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Urbee 3D printed car.
Urbee 3D printed car.

Classic Mercedes found under computer equipment after 40 years

Plus the world's first "printed" car goes on show, bikers stage protest against EU regulations, Prince William blunders in his father's Aston Martin and Harley-Davidson feeds 80,000 women in Africa.

One of only 29 alloy-bodied 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing coupés ever built has been found in a garage in California under a pile of computer equipment.

The classic Merc was found in the garage of Tom Welmers in Santa Monica after an investigation by the Vancouver Sun newspaper. Welmers was given the car as a gift by his parents for graduating from college. He drove it until the 1970s, when it broke down.

He tried to fix it but then never got around to finishing the job so it was laid up for 40 years, though the body hasn't rusted as it's made of alloy.

Rudi Koniczek, of Victoria, British Columbia-based shop Rudi and Company was called in to verify the find.

The fact the car has had just one owner adds hugely to its value, which is estimated to be more than US$1 million.

Koniczek says it took him, his friend and three labourers two 10-hour days before they could clear space to walk around the car. It was then that Koniczek lay a magnet on the body to confirm the lack of attraction, indicating alloy.

The car is now in Koniczek's shop under contract - ironically by a buyer in Santa Monica - to restore it.


World's first 'printed' eco-friendly car goes on display in Canada

The world's first "printed" car has gone on show in Canada for the first time.

The Urbee uses a special printer that builds up layer upon layer of material to form a solid object.

The technique, known as additive manufacturing, adds to the green credentials of the car, which uses electric motors, backed up by an ethanol-powered engine, which means the Urbee is capable of 1.4L/100km. Its single-cylinder engine generates just 8hp but it's able to reach up to 113kph.

The vehicle has been in development for several years but this is the first time the complete body has been seen.

Project leader Jim Kor hopes the car can go into production by 2014.

"It is building the part essentially one 'molecule' of material at a time, ultimately with no waste," he explains. "Our goal would be to use fully recycled materials."

Additive printing is increasingly being mooted as a means of distributing physical objects without them being shipped.

Estimated prices for the Urbee range from Dh36,730 to Dh183,650, depending on whether mass production can be attained.


Bikers' go-slow protest at EU

Thousands of motorcyclists took to motorways across the UK last week in a half-hour protest against EU plans.

Go-slow rides took place simultaneously from 100 starting points across the country over proposed anti-tampering measures to stop riders modifying or working on their bikes.

The bikers rode at 72kph for 10 miles as part of the EU Hands Off Biking demonstrations, organised by the Motorcycle Action Group.

In London, police stopped other traffic as about 600 motorcyclists poured onto the city's M25 ring road. Bikes ranging from trikes to sports bikes attended, with bikers making "victory" signs at onlookers.

Tuning a motorbike will be impossible and even self-servicing will be disrupted under the EU plan.

Diagnostic systems on the bike could detect non-standard parts and cause warning alerts until the bike is returned to its standard state by dealerships.

New bikes are also to get ABS under the plans, which are due to take effect from 2014.

The protests also showed support for bikers in Ireland and France who face having to wear high-visibility vests at all times under plans by their respective governments.


Right Royal blunder as Prince William leaves Aston's brake on

Handing over the keys to your prized possession to your son can be daunting but, for a wedding day, a father would usually oblige.

That's what Prince Charles did when giving son William the keys to his Aston Martin DB6 Volante for the royal wedding with Kate Middleton earlier this year.

Unfortunately, it's been revealed that the occasion got the better of William and he drove down the Mall in London to Clarence House with the handbrake on.

The right royal mess was revealed by The Sun's royal photographer Arthur Edwards.

"I was talking to Prince Charles," he said. "I asked: 'Did you mind him [William] borrowing your car?' He said: 'Oh, no. He asked me if he could use it.'"

But when Edwards said it looked like there was a problem with the 41-year-old sports car, Charles apparently answered: "Yes. Because he didn't take the handbrake off."

Motoring feels it would be harsh to castigate the royal too much, as we've been caught out too.


Harley-Davidson's charity event will feed 80,000 women in Africa

Harley-Davidson Middle East and North Africa has raised Dh75,660 for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), an amount that will feed more than 80,000 women in Africa.

The motorbike company raised the amount through a charity ride day last month that saw Harley riders take to the roads of the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

The money raised at the event, which also served as a launch day for new motorcycles for 2012, will help impoverished women in Africa.

Ashraf Hamouda, of WFP, says: "We are immensely grateful to Harley-Davidson and all their followers who participated.

"Women are key in the fight against hunger. If they are hungry, chances are their children will be too. With the help of Harley, we will be able to feed more than 80,000 women while empowering them with new skills and sending more girls to school."

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