The Good Oil: Forget the Lada jokes

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It's only a concept vehicle, but can you imagine the Lada of old coming up with anything remotely as sexy?

Rated as one of the big surprises at the Moscow motor show, the Lada X Ray is the work of British designer Steve Mattin. He's brought good credentials to the Russian company, having designed the Volvo XC60 and Mercedes ML-Class.

The X Ray is unlikely to make it to production, but Lada says its design themes will influence the shape of future models.

The name is said to originate from the cross shape created by the headlights and grille.

In safe hands with Ferrari
Tim Rinaldi was riding his zero-turn mower when it rolled and made him paraplegic. A keen drag racer, he wasn't about to give up his need for speed. Enter the Ferrari 458 Italia with Kempf Darios (Digital Accelerator Ring Optimised for Speed) hand controls.

Not your average mobility vehicle but, hey ... it already had paddle shifters, unlike his manual clutch-operated Porsches, a 2007 GT3 RS and a 2008 GT2.

An advantage of Darios is that installation is relatively unobtrusive. The accelerator is controlled by a ring over the steering wheel, and the handbrake is mounted to the right.

Rinaldi now plans to be the first disabled motorcycle road racer to take on the Isle of Man TT track, on a bike he is designing himself.

Vroom with a view
Big-city parking can be such a bore, but a new luxury high-rise in Singapore has a solution.

The Hamilton Scotts apartment building features "Ensuite Sky Garages" that use a lift to deliver cars to homeowners' premium pads.

To park, residents pull into a designated spot and use a biometric thumb scan to send the car to the appropriate apartment, where it is parked behind a glass wall off the living room.

So it's probably not quite right for a dirty old ute.

The building's website says it has 54 three-bedroom, 3.5-bath apartments and two "uber luxurious penthouses".

"I say, dear, the Aston's looking lovely tonight."

The name game Ford Cortina
Ford named its hugely successful family car, built from 1962 to 1982, after the Italian ski resort Cortina d'Ampezzo, site of the 1956 Winter Olympics. Several Cortinas were driven down the bobsled run as a publicity stunt. More than a million were built, so the stunt must have worked.

Ride on, Doctor Baucom
After getting stuck in a traffic jam on a highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dr Catherine Baucom borrowed a friend's daughter's bike and matching princess safety helmet and pedalled off to perform a scheduled operation.

Part way there, cops stopped the intrepid six-footer to ask why she was riding a 7-year-old's pink bike.

The officers stifled their urge to reach for their ticket books and provided a ride the rest of the way.

The doctor made it to her patient on time, and got to keep the princess helmet as a memento.

Running from the cops, Dubai style
So you've just spent the thick end of $100,000 on modifications to make your luxury V8 Nissan Patrol SUV - the new one we don't get here - to go faster, much faster.

How do you give it a good test to make sure it's running well on the aviation gas and that it really will top 300km/h?

If you're in Dubai, running from cops charged with clamping down on illegal street racing is one possibility. The owner of this Patrol on steroids gave it a go when asked to pull over, but ended up in handcuffs after a "Hollywood-style" high-speed chase.

He was charged with reckless driving, unlawful car modifications, expired registration and resisting police.

The man who, appropriately, gave his occupation as a pilot, told police that his vehicle was modified at a local garage.

Good Oil would like one of those garages in its neighbourhood.

Purely for routine servicing, of course.

We are the world
Chicago police arrested a man they believed had, just minutes earlier, used a Bobcat front-end loader to crash through the window of a Family Dollar store to steal two cans of deodorant and a handful of gift cards ... and nothing else.

Mazda has stopped building cars in the US where it shared a factory in Michigan with Ford. US-bound Mazda6 production now moves to Mexico but will come out of Japan from 2014.

In New York a group called the Innard Circle dines at obscure ethnic restaurants on dishes such as camel's eyeball and bull's diaphragm. One member admitted "an element of showing off" and acknowledged that not all first-timers return for a second meal.

The way it usually happens on a holiday trip is that after a rest stop Mum and Dad fail to notice, until well down the road, that one of the kids is not on board. But the member one family left behind at a Memphis rest stop was Dad and, for 160km, no one even noticed.

Monster gets monstered
Japanese driver Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima, well known for his incredibly quick times in the Race to the Sky hillclimbs at Cardrona, now probably wishes he didn't use a new-technology electric vehicle to defend his title at America's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

His E-Runner Pikes Peak Special caught fire, so the genial Japanese racer had to sit on the sideline and watch someone else not only win, but break his course record.

Monster vows to be back to have another go next year.

- NZ Herald

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