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Ten Things We Learned This Week

  1. A man has fixed an old Land Rover with a POTATO

    Forget news of the new AMG GT3 racer, or indeed the Apple iCar, or Pagani’s Huayra Roadster, or even the Mansory Huracan. News of an AA mechanic fixing a broken Land Rover using only a potato and his brains has brought warmth to the Top Gear office.

    Patrolman Mario Papdemetriou was called out to a farm in Hertfordshire to fix the broken condenser on a old Defender, but after failing to solve the problem using the high-tech tools of, um, tin foil and tape, he turned to the farm. And a potato.

    “I thought I’d try wiring up a potato with a couple of screws to act as a condenser,” he said. “Amazingly, it started instantly, so I followed the owner to the garage and he said the vehicle had never driven so well.”

    Mr Papademetriou won an ingenuity award from the AA for his fix. Mario, Top Gear salutes you. Next week: a man mends a G-Wagen with half an aubergine.

  2. If you chainsaw your hand, drink gin to numb the pain and then drive to the hospital, you'll be arrested

    An Australian learner driver who drove to hospital with a chainsaw wound has lost his appeal against a drink-driving charge.

    Timothy Withrow, from Port Willunga near Adelaide, sustained a massive, likely incredibly painful chainsaw wound to his hand, but when local hospitals told him he wouldn’t be seen for 10 hours, he tended to the wound himself with ‘a large sowing needle and some fishing line’. And drank lots of gin to numb the pain.

    Withrow eventually jumped into the car to head to the hospital for proper treatment, only to be pulled over by the police for failing to stop at a junction. He was breathalysed and found to be over the limit.

    Though Withrow attempted to have the charge dismissed as a ‘trifling’ matter, the courts disagreed, convicting him this week of drink-driving.

    Speaking at the ruling, Justice Nicholson said: “I admire his courage and his tolerance to pain but I do not admire his judgment.”


    Via BBC News

  3. Infiniti has revealed the QX30 and it doesn't look half bad

    Infiniti has a long and storied history of producing attractive concept cars. It also has a strong and storied history of not building many of them for production. We live in hope, however, and so here is Posh Nissan’s Geneva show star, the QX30.

    This one is more than likely to get the green light, considering it’s based on the underpinnings of the upcoming Q30 hatchback, which itself is based on Merc’s A-Class platform.

    We’ll see the full car next month. Like it?

  4. Formula One drivers are no longer allowed to change their helmet designs

    In the biggest shake up of Formula One’s regulations for years, drivers will no longer be able to change their helmet designs over the course of a season, so that fans will be able to identify them on track.

    The decision still needs to be ratified by the FIA’s motor sport council however, but it marks a huge shakeup for 2015.

    Alex Wurz, chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, tweeted: “I am a fan of consistency, but seriously, what’s next, rules on haircuts?”

    And former Red Bull and current Porsche LMP1 driver Mark Webber tweeted: “Bigger issues than this going on… #jobsworths”.

    Pictured: Lewis Hamilton’s 2014 helmet

  5. A man has crashed a Pagani Zonda. Again.

    Production of the Huayra may have ended, but Pagani might want to fire up the Zonda lines. News reaches us that a British man’s Zonda - previously involved in a crash and repaired by Pagani - has now been smashed. For the second time.

    The Zonda, owned by a retired oil tycoon named Gareth Jones, was repaired originally by Pagani following a crash in 2010.

    And now it’s been crashed for the second time after what appears to have been a very unfortunate incident with an iron gate. It looks like the driver - not Gareth, reportedly - wasn’t injured, but the car? It’s seen better days.

    Chin up, Gareth - there’s a Huayra Roadster coming next year. Perhaps next time don’t lend it to your friends?

    Pictured: standard Zonda F

  6. Someone has built an iPhone 6 case that looks like a DeLorean from Back To The Future and it’s excellent

    There are moving bits. There are lights. It’s a bit shoddy but mostly excellent. We want one.


  7. Mechanics took a customer's Focus ST for a joyride. At 118mph

    Lancashire man Wayne Clinning took his Ford Focus ST in for a service at Pye Motors, his local garage. But when Clinning got his car back, he noticed half a tank of fuel had been consumed.

    Clinning therefore activated the dashboard camera to see what was up, and to his alarm discovered footage of a mechanic taking his precious ST for a joyride, reaching speeds of 118mph.

    “They were just using and abusing my car,” Clinning said after seeing the footage, which including the mechanic revving the engine and mashing the accelerator. He showed garage bosses the footage, who said they were taking the incident “very seriously”.

    Dashcams. Is there no end to their magic?

    The best Russian dashcam videos ever

    Pictured: last generation Ford Focus ST

  8. The Ssangyong Tivoli is here and it's really not that hideous to look at

    Long ago on Top Gear TV, Ssangyong recorded a whopping three nominations in the ‘Ugliest Car’ category of the awards section. With cars like the Kyron and Rodius, it wasn’t hard to see why.

    Which is why this is such a pleasant surprise. It’s called the Tivoli, and will be revealed in proper at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. It’s not bad, is it?

    It’s an SUV, obviously, with a choice of petrol or diesel 1.6-litre engines on offer, as well as 2WD and 4WD. And the name? From Italy, no less: Tivoli is a small town near Rome.

    Yeah, we weren’t expecting that either. Your thoughts?

  9. Women drivers are faster and less crashy than men

    Data from a telematics provider has concluded that female drivers of rental cars are more likely to exceed the speed limit than their male counterparts.

    The data also revealed that women returned fewer cars to the rental company with damage than men did.

    Monitoring the hire of over 10,000 rental vehicles over a six-month period, In-Car Cleverness reported that female customers exceed speed limits 17.5 per cent more often than men, though men were five times more likely to cause damage.

    Obviously no men in the employ of Top Gear would ever cause damage to a rental car.

  10. This year's Formula E championship will be decided in central London

    Organisers of Formula E, the FIA’s all-electric race series, have announced that the final two races of this year’s championship will be held in Battersea Park in central London.

    The racing will take place on 27 and 28 June, on a specially created two-mile track just south of the River Thames.

    Brit racer Sam Bird - who drives for Formula E outfit Virgin Racing - described the track layout as offering “fast straight, high-speed bends, […] challenging chicanes and braking zones.”

    “I think the London ePrix spectators will be treated to some close, fast racing with plenty of action and overtaking,” reckons Bird.

    There’s only way to counter this rampant crowd-pleasing e-behaviour, Bernie. An F1 Grand Prix along the Mall. And through Buckingham Palace. Make it happen.

What do you think?

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