back to article Italian white van man nudges sound barrier

An Italian driver faces a €165 fine and three points off his licence for impressively nudging the speed of sound in a Fiat Doblo. The white van speed merchant was clocked gunning it in the small town of Orio, west of Brindisi, in the heel of Italy's boot. Cops were somewhat surprised to record his speed as 1,230 km/h, meaning …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    absolute rubbish

    1230 kmph is 764 mph.

    The maximum speed of a Fiat Doblo is 75pm, or 120 kmph.

    Some idiot doesn't know how decimal points work and wrote a moronic story without doing any fact checking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Has it occurred to you that this is newsworthy not because anyone believes he was doing that speed, but because the Speed Camera returned a completely incorrect speed?

      That's how I read it, especially knowing how inaccurate Gatso's can be.

      Perhaps you might like to check the facts before venting!

      1. Laurent_Z

        Guiness Book of Records !!!

        As the picture from a speed camera managed by state is legally considered a formal proof, I suggest he sends his fine to the Guiness Book of Records :)

    2. Alfred

      No, really?

      Who do you think actually missed the point here? Here's a clue in the "state the obvious" style you prefer; it's you.

      1. Random Glitch

        Look before you leap

        Irony is a cruel mistress, she has such a good sense of humour and you're the joke.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      top speed?

      Nearer 110mph on a gps. Not 75.

    4. tardigrade

      Re: absolute rubbish

      You Sir are a genius.

      You have perfected the perfect Trolling post. Deliberately missing the point and replying with a conviction that is a guarantee to ire any sensible person and yet at the same time invicting enough doubt in your understanding of the obviousness of the articles irony that you can at the same time be considered to be a genuine dolt. Of course this is the desired result and you will be healthily fed as a reward. Even if admittedly the source material is a gift to you this is still a commensurate achievement.


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    absolute bullsh!t

    Fiat Doblo have a maximum speed of 120 km/h. Some idiot journalist doesn't know what decimal points mean and read 123.0km/p as 1230. The van's engine would have exploded well before it reached that speed.

    1. Horridbloke


      You're new here, aren't you?

      1. frank ly

        @Horridbloke re. you're new..

        Not only is he new, somebody forgot to take the plastic sheet off his face; so he's suffering from oxygen starvation.

    2. Jason McQueen


      Are you REALLY blaming the journo here for missing a decimal point? How about the possibility of faulty speed traps or a error at the admin side of the Police force?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Not before the tyres caught fire and the drivers eyes popped from the pressure.

    4. Liam Johnson
      Thumb Up


      Thanks for pointing that out to us.

      1. Cynical Observer


        Where we're going we don't need roads

    5. Urh


      Journalists are famously inept when it comes to matters mathematical. During the recent floods in Queensland there were at least a couple of hilarious numerical stuff-ups. One newspaper reported that, according to one farmer, 30,000 pigs had been swept away by flood waters. It turns out the journo had misheard the farmer saying "30 sows and pigs." A misread news wire also resulted in one TV anchor claiming that a predicted 40 meter rise in the level of a river was in fact going to be a 80 - 90 meter rise (the numbers were actually 14, 18 and 19).

      I always thought good listening and comprehension skills were a prerequisite for journalism. Clearly I was wrong.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Actually....


  3. Anonymous Coward

    Bloodhound take note..

    whats taking you guys so long.. the Italians are nearly there!

  4. Annihilator Silver badge

    Sounds about right

    Hypothetically, if a white van man were to be behind Thrust SSC on a road, it's a fair bet that they'd be tailgating it. So yes, I can quite see this happening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Many years ago Top Gear proved this

      back when it was a car show, Clarkson (IIRC) was testing a Lotus Esprit against a van - at a claimed 140 mph there was the van in the rear view

      Of course it was Clarkson - so maybe a few fibs ;)

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Well done that man! he still didn't turn up until 11:30 to fix the damn plumbing though...

  6. JohnG Silver badge

    Here it is in Italian with a copy of the ticket:

  7. Nick Galloway

    He'll get off then!?

    Even without the need to call on his Godfather, he is sure to get off. If he doesn't I can see him visiting Bonneville later in the year or selling the vehicle to Fiat for a good deal more than he paid for it. Imagine, a ferrari performance white van!?

