Fair enough, you might think, but here’s the catch: Greding was only parked in order to install the 75-minute parking signs.

    “I didn’t know what to say. I was dumbfounded,” Greding told “I said, ‘But I’m putting these signs up’, and he [the officer] says, ‘Then you should know you can’t park here for more than 75 minutes’. I said, ‘Well, I haven’t put the sign up yet, so you can’t write me a ticket’.”

    The officer, presumably unconcerned about creating a black hole of logic that could devour the known universe, disagreed, issuing Greding a $48 ticket.

    “I guess my crime was not installing the signs in under 75 minutes,” rues Greding.


  67. Handbrakes are difficult to operate if you work for FedEx

  68. This is the best car club in the entire world

    Back in April, we snuck under the velvet rope to score some pictures from the incredible Goodwood Road Racing Club’s 72nd annual meeting.

    And we found many things. Mainly things we’d like to drive. Like an Italiya Sports Porsche 962 prototype. And Ayrton Senna’s Lotus 98T F1 car. And an MG Metro 6R4. And a turbocharged McLaren MP4/2 F1 car. And an Audi Quattro S1. And a Lotus Elite. And a Renault Alpine A442. And, and, and…

    Yeah, there was a lot of really good stuff. Click here to see our pics.

  69. Jay Leno 3D prints his own car parts

    Need a new window winder for your 1993 Ford Fiesta? Local scrap yard short of 1986 Nissan Bluebird sun visors? Desperately scouring auction websites for a replacement glovebox lid for your 1997 Toyota Paseo?

    There’s only one man to call. And it’s, err, Jay Leno. The king of TV chat shows is famous for his vast collection of cars, and if a part goes kaput that he can’t replace, he now utilises a 3D printer to replace it. Whether he’s actually using it for a side business in parts dealing now he’s not on The Tonight Show remains unconfirmed.

  70. Someone made Lamborghini Aventador art car

    Art cars. BMW’s done them, we’ve tried to do them and now Lamborghini want to get in on the act, too.

    Recently a Lamborghini dealer in Miami teamed up with Franco-American artist and musician Duaiv to make the stunning 700bhp, £300,000 Aventador Roadster their canvas.

    Now, we’re not exactly experts, but we’ve taken a few steps back (something experts do), tilted our head sideways (something experts do), scratched our chin while nodding (something experts do) and concluded that it looks like the result of a pretty significant explosion at a rave paint factory with elements of a colour stick of Blackpool rock.

  71. A man was hit by three cars and lived to tell the tale

    Though we imagine it won’t be a very amusing tale. News reached us in December that a man named Li was struck down by a car while attempting to cross a road in Kunshan City, in east China’s Jiangsu province.

    Having been knocked down, Li was then mowed down again by another car within just ten seconds.

    It gets worse. Some locals attempted to help the stricken Li, when another car screeched to a halt directly in front of him. Unfortunately the car behind this car couldn’t brake in time, and so smashed into the car facing Li, pushing it onto our befallen hero.

    Reports tell us Li suffered several leg and rib fractures, but is recovering well. Chin up, fella.

    Watch the video here

  72. Nico Hulkenberg will race at Le Mans next year in a Porsche 919 Hybrid!

    Seems like Mark Webber will have an F1 buddy alongside him at La Sarthe next year, as Force India F1 confirmed that driver Nico Hulkenberg will race with Porsche at the legendary endurance race next year.

    Not only that, Nico will also pilot the monster Porsche at the Six Hours of Spa in May: the weekend in between the Bahrain and Chinese Formula One GPs. So he won’t be too busy, then.

    Rumours that Nico will race in BTCC, DTM, the Clio Cup championship and Hammond’s People Carrier race series next year remain unconfirmed.

  73. Bugatti took a very expensive family photo

    As the awesome Veyron’s production comes to an end, Bugatti decided to gather all six of the ‘Legends’ special edition range together for the first time. They even took a photo to savour the moment of all six of the special Grand Sport Vitesse - that’s the 1,200bhp 254.04mph roof down version - being in each other’s presence. Total value? A cool £10.5 million.

