A miniature Hummer that hums along - but at a price

Good news right now for anyone hot to buy a Hummer H2 - lots are available. Well, a dozen or so. Not so much with the smaller H3 though, which was sold here new through some Holden dealers.

But wait, here's an alternative for those who hanker for a smaller Hummer ... a really smaller Hummer. A UK company, Prindiville, is making a miniature version powered not by a giant diesel or thirsty petrol engine, but electricity.

The plug-in hybrid can hum along for about 100km on its set of fully charged lithium-ion batteries. Buyers can choose various options including 15- or 18-inch wheels.


Prindiville plans to build 25 examples of the Electric Hummer, each with a price tag of, gulp, $40,000. Heck, some of the used H2s aren't going for much more than that.

Snakes on a plain

"The coil's playing up." "I'm just going for a fang." "This car's a bit of a squeeze."

Sorry, just got carried away with an item about a couple that found a 4.8m rock python under the bonnet of their Renault. They were in South Africa's Kruger National Park looking at lions when the female reptile slithered from the grass and under their car.

When it did not reappear, Marlene Swart and Leon Swanepoel gingerly opened the bonnet and found it lying quite happily on the engine.

So they did what anyone would do and drove to the next lookout station, several kilometres away, with the python still under the bonnet. "It was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Swart after it was coaxed out. "I was totally in shock and terrified."

Uncle Sam invades China market

Spurred by rival Buick's success in China, Lincoln is entering the market with its own dealer network and high hopes.

Ford's luxury brand reckons that by the end of this decade the market for luxury cars in China will grow to around 2.7 million sales a year.

It's a market being actively contested by such makes as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but Lincoln hopes it can attract buyers who want to show off their wealth by offering cars specifically tailored to their tastes. That's probably Lincoln's code for a long wheelbase and lots of bling.

'But officer, I thought I was in Texas ...'

Texas has approved a new 85mph (137km/h) top speed for a stretch of highway, making it the state with the highest speed limit in the US.

The high-speed section is a 66km stretch of State Highway 130.

Texans were strongly in favour of the rev-up, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety was opposed. "The research is clear that when speed limits go up, fatalities go up," a spokesman growled.

The fastest allowed speed in most states is 75mph, although several highways in West Texas and Utah have an 80mph limit.

Advertising the crime

When the Ford dealership in Fort McMurray, Alberta, was burgled, dealer principal Marty Giles offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could provide clues to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

He pledged another $10,000 to charity.

Then he used radio ads to get the message out, warning: "I get a great deal on commercials, and I'll run them forever until you get caught."

On the other hand, maybe they listen to the Canadian equivalent of the non-commercial Concert Programme.

The name game
Chevrolet Nova: You can't fault Chevy's thinking here, except that in the Central and South American markets "No va" means "it doesn't go". Years later GM discovered that the "-cona" part of Ascona, the name of its mid-size car, meant 'female genitalia' in Portugal and Spain.

We are the world
*The median annual per-capita income in the New York City borough of the Bronx is about $22,000. In the adjacent borough of Manhattan, a resident of a condominium on East Eleventh Street was about to pay more than 50 times that amount ... just for a parking space. But it was a deluxe space that could be configured to take as many as two cars, so money well spent, then.

*Some business owners in London are decorating their store fronts with giant pictures of babies in the hope they will deter criminals and rioters.

*There must have been a better way: a woman in Thailand committed suicide by jumping into the crocodile pit at a crocodile farm outside Bangkok.

*British designer Rachel Freire has fashioned a dress out of 3000 cow nipples: " What I am doing is recycling." We see your point, Rachel.

*An American gent calling himself Bacon Moose has paid his $137 traffic ticket with 137 dollar bills, each folded into an origami pig - delivered in two doughnut boxes.