Elkann, grandson of the late Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli, has called out Renault, claiming the French manufacturer has clearly ripped off the design of its latest Twingo from the Fiat 500.

While The Good Oil suggests that any vague similarities will more likely be down to the fact that they are both small and round (which is hardly a patented design cue), it is amusing to note that the Renault Twingo is rear-engined and rear-wheel drive - quite unlike the current front-wheel drive Fiat 500, but just like the original 500 that was a smaller version of the Fiat 600, which was in turn pretty much an unashamed knock-off of the Volkswagen Beetle ...

We are the world
*A major highway in Dallas was thrown into utter chaos after a large number of drivers appeared to suffer terminal brain fade at the same time and turned around to drive in the opposite direction following a truck crash that blocked the highway. A television station reported that following a large truck overturning on the I-635 ''dozens of drivers decided the best course of action was to turn around and drive the wrong way on the highway''. After police intervened, the drivers got turned back in the right direction and traffic began to unsnarl itself.

*When police in Spain spotted an elderly Renault Espace with what appeared to be an extremely heavy load in the back and pulled it over, they were surprised to find a tractor jammed in the back. It seems the driver was selling the tractor for scrap and thought the best way to get it there was to turn his people mover into scrap while doing it. He was fined for carrying excess weight.


Ad agency pokes fun at electric carmaker

Tesla Motors has suffered a major defeat in its desire to sell its cars directly to the public across the US after New Jersey's decision to ban direct sales and require new cars to be sold through a distributor (franchised dealership).

This is part of a larger ongoing battle that Tesla is waging with car dealers across the US as it attempts to sell its cars via small, factory-owned shops usually located in shopping malls.

While the defeat is a major setback for Tesla, one of its rivals in the electric car game saw the opportunity to have a bit of a laugh. The agency that runs Nissan's Twitter account was quick to tweet the above photo to rub it in a bit.

However, Nissan didn't see the funny side and quickly ordered the amusing tweet be deleted.

Future's bright, baby

Now, it is no secret that The Good Oil is particularly fond of classic racing car liveries on modern cars (and pretty much anything else, for that matter), so it will be no surprise that these fantastic futuristic Jaegertech racing mechs in Gulf, Marlboro and Martini liveries are our current favourites.

The machines were designed by Alex Jaeger, an industrial designer and VFX art director at Industrial Light & Magic, the visual effects company founded by George Lucas.

Jaeger has been the VFX art director on films such as Star Trek, Pearl Harbour, Transformers, the most recent Star Wars movies and Pacific Rim.

He should, of course, now be put in charge of the future of Formula One: imagine 24 of these things sprinting and jumping around Monza ...

Everyone can have a go

Although the whole concept of open-source software is hardly new or revolutionary, the
concept of an open-source racing car is pretty unique. And that is exactly what a new British racing car constructor is offering to, well, literally anybody.

Perrinn myTeam is offering members of the public a special way to become involved in a project to develop, build and run a sports car which aims to compete at Le Mans
next year.

Through its interactive open source website (www.perrinn.com), students, school children, fans and engineers can, for the first time, get access to every element of the racing project including drawings, CAD models and even financial budgets.

With everything from livery design and teamwear right through to driver choice, suspension and aero data available online, Perrinn myTeam's approach will enable literally anybody to contribute, no matter what their experience.

So much data about the car will be available that it will even be possible to 3D print a model of the race car or download a version of the car to drive on the PC or simulator.

The project is the brainchild of Yorkshire-based race car designer Nicolas Perrin who has worked in F1 and sports car racing. Perrin says he came up with the open source idea
for the LMP1 racing car he designed as an alternative way to find backing for his 8.5 million ($16.4 million) project for the next two years.

''From my extensive time in F1 and even when I was designing sports cars for others, I saw how secretive motorsport really is, preventing fans, enthusiastic students and engineers from getting involved and learning,'' says Perrin.

''It doesn't have to be like that. We can create a true `people's team' and by opening everything up, we aim to not only build up a fan base that gets involved to improve the car but also attract backers who share our values.

``We are not an established brand, so we have to do something different. This is a very different way but I believe we can, together, get a result.''

Perrin is now searching for backers to enable him to build and test the first car by the end of this year. ''Backers will have access to our sharing community and be part of
a concept not seen anywhere else. I think that is very special,'' he says.

Number Crunching
3.5 METRES The length of the Renault Twingo.

3.65 METRES The length of the current Fiat 500.

3.2 METRES The length of the Fiat 600.

4.129 METRES The length of the original VW Beetle.