    The Legends Series commemorates six special people who played an integral and fundamental role in shaping the company; a company whose path led to a segment on TG telly that briefly made James May a world record holder. Briefly.

    You can read our dedicated history of the awesome Veyron here.

  74. The Department for Transport spent £2.3 million on 'rubbernecking screens'

    Don’t you hate it when you’re on the motorway and everything just grinds to a frustrating stop? You sit there for minutes - sometimes hours - crawling your way to whatever incident has happened. Then, it turns out the delay is caused by people just wanting to have a look at the problem on the other side of the carriageway.

    But, according to the Department of Transport, this is about to come to an end. To “keep the motorways flowing” it has purchased 3,000, 2.1m by 2m high privacy screens that will, apparently, stop people trying to peek a look as to what’s going on.

    But would they stop you rubbernecking? Or will it slow you down even more as you try to peep a look through the holes in the fence? 

  75. One of Britain's major motorways closed because of a CHEESE FIRE

    December saw the M1 motorway in Northampton closed after a lorry caught fire. Not, sadly, the most unusual of occurrences, but noteworthy because this lorry was stuffed to the gunnels with cheese. Delicious, fatty, melty cheese.

    Eyewitnesses reported ‘a couple of explosions’ before the lorry burst into flames. Explosions? TG has sampled some ripe Camemberts in its time, but never any that looked close to spontaneous detonation.

    Thankfully the driver avoided a feta worse than death, escaping his cabin before the blaze took hold, as dozens of fondue-loving bystanders clutching large pieces of stale bread and giant skewers moved in to mop up the damage. This bit didn’t actually happen.

    “It was a GRUYERE miss!” chortled one entirely fictional bystander.

    “Don’t you mean a PANEER miss?” chimed in another.

    “Lucky he wasn’t driving a Vauxhall Edam!” added yet another. “No, hang on, that doesn’t really work. A Brie-MW? A gorgonzoLaFerrari? This is far more difficult than I initially suspected…”

    Picture: Max Earey

  76. Batman is alive and well and riding his Batbike in Tokyo

    Enterprising snappers on Tokyo’s Wangan Line expressway put the ultimate tick in their “I-Spy” book in September: Batman, on his Batbike.

    Usually this type of thing is a ruse by a multinational movie-making corporation to announce their latest release. But there is no new Batman film on the horizon. Therefore, we can only assume that this really is Batman, and he’s been eating a lot of ramen during his relocation to Japan.

  77. There are some pretty ruthless racers out there

    The 5Club MX5 Cup doesn’t quite have the glamour and prestige of Formula One, even if it does share a venue at Silverstone.

    But don’t think that it doesn’t matter to the racers. And no trick is too dirty… Watch the video here for one of the lowest overtaking manoeuvres we’ve ever seen.

  78. A load of Mazda MX-5s make an effective proposal tool

    The people who populate car internet forums aren’t usually the most romantic types. Extremely useful in tracking down an electric window motor for a 2000 mk1 172 Clio, yes, but we suspect some of them may not even have girlfriends.

    Still, Miatamaaan on an American Miata forum bucked the trend in April, when he corralled 44 fellow Mazda enthusiasts into the car park at his local high school to capture the image above. And she even said “yes”.


  79. BMW took grammar lessons from a 15-year-old schoolboy

    According to the Mail, arch pedant Albert Gifford was currently locked in a furious battle with German giants BMW over a phrase in its new 2 Series Coupe ad.

    Albert contended that BMW, not content with mangling concepts of Britishness with its awful series of Blighty-themed Minis, has been ruining the language as well. The short 2-Series film ends with the slogan “it bites as bad as it barks”. Albert said that “bad” is not an adverb, and should instead be “badly”. And to be fair, he was right.

    Ashley Parker, the BMW Customer Service Executive dealing with the complaint, said: “It has been logged in our system and we have contacted our advertising department, but the advert is not going to change.”

    Source: The Mail

  80. Audis are great

    It could be argued (and it is) that Audi has one of the most hit and miss car ranges on sale. Some of its wares - R8, A6 Allroad - are wonderfully fit for purpose. Others, (RSQ3, cough), we struggle to fully understand.

