Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Thinking outside the (Glass)boxx

We’ve always looked at ways to get our books known to as many enthusiasts and automotive fans as we can, which is why we began a programme of converting our printed titles into digital formats nearly ten years ago, and have been quietly converting and updating our catalogue ever since. 

With a big catalogue of almost 1000 books to assess, it's no surprise that we're still working away to improve and increase our digital offerings, and that's not limited to the books themselves.

If you're new to eBooks and digital publications, take a look at our eBook FAQs page, which answers the most common questions, including what you need to access ebooks and apps, and how to buy.

The big names in the eBook world – Apple, Amazon, and Google – unsurprisingly have the lion’s share of the market. But, in this age of big data, marketing algorithms, and digital footpritnts, some people prefer to avoid the big names, where possible.

Say hello to Glassboxx

With that in mind, we've added Glassboxx to our list of eBook vendors. Glassboxx, from the clever people at Firsty, provides a great new channel for all readers looking to avoid the 'Big Three,' or hoping to encourage a more diverse consumer environment.

Glassboxx is your one-stop app for eBooks and audio books, and is available – for FREE, of course – for iOS and Android devices. Plus, Glassboxx will soon have a Desktop reader available, so you can read your purchases on your laptop or PC.

Just like other vendors, Glassboxx lets us serve you digital content with built-in copy protection, so your purchases can only be read by you, and are safe and secure in the cloud and on your devices.

Buying with Glassboxx

Buying with Glassboxx is easy. Click the Glassboxx link on any product page, make a purchase, and you'll be directed to the app store for your device, so you can downloaded the reader app: enter the email you used when you bought your book, and you’ll have access to all your Glassboxx purchases!
You can find links to eBook versions (if available)
 beneath the book's specifications.

The app clearly labels publications to show the format, and, because all your books are stored in the cloud, once you've downloaded a book to a device, to quote Glassboxx:

Your books can be enjoyed to your heart’s content in the remotest, furthest-flung corners of the earth, where internet penetration is a mere pipe-dream

… or Dorset, as we call it. It doesn't matter if you change your e-reader: you can read your eBooks on any device and platform with the Glassboxx app installed.

Discover all of our eBooks directly from
within the Glassboxx app …
The app is super-easy to use, and fully featured, allowing you to make full text searches, bookmark pages, change the font size, use a dyslexic-friendly font, and change background colours for easier reading. There's also a fully featured audio player for when you'd rather listen than read.

Adjust your view for easier reading.

If you like getting your Veloce fix in bytes and bandwidth, rather than paper and ink, check out Glassboxx!

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – December 2019

Welcome back to Oliver Winterbottom's diary! In the first instalment of the year, we take a look at how Oliver rounded off his jam-packed 2019. 

5 December – I finish emailing my annual newsletter to my friends and acquaintances worldwide. 118 recipients living in China, Thailand, USA, Canada and France, as well as the UK. Many have been connected to my motoring life, so it is nice to keep in touch.

6 December – Journalist Mike Taylor kindly sends me a photograph (below) of a JCL Marine Mirage, for which I did the basic styling back in 1976. It certainly looks well cared for.

10 December – The Eastern Daily Press has been highlighting the disastrous introduction of brand new trains in the Greater Anglia region. These Swiss-built trains are incompatible with the automatic signalling systems, which has resulted in major cancellations and lateness for quite a number of days. I continue to have misgivings on the massive reliance on computers. So much so, all the trains costing £1.4 billion were delivered at once – and sat in sidings for some months. I think if it had been a car company project, it may have just got one train and thoroughly tested it prior to relying on them 100%. One incident saw a car being missed by a train on a level crossing by 1/4 second; words fail me. Computers can be tricky!

13 December – The EDP has again highlighted a computer compatibility issue. On 6 June last, a glider flying from Tibenham in Norfolk to Cambridge was forced to take evasive action to avoid being hit by a Boeing C-135 on its final approach to RAF Mildenhall, the Boeing being part of the USAF. A report found the two aircraft were unable to make contact with each other because their traffic alerting systems were incompatible with each other. Evidence from the military pilot stated they did not even see the glider until after it had already swerved away from them due to the scattered cloud layer. As I have said, computers can be tricky!

13 December – From 2022, all new cars will have their speed controlled through a computer – hopefully totally accurate and reliable. I think not.

26 December – Gratified that John Bailie, creator of the revised TVR logo in 1979, has obtained a copy of my book A Life in Car Design. As I have a copy of his superb book, Donington Park, The Pioneers, we must now organise a mutual book signing meeting.

31 December – I wish all the Oliver Winterbottom's Diary readers a Very Happy New Year!

You can purchase your own copy of A Life in Car Design here, and make sure to keep checking the Veloce blog for the next instalment of Winterbottom's diary!

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The NEW site for fine automotive books

As you may have noticed, December saw BIG changes at veloce.co.uk, with the launch of our brand-new website. It may be hard to believe in this day of fast-changing, ever evolving technology, but our old site had been serving us well for an astonishing 16 years! 

New site, new features.

Our old website

That our old site worked so well – for so long – is down to the fantastic work of its creators, Aspin, who worked hand-in-hand with us from the start, and helped keep our site stable and secure for more than a decade and a half. But 16 years is a lifetime in the digital world (actually, it's over 6 lifetimes*), so we decided it was time to take advantage of all the latest web and ecommerce technology to give you a better, more 'contemporary' experience.

Out with the old …

After much research and preliminary work, it was decided we should create our new site in-house, and with Aspin’s legacy to live up to, we started from the ground-up, with the latest, most secure (and most stable) features. