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Ten things we learned this week

  1. Subaruwants to go even quicker around the Isle Of Man

    In 2011, rallyist and cast iron testicle owner Mark Higgins set a lap of 19m56.7s around the Isle Of Man’s insane TT course in a Subaru WRX STI. It was a run that included one of the very scariest tankslappers ever committed to video – a moment Higgins himself described as ‘one of the biggest moments of my life’. 

    But undeterred by very nearly pebble-dashing his Scooby – not to mention its occupants – all over the self-governing dependency, Higgins will return to the Isle Of Man this year, armed with a new Subaru WRX STI and hoping to go even faster.

    If you cut out all that unnecessarily flailing from side to side, Mark, we reckon you could shave off a couple of seconds…

  2. A man inCalifornia has just 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.


  3. Honda willbuild the lovely S660 roadster. Yay!

    At the Tokyo motor show last year, Honda showed the too-cute S660 concept, a dinky roadster that looked ever inch the spiritual successor to its iconic Beat kei car.

    And now reports from Japan suggest the S660 will become reality next year, with production slated for the Yokkaichi factory, a facility that already builds small cars for Honda, and made the Beat all those years ago.

    No word on what might power the adorable little S660, but it’s safe to assume it’ll be available with some take on the standard kei car engine formula, which means a modest sub-660cc powerplant. Surely there’s room for a V8 on board somewhere, Honda?

  4. Thisscooterist from Taiwan has had better weeks

    There’s only one thing worse than falling off your scooter, and that’s falling off your scooter in front of a policeman.

    Actually, scrap that. It’s even worse if, after falling off said scooter, you then plunge down an open manhole. And if said policeman just happens to have a dashcam running to capture the whole unfortunate event.

    As we said, better weeks.

  5. Alfa Romeohas a plan to get us out of here

    As part of the Fiat Group’s annual numberfest this week, Alfa Romeo boss Harald Wester revealed his company’s grand recovery plan.

    And grand it is: Wester says Alfa will build no fewer than eight new models by 2018, including a pair of rear-drive 3-Series rivals, a couple of crossovers, and a front-engined RWD Spider.

    The aim? To sell 400,000 cars annually within four years. Last year, Alfa shifted just 74,000 cars.

    Can Wester’s masterplan possibly work? Or will this be another case of Alfa promising big and delivering rather smaller? Read Paul Horrell’s excellent analysis and decide for yourself…

  6. Drink and car thieving don't mix, kids

    When Ivan Deshensky, from the Siberian city of Novokuznetsk, headed out to his car to set off for work, he was surprised to discover its window smashed and its ignition damaged.

    And even more surprised to discover drunk car thief Jacob Tokaryev curled up happily in the passenger footwell, reeking of booze.

    “He [Tokaryev] got drunk the previous night,” explained police spokesman Arkhip Isayev. “He could not walk home, but said he could not afford a taxi either as he’d run out of cash because he’d spent it all on drink. So he thought he’d take a car. He was very apologetic, but that won’t save him from a court appearance…”

  7. Lexus has anew paintjob, and wants your help naming it

    The RCF – Posh Toyota’s V8-packing answer to the BMW M4 – is coming soon, and wearing a rather lurid shade of paint.

    And, on its official Facebook page, Lexus has asked for your help to find out what that lurid shade is called.

    Lexus, we can help you out here. It’s orange. Orange. Made by mixing red and yellow. Really, you should have covered this one in school.

  8. There are bad times to lock yourself out of your car, and there are really bad times to lock yourself out of your car

    A Nottinghamshire police officer who locked his keys in his patrol car after arresting a suspect had to request a lift to the station from the lad’s mum, says a report in this week’s Police magazine.

    After being ‘met with some hostility’ when arresting the suspect for assault, the unnamed officer led the man out to his car.

    But when loading ‘evidence’ into the boot, the officer failed to notice his keys were underneath. After slamming the bootlid, he realised he was locked out, so was forced to ask the suspect’s for a ride home.

    Surprisingly, mum agreed, loading her son and the officer – who were still handcuffed together – into the back of her three-door Vauxhall Corsa and heading to the local cop shop.

    Police adds that, as the trio drove away, they were ‘greeted with waves and polite gestures’ from local residents. We can imagine.

  9. Bernie loves Azerbaijan

    Diminuitive F1 overlord Bernard Ecclestone this week revealed that the Korean Grand Prix will be dropped from the sport’s 2015 calendar to make room for a race in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku (above).

    “Baku has been signed. It will start in 2015 and will replace Korea,” Ecclestone said. “They [the Koreans] did a good job with the track but what they forgot to do was build all the things they wanted to build.”

    Baku’s race will take place on a street circuit around the capital, a course that has previously hosted the final round of the Blancpain Sprint Series. It’s rumoured the oil-rich Azerbaijani organisers will pay some £24m each year for the privilege of hosting the F1 circus.

    But here’s the oddest bit. We’re told the Baku race may be called the Grand Prix of Europe. Now, our geography’s not up to much, and actually Azerbaijan is considered part of both Europe and Asia, but would many consider Baku an iconic European destination? 

  10. Wiesmann isdead. Probably

    After entering administration last year, it seems German retro-builder Wiesmann has finally closed its doors for good.

    Local media reports say the last few remaining Wiesmann employees left the factory for good this month, though most of the 125-strong workforce had already been laid off after administrators failed to find a buyer.

    Wiesmann was established in 1985 as an aftermarket modifying house, building hard-top roofs for convertibles. It later moved into building its own two-seaters, using engines from BMW’s M-division. The last GT MF5, which packed the 550bhp twin-turbo V8 from the current M5, cost some £190,000 and would do 193mph flat-out.

    But not any more. Have a read of the time we tested the MF5 against the equally caricatured Morgan Aeromax SS (above), then raise a glass to the memory of those crazy, old-school Germans.

  11. BONUS THING! The horses are watching you

    Charles Holland Duell, commissioner of the US Patent and Trademark Office from 1898 to 1901, is famed for saying: “Everything that can be invented, has been invented.”

    Duell never actually uttered such a phrase, but now finally it has happened: everything that can be invented, has been invented. Because South Staffordshire inventor David Daly has patented a camera mounted in a horse’s bottom.

    OK, not quite in its bottom, but not far away. Daly has cunningly sown a tiny dashcam into a ‘sleeve’ that fits round the tail of your mighty hooved steed. The aim? To record – and, in turn, hopefully deter – drivers who get too close. And, presumably, to provide a detailed record of any amorous liaisons between Mrs Horse and Mr Horse.

    Daly’s previous inventions include a canine jacket to warn if your dog is a biter. The Nobel Prize is surely in the post.

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