    1. MrT

      Perhaps he drove...

      ...the Fiat version of this:

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Dacia Sandero lover

    To feed or not to feed.. that indeed is the question.

  9. Psmiffy

    absolute absolute

    Speed of irony has a maximum velocity of 2 anonymous cowards. Some idiot reader-commentards don't know what a sense of humour is and just posted silly replies.


    1. There's a bee in my bot net

      New unit of measurement?

      Irony <= 2ac but is that per hour, per minute or per second?

  10. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Just got back from Italy

    I was driven to the airport on Monday by an Italian taxi driver who could certainly have broken the sound barrier all while talking on his mobile phone.

    I figured the best course of action was to make sure my seatbelt was tight, sit quietly in the back and allow my wife to gently squeeze the blood out of my hand as she held it.

    I have never seen so many cars with dents in them in my life.

    All UK drivers you are forgiven!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      that's positively serene and smooth in comparison with a drive from airport to hotel in India (Chennai)

    2. IsJustabloke
      Thumb Up

      I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

      Cars sold in Italy are "pre-accidented", the purchaser chooses the number, size and type of dent from a special options list.

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    Not surprised.

    It all depends what was in front of him.

    Everyone knows that white panel vans are the fastest vehicles ever made by man. This is easily proved as it doesn't matter what you are driving or how fast you are going, there will inevitably be a white van right up your chuff and flashing its lights to pass.

    The interesting question is what the heck was he trying to overtake at the time.....?

    1. Ball boy

      what was he overtaking?

      ...another white van, natch.

      As you say, there's nothing faster....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        two white vans overtaking

        each other around a roundabout...

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some kind of trolling, presumably?

      AC is new and doesn't understand moderator lag so on not seeing his/her comment appear immediately thinks something has gone wrong and repeats it. Timestamp is time a comment is published not the time it was written.


  13. Ball boy

    White van man in Doppler gun run

    C'mon Lester, you're known for good subtitles but you're missing an opportunity for a good^H^H^H pun!

    What's all this about checking facts and engines exploding? Umm... you're not taking this reporting as a factual event, surely? Tell me the readers of El Reg have more common sense than /that/....

    Mine's the one with a plaid effect. I call it my Reality Check (geddit?) No, oh, never mind...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fastest thing on the road

    Everybody who has used a motorway, or driven round town, knows that the fastest thing on the roads is a white van!

    Sports car manufacturers have missed a trick, as the white colouring and boxy aerodynamics causes an exponential shift in spacetime, especially when a delivery is late.

    1. Code Monkey

      "especially when a delivery is late"

      When the driver's late for his cuppa more like!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    My top speed was only 533km/h, but it was for 24 solid hours...

    Driving home late one night, in a borrowed, battered old ford fiesta, I was pulled up by the pigs and given a producer. At almost exactly the same time the next night, I was driving the same car home and got pulled again and given a second producer. I kept photocopies, because the first shows the mileage as 80,000 and the second as 88,000, so I have official police documentation to show that I must have been driving at a steady 333 MPH without stopping to sleep or piss for the entire 24 hours between the two pulls.

    And I didn't even get any points on my licence!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In a Ford Fiesta

      at that speed, no one bothers to stop for a piss.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        If I discovered that I was going at that speed in a Fiesta it would be way to late to think about /choosing/ to take a piss...

      2. PsychicMonkey

        Richard Hammond

        stopped for a shit at that speed, well he probably had the shit before he stopped but you know what I mean....

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Top Speed

      The stated top speed of the Fiat Panda 1000S is 96mph. I can safely say that I have seen this exceeded (not by me!) by up to 10mph by a completely unmodified, 15+ year old, Fiat Panda 1000S.

      It's just a matter of not caring if the car goes bang or not.

      1. Richard 120


        If you're going downhill with a tailwind

      2. Olafthemighty
        Thumb Up

        You're not wrong about the Panda!

        I was a driver for a BMW garage in the early '90's; we had a Panda as our chase car and it would regularly do (indicated) 95mph+ on the M3 with 4 not particularly small occupants.