    There’s an increasing level of consistency rolling out of Ingolstadt, though. The new TT looks predictably ace, but it’s also sharp to drive and has one of the most interesting interiors in the business. The RS6 is brilliantly loopy.

    And the S1 (above) was one of the year’s biggest surprises, not least for completely eschewing automatic gearboxes. It’s fun, expressive, and a genuine hot hatch star. Only the equally surprising VW Golf R pipped it for our favourite pocket rocket of 2014.

  81. The Golf R wagon could be all the car you ever need

    Speaking of the Golf R… its brilliance was unmatched in the hot hatch sector in 2014, and everyone in the TG office emerged from it a bit smitten before beelining straight to leasing deal websites.

    VW has managed to improve its ‘one car fits all’ wonder, though, by making an estate version. Should they let us have a long-term test car, there will be fist fights in the TG office.

  82. F1 cars should be rolling on dubs

    Earlier this year, during a test at Silverstone, Pirelli rolled out a prototype low-profile, 18-inch Formula One tyre. Now, you’ve probably noticed that most road cars have been running on tyres this big for years. But, in the high-tech world of F1, they’re still running around on 13-inch casters - which seems a bit backwards.

    But that could all change in 2017 as the FIA is considering bigger wheels. Which got us thinking, why not run 22-inch dubs? Cos, they’re like waaaaay more bling. Luckily automotive renderer Jon Sibal was tuned into our brainwaves and sketched up our “go big or go home” theory. 

  83. Well done! Britain's roads are the safest since records began

    According to government statistics, 2013 saw fewer British road deaths than at any time since 1926, falling two per cent year on year.

    Last year, says the Department For Transport, 1,713 people died on Britain’s roads. Which is, of course 1,713 too many, but only half as many as died in the year 2000, and the lowest annual total since records began.

    Doubly impressive, considering that our roads are busier than ever before - traffic increased 0.4 per cent year on year in 2013. Personal injury road accidents were down five per cent since 2012, too. Keep driving safe, kids.

  84. If you crash your car in New York, it's probably not a good idea to take off your clothes and start running down the freeway

    We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the Long Island Expressway in sub-zero temperatures. You bin your car into the centre reservation. What to do?

    Strip naked and start running, apparently. In February, New York State Police arrested an unnamed man caught nudily sprinting along a major highway after smashing his car into the ‘center median’.

    “One of my troops was driving by and saw him running down the highway naked,” revealed New York State Trooper Richard Gantt, a man clearly given to telling it like it is. “He decided to take off all his clothes.”

    The man’s charges were not revealed. Unlike the rest of him.

  85. Volvo Trucks still makes excellent adverts

    Last year, Volvo Trucks’ ‘The Epic Split’ advert - starring an impressively flexible Jean-Claude Van Damme - went Full Viral, having recorded over 75 million YouTube hits to date.

    And now the Scandivian lorrymeisters have released the follow-up to ‘The Epic Split’. It features rather fewer groin-tearing stretches, but it’s rather jolly all the same.

    Filmed on Italy’s swanky Riviera, it purports to show hidden camera footage of a valet parker being surprised by a rather larger vehicle than usual.

    We’re not sure how ‘real’ it all is - surely not everyone in Italy can be that louche and handsome? - but it’s another good’un from our favourite Swedes, and further proof Volvo’s mojo is on the rise. Time for that hot hatch please, chaps.

    Watch the video here

  86. A Chinese city has built a dedicated ‘smartphone lane'

    In September, news arrived from China that the city of Chongqing - recognising the challenge of texting while maintaining acceptable speed - has implemented a dedicated lane for those who wish to fiddle with their phones on their morning commute.

    If this sounds like a recipe for crashy disaster, fear not. It turns out Chongqing’s smartphone lane isn’t for distracted, texting drivers, but instead for distracted, texting pedestrians.

    A section of busy pavement has been divided into two sections, with one side warning: ‘Cell phones - walk in this lane at your own risk.’

