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Edition # 11
Car news with Jason Mack - the spy in the cab
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I've Got A Semi
3 wheel car THE FIAT SEMI-TONE

The world of tiny cars was rocked by Fiat's latest contribution to the economy debate - the Semi-Tone. Seen here before being tested by auto journos, the Semi-Tone promises fuel efficiency of up to 103 mpg and a top speed of 85 mph. Advance orders are said to be "steady and encouraging" as the consumer muses over this latest addition to the small car market. With oil prices rising again and ecology a growing concern for the modern motorist, Fiat may well have struck gold with this unassuming and reasonably priced runabout.

Wreckered road test
I took the Semi-Tone for a spin around the crowded streets of Glasgow and found myself both delighted and disgusted by this car. Overall, and there is not a lot of all anywhere over this car, it delivers what it says on the tin - tremendous fuel economy at the expense of ....

Read the full review and road test for the Fiat Semi-Tone

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hands free balaclava


The latest in hands-free gadgetry is set to storm Europe and comes in the form of a balaclava with built in bluetooth technology . The Phonaclava has swept Japan and will shortly be available in the UK, offering drivers a host of essential features including hands-free mobile kit, wi-fi, hi-fi, UV bluetooth, infra-red messaging, deep purple wizardry and a telescopic ariel capable of picking up picture messages from the moon.

Availalable in red, black or silver, the Phonaclava is set to wow the British market and replace traditional hands-free systems with a new and integrated balaclava-like delivery platform. The deluxe model includes a radar gun detector in the chinpiece providing real time data streams to the rest of the balaclava. Glosso 17 Industries promise a host of add-ons including personalised voicemail messages, ringtones and a series of "fun antlers".

Phonaclava designer Yoshio Taguro told wreckered, "It is basically a balaclava with batteries and all that stuffed inside it. There's a bit behind the right ear where you can put in a new simcard." He offered his analysis of the Phonaclava craze which has swept Japan. "People just lke to feel that they can drive in an open top vehicle and be able to use a hands-free system, but yet retain some informal privacy from within a balaclava."
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Using the same technology as the UAV drones employed by the US military, British traffic cops are set to enlist a new weapon in the war against drivers - flying speed cameras. The UAC (unmanned ariel camera) devices can fly for 8 hours over huge distances while being controlled from afar by a police technician in a Virtual Traffic Control Centre. The camera drones can also be programmed to fly in pre-set flight paths, for instance snapping unwary speeders over a particular 50 mile stretch of the M6. "It is nothing less than flying CCTV coverage" said traffic cop Andy McPartland.
The plan has brought combined outrage from an unlikely alliance of human rights groups and motoring organisations. John Ross, spokesperson for "Freedom to Throttle" told wreckered "Once more we see the grasping claw of the nanny state clenched around the throat of liberty." Nigel Buckland, currently taking a year out, dismissed the protests of drivers, but sounded a note of warning. "It's, like, machine against machine. The spy planes are watching the cars. In, like, ten years, humans will be assimilated - sort of like a Borg thing."

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From our Fife correspondent Keith Foster

A Fife village is set to follow Edinburgh’s lead and introduce congestion charging in an attempt to reduce its traffic levels. Residents in Thornton, in Central Fife, hope the move will prevent outsiders from passing through their village. David Crichton, chairman of the local community council said: “There’s no need for anyone who doesn’t live here to ever come here, yet Main Street’s still dead busy. I mean, there’s a f****** bypass and everything.”

Fife Council issued a statement saying that the Thornton Bypass – constructed in the early 80's following public consultation which suggested that most Fife residents would be quite happy if Thornton was completely forgotten about – has proven to be a success, yet the local authority is supportive of the charging scheme: “People have had the option to pretend Thornton doesn’t exist for over twenty years now. We’re confident that, by charging motorists to enter Thornton, nobody who shouldn’t be there will ever go there.”

Asked if he was worried that congestion charging may deter tourists from visiting Thornton, Mr Crichton made no comment, choosing instead to smirk. Both the community council and the local authority are hopeful the scheme will prove more successful than a similar scheme in Oakley, near Dunfermline, which attempted to charge motorists for not entering their village. The scheme was eventually abandoned on the grounds it was mental.
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