        Other people's cars are so much fun!

      3. MrT
        Thumb Up

        That's how small Itallian cars should be driven...

        ...flat out and don't stop until the valves jump through the bonnet and dance around on top.

        Fond memories of a particularly fun New Year's Day in the mid-90's hooning about in the Welsh hills 4-up in a Panda 4x4... unstoppable!

  17. Ian Michael Gumby

    So what's the mph on that vehicle?


    I wonder how long it took to get up to speed, and how large a fuel tank it had, plus what type of suspension was on the car along with the tires?

    And when can we get these in the US?

    I bet I could sell a fleet to FedEx and then to all of those Pizza Hut delivery guys who have to get the pizza there in 30 mins or less.

    PS. Do I really need to add the <sarcasm> tags? :-P

  18. Snake Plissken

    1230kph? Pah.

    That is nothing compared to the speeds of twunts in their BMWs and Audis in the outside lane of the M25 most days.

  19. min

    so plod everywhere...

    ...are finding these rampant speeders with their Jedi-like powers of concentration and control.

    to the AC who posted those two really dumb comments....thanks. you affirm my belief in evolution.

  20. Richard 23

    Since when....

    ... was La Repubblica a Spanish laguage newspaper?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not.

      The Spanish newspaper quotes La Repubblica. A case of unfortunate phrasing.

  21. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Europe doesn't use a decimal point.

    One thousand point three in English is 1,000.3 but in Italian I think it's 1.000,3 so there is scope for confusion, particularly with equipment sold across the single European market. I think the SI formula is "1 000,3" where the decimal indicator is your own choice.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    He must've been.....

    ....trying to RUN AWAY from something!!

    Well, he is Italian!

    (Flames and messages of xenophobic hatred to Top Gear c/o BBC2)

    1. Richard 120


      that would have worked better if he was French?

      1. IsJustabloke

        I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

        Don't be silly, the *FRENCH* would have been standing quite still, hands in the air....

    2. Cliff

      Do you mind?!

      Italian stereotypes should be limited to Mafia and spaghetti themes. Do you know nothing?!

    3. asdf


      perhaps she runs faster than her father. That is why she is still Italian virgin oil.

  23. Chas



    The problem with the fella tailgating Thrust SSC is that when Andy Greene bangs on the afterburner, he'll go from regular to extra crispy in about half a second...

    Wait a minute... on second thoughts...

    <searches frantically on eBay for a second-hand Rolls-Royce Spey />


  24. Anonymous Coward

    Funny Story...

    Back in my military days I saw a hilarious incident with a radar speed gun. I was the officer in charge of the section that did all the calibration of electronic measuring equipment. It was a standing order that all electronic measuring equipment had to be recalibrated at least every year. We would then put a little sticker on the equipment with the date of calibration on it.

    The Military Police got themselves a new speed gun and promptly caught my Warrant Officer speeding on base. His first question to the Military Police was, "When was that device last calibrated." The MP Corporal looked blank since it had never been calibrated. As soon as my Warrant Officer knew this he confiscated the speed gun.

    Funny stories aside, because these speed guns usually work on a doppler effect it is actually very hard go get a frequency shift large enough to cause an error of this magnitude. Even if you happen to hit a moving part in the engine, or moving parts on the wheels, none of these parts can be doing anything close to the speed of sound. This means in this case it is likely to be either a faulty radar, or interference. The latter is very likely if the radar gun in question is X band.

    1. Stevie Silver badge


      Around thirty years ago some UK plod were getting (and attempting to prosecute on the basis of) similar stupid numbers. It turned out that they were "gunning" people on a stretch of road that paralleled an airfield runway. The high speeds were, of course, down to the jets making their run for takeoff as the cars passed.

      Naturally, the police were unaware of the potential for erroneous pings in such situations and had picked the spot "randomly".

      It took ages before anyone successfully challenged a prosecution because the five-o were careful not to submit anything *too* outrageous for further action.

      1. Cliff

        rotation speed

        is typically 70-100-ish knots IAS (Indicated Air Speed - so if there's a headwind as is usual, this will mean the ground speed is correspondingly slower) - I doubt any civil craft were taking off at 500kts ;-)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imagine what sort of speed he could have got to

    had he got as far as second gear

  26. C 2

    WOW, they've gone plaid!

