Parallel parking done the extreme way
Here's a novel version of Park Assist - we bet at some time, all of us have had the dream of parking a car using the handbrake. You know the manoeuvre, often seen in films (a fine exponent of it is Elwood parking the Bluesmobile Dodge cop car outside the Chez Paul restaurant in Chicago); approach the desired space on the opposite side of the road, at speed, then whip the car round and neatly in to the kerb via a gratuitous 180-degree handbrake turn.
You might be surprised to know, however, that there's a Guinness World Record for this sort of stunt and a recent attempt has set a new best. Alastair Moffatt has performed the Tightest Parallel Park using a Fiat 500C 1.2 Cult. He managed to slot the Fiat between two other 500s that were a mere 7.5cm further apart than the length of his car. Apparently, all the cars were standard, with only a few slight tweaks to the 1.2 Cult - its ESC had to be disconnected, so the handbrake could be used to control the drift into the space, the tyre pressures were increased due to the abrasiveness of the surface (the stunt was performed at the Performance Car Show in the NEC at Birmingham, UK) and the stunt driver also added his own steering wheel-mounted knob to facilitate his record-breaking attempt.
Alastair, who previously held the record at 8.6cm, and also holds the records for the Tightest Double Parallel Park and Tightest Triple Parallel Park, said: "It's wonderful to have my record back! With the gap getting ever smaller, finding the right vehicle is increasingly important, so the light weight, agility, dimensions and parking-friendly shape of the Fiat 500 makes it perfect to getting into even the tightest parking spots."
Which means, if you've got a Fiat 500 and you prang it while trying to get into a massive space at the supermarket, you really have no excuses now...