Red tape puts brakes on globe-trotting car

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 January, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 January, 2000, 12:00am

The driver of a remote-control car with no steering wheel has run into trouble with the SAR authorities during a 60,000km world tour.

Inventor Fernando Lopez, 34, from Argentina, and co-driver Osvaldo Malvestitti, 64, have completed the European and Middle Eastern legs of the tour since starting last September in Buenos Aires.

They flew in on an Israeli cargo plane a week ago, hoping to drive from Hong Kong to Beijing.

But their car has been stuck at Chek Lap Kok because the Transport Department has refused to issue a release permit for it.

'They ask me which side the steering wheel is located - left or right - and what can I tell them?' Mr Lopez said.

He has now given up hope and is arranging to ship the car, a two-wheel drive about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, to the United States to continue the trip. They expect to be home by April.

The Fingo is so called because fingers touching the flat panel sensor on the dashboard are enough to control and steer the vehicle. It can also be run by remote control.

While Mr Lopez acknowledged the car was not the first non-steering-wheel vehicle, it would be the first one to start and complete a world journey.