    Just a bit faster than ridiculous speed then ...

  27. Velv Silver badge

    Top Gear

    Of course its possible.

    Look at the Ford Transit on Top Gear in the race against the Aussies.

    If a Transit can beat a Ute, then a Doblo can beat a Transit!

  28. Pete 2

    Quite possible

    If the person with the speed gun was traveling at 1100kph in the other direction.

  29. VeganVegan

    Fiddly radar

    Anyone remember back in 1961, when the US early warning radar system saw the moon rise but thought it was a doomsday salvo from the soviets?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fiddly radar

      "Anyone remember back in 1961, when the US early warning radar system saw the moon rise but thought it was a doomsday salvo from the soviets?"

      Or the Russians nearly mistaking the rising sun for a salvo from the Americans in 1983? We owe a lot to Stanislav Petrov:

    2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Indeed I do

      As I recall, the Pentagon unclenched after noting that a) Kruschev was in town for a summit, and this seemed a bit violent for a Politburo reshuffle; b) the calculated ETA of the missiles was "never"; c) the calculated target was "nowhere on earth."

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    One has to hope that he opted to go to court and enter a plea of GUILTY to the charge.

    If nothing else, he then gets into the record books....

  31. Anonymous Coward

    this is the

    2 litre petrol injection engine

  32. John Savard Silver badge


    Noting that the Fiat Dobro is a family van, and not an exotic sports car, I have to think that the story, or the police radar, are in error.

    Andy Green, in the Thrust SSC, did drive a motor vehicle at a speed over that of sound... 1227.986 km/h... in Black Rock Desert, not on the highway. However, his vehicle was of specialized construction, having turbofans.

    Ah, and even though this happened in the U.S. of A., you Brits can be proud - he's an RAF pilot!

    1. Phil the Geek

      Feel the force

      If you ever have an hour to kill in Coventry, go to the Transport Museum - Thrust SSC is there along with the control caravan. They also have a simulator where you get a mild impression of what Andy Green felt. It was a brutally fast car - I guarantee you will grin when you see the speedo numbers flash by as it gets into its stride.

  33. Fuh Quit
    Thumb Up

    What is annoying is the leniency of the fine

    If you managed that speed in the UK, you'd be looking at a 56-day ban :-D

    €165 is a bargain and Italy is 20 minutes drive from me. I know what I'm doing this arvo!!

  34. Your Retarded
    Dead Vulture

    To the author, unfortunate ACs, their antagonists, and others speculating

    It seems to be general consesus that there must be some error in the claim of such massive speed. However, isn't the point that the person writing the article should have reported on what the mistake was, rather than presenting the quite obvoiusly false information as fact?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: To the author, unfortunate ACs, their antagonists, and others speculating

      You mean a Fiat Doblo can't actually reach the speed of sound? Blast, I've just paid a deposit a second-hand one for just that reason. (Tints, alloy wheels, one careful owner, afterburner)

      1. MrT
        Thumb Up

        "Alloy Wheels"

        That'd be the solid alloy, no-tyre-at-all option then ;-)

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: "Alloy Wheels"

          Yup, 97 per cent titanium/aluminium with three per cent pedantium thrown in to prevent catastrophic high-speed sense of humour failure.

  35. Geoff Johnson

    Just short of breaking the sound barrier.

    He beat thrust SSC by just over 2kph. Therefore he must have broken the sound barrier.

    If only he could have gone the other way too, he would have the land speed record and two speeding tickets.

    1. min

      the speed of sound

      would be dependant on said Doblo's immediate environs being at a certain pressure/temperature. therefore it could theoretically have been moving faster than our Thrust SSC, but still not have broken the 'sound barrier'.

      wuold've done a great job melting up the roads though.

  36. Wize

    Was the number 1230 anywhere on the van?

    Or was the time 12:30?

    The 406 which was clocked at 406MPH (not 653k/h as it was in the UK) probably had someone reading the wrong number

  37. Anonymous Coward

    If we're going to be picky...

    ...The town's called Oria, not 'Orio'

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