Audi A1 for £350,000?

An Audi A1 designed by controversial artist Damien Hirst has been auctioned for £350,000 at Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball.

The design of the one-off A1 is heavily influenced by the artist’s famous spin painting technique, although it looks like he’s just dropped a few buckets of paint over the top.

When the new Audi A1 goes on sale in October it will cost from £13,145 slightly less than this version.

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2010 Budget: What It Means For Motorists

Want to know how the emergency budget will affect you as a motorist? Here are the main points:

VAT Increase
Vat is going up from 17.5% to 20% from 4th January 2011. So if you’re planning to buy a new car next year, whether you’re after a new Audi or a new Skoda, unless the manufacturer holds its prices, it’s likely you’ll be paying a few hundred quid more.

Insurance Tax Rises
Car Insurance is going up too – the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax will increase from 5% to 6% and the higher rate will go up from 17.5% to 20%.

Fuel Prices
Although this budget stated no new rises on fuel duty, the previously planned 1p rise on 1st October and 0.76p on 1st January 2011 are still going ahead.

Company Car Tax Increases
Vehicles with higher emissions will be further penalised in this tax. From April next year, the 15% tax band will be lowered by 5g/km so that it includes cars putting out between 121 and 129g/km of CO2. Above that tax increases by 1% per 5g/km up to a maximum of 35%. Discounts on higher emitting hybrid cars such as the Lexus RX400h will also be removed.

Speed Cameras
The funding of speed cameras is shifting from central to local government, meaning local authorities will have to meet the costs themselves. This may mean no changes, or it could mean fewer cameras but more pressure for each one to pay for themselves.

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Black Cars ‘More Likely To Have Crash’

Black cars are almost 50% more likely to be involved in road accidents, a 20-year study has revealed.

The reason behind the high percentage is thought to be because of the low visibility of black cars, particularly at night.

During daylight black cars were up to 12 per cent more likely be involved in crashes than white vehicles, while at dawn and dusk, the figure rose to 47 per cent.

The safest colour cars were found to be white, gold, and yellow.

The study was conducted by researchers from Monash University in Melbourne using police data on more than 850,000 accidents across two decades.

It was found, however, that colour was a less important factor in causing accidents than drinking and speeding.

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Summer Driving Tips

Summer is here, apparently. And along with the usual invasion of wasps, bees and flies to annoy us, we also, very occasionally, get blessed with high temperatures and a nice bit of sun. Unfortunately the sun isn’t too kind to our cars and drivers, so here are a few tips to help you cope with the heat this summer:

Tyres – Check the tread and wear of the tyres making sure there are no cracks, bald patches or uneven surfaces. High summer temperatures can cause damage to the rubber causing punctures, so ensure the spare tyre is in good condition too. Always check tyre pressures before heading out on a journey.

Fluid Levels – Check the coolant level regularly, and top up if necessary, to avoid overheating. Check the coolant fan is working properly to ensure the engine temperature doesn’t get too hot. It’s also wise to check the brake, clutch and power steering fluids as well as the oil before a long journey.

Once you’ve set off on your journey, be careful to avoid driving fatigue, which can be accelerated by high temperatures. Fresh air or turning up the radio can help in the short term, but it’s important to take a 20 minute break from driving every 2 hours.

Turning on the air conditioning can help in the heat, most new cars now come with air conditioning either as standard or as an option, such as the new Mini Cooper and Vauxhall Corsa, however it will also use more fuel so don’t leave it on for too long. Ensure all windows are shut before you switch the air conditioning on, and once the car has been cooled, turn it down or switch it off to avoid wasting fuel. Ensuring the air conditioning system is serviced regularly will help to keep it efficient and hygienic.

If you park in the sun, try to find a shady spot, or use a windscreen shade to help keep temperatures down within the car. Open the doors as soon as you return to the car to help lower the temperature inside the car. This will help to cool the interior so that you are not so reliant on the air conditioning.