    “There are lots of elderly people and children in our street,” explained a Chongqing spokesman. “Walking with your cellphone may cause unnecessary collisions.”

    Local news sources report the lane may actually have exacerbated the congestion problem, with tourists stopping to take photos of the lane. We’re also told that avid texters seemed too distracted by their phones to pay sufficient attention to stay within the lane.

    There’s a lesson in there somewhere, isn’t there?

  87. Chinese police are punishing headlight misuse with... headlights

    Staying in China, and police in the southern city of Shenzhen are cracking down on drivers who inappropriately flash their headlights. By making them stare at bright headlights for five minutes.

    A post on the official Sina Weibo account reports “from now on, traffic police will make those found carelessly using bright lights to look at them for five minutes.”

    Top Gear has made a mental note to never flash anyone in China. Ever.

  88. Koenigsegg was asked to stage the world's most straightforward recall

    The American National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration takes the responsibilities of its lengthy title extremely seriously. And in a year when General Motors has had to recall over 800,000 cars due to faulty ignition switches, vigilance must be maintained at all times.

    Such as a problem with the Koenigsegg Agera, where apparently the tyre monitoring system may (may) not have illuminated the warning light after the vehicle was restarted.

    To ensure the car complied with the demand from the ANHTSA, Koenigsegg was required to update the software on any US-based Agera.

    All one of them.

    Constant vigilance worthy of Mad Eye Moody out of Harry Potter, and surely most comforting for our American readers.

  89. Arnie's bought a personalised Unimog

    As is only right for a man who has counted Mr Universe, The Terminator and governor of California among the day-jobs, Arnie doesn’t really do normal-sized cars. Instead, his modus operandi has always been: take massive car, make massiver (see his old Hummer for proof).

    Well, in September he swapped the Hummer for another vehicle that breaks all of Colin Chapman’s legendary rules. A Unimog, the ultimate in “go anywhere and demolish anything in its path while doing it” practiality. With a whopping top speed of 50mph. Perfect for Californian highways. 

  90. Nissan built a self-cleaning car

    Nobody likes washing their cars, so Nissan cooked up what must be the world’s greatest invention, the true pinnacle of civilisation: a SELF CLEANING CAR.

    The company fitted a Note with a specially engineered ‘super-hydrophobic and oleophobic’ paint that repels water and oils. The tech is called ‘Ultra-Ever Dry’, and creates a protective layer of air between the paint and the atmosphere - stopping standing water and road spray from making your car filthy.

    “Whilst there are currently no plans for the tech to be applied to the model as standard,” said Nissan, “we will continue to consider the coating tech as a future aftermarket option.”

    The applicability of this aftermarket paint on humans has not been tested, nor recommended. Top Gear lives in hope.

  91. BMW made this excellent bamboo and carbon fibre car charging port

    If countless positive reviews of the BMW i8 haven’t already tempted you into purchasing the hybrid sports car immediately, this stunning carport should. It’s the work of BMW Designworks USA, and takes the concept of both BMW ‘i’ cars - i3 and i8 - and applies it into an excellent carport.

    The sides are made from carbon fibre, while bamboo is used in the struts - a sustainable material, thanks to its rapid growth. For the actual generation of electricity, high-grade glass-on-glass solar modules are used. They’ve got a 30-year guarantee and offer a ‘high energy yield’.

    All very cuddly, but most of all it looks brilliant. The new eco-era might not be so bad.

  92. A Somerset entrepreneur has built a toll road to save drivers from roadwork hell (and keep his wife happy)

    The A431, between Bath and Bristol in England’s glamorous Somerset district, was closed from February to November, undergoing roadworks after a landslip.

    That meant a 14-mile diversion, and hours of delays for commuters making the journey between the two cities. Unless, that is, they paid £2 to use Mike Watts’ unofficial toll road.

    Noting the havoc caused by the roadworks, the local businessman rented an adjoining field, and spent £150,000 of his own money creating a 400-metre tarmac road that skirts the repairs.

    Westcountry jobsworths are upset Watts didn’t apply for planning permission, but the entrepreneur insists he’s helping the community.

