Very amusing, Max. I would suggest that perhaps Sheffield, like many cities, considers itself to be "The World" so perhaps your new description is not as grand as it seems at first glance. Of course, as a Yank I don't know anything about Sheffield except for seeing it as the location in The Full Monty (1997) and noting that people there speak "a rum sort of lingo", as Maj. Giles Flack would say.
By the way, the car in the photo is a Toyota iQ (sold as a Scion in the States), not a Smart car. Your wonderful description of maternal driving reminds me of Trevanian's Shibumi (1979). The hero owns a Volvo, but hates the way it runs. So he punishes the car by letting his always-partially-inebriated gardener drive the car. The gardener can't figure out how to get the car out of first gear, so it makes an awful racket when he drives it. This is a good thing because it gives other people in the road a chance to jump over hedges, etc., as per your description. The Volvo is so well built that it survives this abuse, and keeps on running -- badly.
Can you post a link to the entire article? I bet there's true comedic gold hidden in there :-)