Another problem faced by many motorists in the summer is glare from the sun. To avoid glare, try to keep a pair of sunglasses in the car, and if you need glasses to drive, make sure they are prescription sunglasses. Cleaning the windscreen regularly inside and out to remove smears, which can catch the sunlight, can also help to reduce glare. Renewing worn or damaged wiper blades will also help to improve vision in the summer.

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Things We Learnt From Dad About Cars

Sunday was Father’s Day – did you forget?? Hopefully not. After all, its the one day we can truly appreciate our dads and everything they do for us. One of the things a lot of dads do, is teach their kids about cars. My dad definitely tried to teach me a lot about cars, actually how much of it went it I don’t know. So here’s the rundown on dad’s teaching:

How To Drive

Most people learn to drive with a registered driving instructor, but that doesn’t mean your can’t have a few “top-up lessons” with dear old dad. I certainly did, although how much benefit it actually was I don’t know. I think I benefitted after I had gained some confidence in my driving, but it didn’t help at the beginning. I suppose it depends on whether your dad is a good teacher or not. And how patient a student you are. Fair to say, me and my dad clashed a few times when he was teaching me to drive. But the day you pass that test, there’s no-one prouder than your dad.

Car Maintenance

Along with teaching us actually how to drive a car, our dads also love to impart wisdom on car care and maintenance. When I was a kid my dad would encourage me and my brothers to wash the car with him on a Sunday morning – even though I would much rather be inside watching cartoons. Not that it did much good – I still manage to make my car look all streaky now, and find it a lot easier to pay someone else to clean my car. He also showed me under the bonnet – checking the oil, washer fluid levels, that sort of thing as well as checking the tyres. Although, I still can’t actually change a tyre – I must learn how to do this one day…

How To Buy A Car

So when it’s finally time to buy your new Ford Ka or Vauxhall Corsa, dad is also there to offer his advice. Dads love a bargain – remember the price you see isn’t the price you pay. Haggle! I remember when I was looking for my first car, the most important factor was colour. My dad wasn’t happy about that. Nevertheless I still got my way, found a lovely little car I liked, then dad went in and did all the boring stuff.

But always remember, if ever anything does go wrong, dad will be there on the other end of the phone to sort everything out. Good old dad 🙂

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Final Focus RS to get White Wheels

The final Focus RS models are currently arriving at Ford dealers across the UK. And as a final treat, Ford is offering a specials set of white-painted rims as an option to commemorate the end of RS production.

The 19 inch rims will be available from £500 including VAT.

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Top 5 WAG Cars

As it’s the World Cup at the mo (in case you hadn’t noticed), I thought it would be nice to have a rundown of our favourite WAG (wives & girlfriends for those not in the know….) motors.

Don’t you just love WAGS? I do, I find them fascinating. I love it how everyone hates them, yet everyone is secretly a little bit jealous of them – admit it, you are. So here you go:

By far the most popular car of choice for a WAG is the Range Rover. Yes, those wags love a 4×4, and it seems they like to keep it British too. A variety of wags have a Range Rover including Abi Clancy, Danielle Lloyd and the Queen of Wags herself, Victoria Beckham.

Now while big off-roaders certainly have their advantages, there are some occasions when a sporty two-seater will do the job nicely. And they don’t get much more sporty or luxurious than the £197,000 Aston Martin DBS – the car of choice of Alex Curran, Stevie G’s wife, when she’s out and about in Liverpool.

Not all WAGS go for expensive supercars or big, garish off-roaders – Carly Zucker (Joe Cole’s wife) drives about in a BMW 3 Series convertible.

Audi Q7 Scotland

One of my favourite, and undoubtedly one of the nicest (technically, former) WAGS around, Louise Redknapp, chooses an Audi Q7 to drive around. Despite being so nice, she still manages to pick up the odd parking ticket now and then…

And of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the one and only Colleen Rooney. Only a few years ago, Colleen was meeting Wayne dressed in her school uniform and a puffa jacket. Now she’s cruising around in a Lamborghini Gallardo roadster. Very nice. Talk about rags to riches!

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