    “People are just enjoying the fact they can go about their daily business without the 14-mile detour they’ve been having to suffer,” he told the BBC.

    “I could probably blame my wife. She was shouting at me and asking when something was going to get done [about the delays],” Watts explained. “It sort of went from there. She’s a very happy lady now, and isn’t shouting at me…”

  93. designed a special edition Lexus NX

    Former Star in a Reasonably Priced Car and all round petrolhead/musician/whatever-he-fancies-doing-new-this-week announced a collaboration with Lexus in the summer.

    Will would ‘champion provocative design and technology’ to help launch the new NX, we were told, as well as design his own special edition. “Whatever I do, I want it to be striking,” Mr dot-i-dot-am said.

    We presume he’s not actually levitating in the pic above. Though that might have been his ‘thing’ for that week, so who knows.

  94. Busta Rhymes really likes the Toyota Sienna

    More questionable music-car-tie-up news! Toyota attempted to add a dose of urban smarts to the Sienna - its US-spec family wagon - by enlisting the help of a certain Mr Busta Rhymes.

    Mr Rhymes - aka Trevor Tahiem Smith Jr - fronted the ‘Swagger Wagon’ campaign. Much cringe ensued and, months on, has not yet abated.

    Watch and wince this way…

  95. Aston Martin built a DB9 with a pink interior

    Aston is proud of its long history with James Bond. Its ‘Q’ division - that’s the special section that customizes cars - is even named after 007’s gadgets man. So for the Pebble Beach concours, it decided to showcase its talent… by building a DB9 with a pink interior. Plenty of gaudy Aston specials appeared in 2014, but on this occasion, words officially failed us.

  96. Anyone can drive a Jaguar Le Mans car

    Well, anyone with a spare £750 knocking around or exceedingly generous friends. Jaguar has launched a new range of driving experiences, with half a day driving some Le Mans vintage C- and D-Types around its Warwickshire test facility the most eye-grabbing on offer.

    According to Jaguar’s website, you’ll ‘feel the wind whistle around your helmet’. And if that’s not a good enough endorsement to get saving the pennies, then may we suggest you watch this superbly driven C-Type for inspiration?

    If you’re concerned your heel-and-toeing and minute slide corrections aren’t up to scratch, then passenger rides start at a much more palatable £95. 

  97. A really quite strong man pulled a lorry using nothing but his BARE STRENGTH

    Should you ever meet Terry Hollands in a drinking establishment and accidentally upset his drinking vial, apologise profusely and pray for mercy.

    Why? Because he was Britain’s Strongest Man in 2007 and is a regular contender for the World’s Strongest Man title. And in July, to promote the release of The Rock’s film, Hercules, Terry decided to pull an 18-tonne truck through London’s Oxford Circus.

    Watch the video here. Suffice to say, don’t try this at home, or indeed, in Oxford Circus.

  98. A third of Brits have admitted to being unable to read a map

    Research carried out by sat nav aficionados Garmin has revealed that one third of British people don’t know how to navigate using a traditional map, instead needing the guidance of a sat nav system.

    Further, one in ten admit to using sat navs all the time, even for those journeys they make often, which goes some way to explaining the carnage in a Tesco car park up and down the nation (and why everyone under the age of 25 in the Top Gear office gets permanently lost).

    (Question marks over the impartiality of a sat nav survey carried out by a company who sells the things notwithstanding, of course.)

  99. The world as we know it could have ended in 2012

    And finally, a wider Thing We Learned This Year. News surfaced of a monumentally powerful solar storm that erupted on 23 July 2012, which could have ended life on Earth as we know it.

    This solar storm pumped out one of the largest plasma clouds ever detected - a speed of 3,000km a second, no less - that, if it hit, could have wiped out our planet’s entire electronic capacity. Phones, computers, satellite transmissions, GPS, TV, radio, hospital equipment, electric pumps… and, of course, every Nissan Leaf and G-Whiz in existence.

    “If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” Daniel Baker, at the University of Colorado, told The Guardian. Presumably picking up the pieces in Hyundai’s zombie apocalypse car (pictured).

    Source: The Guardian

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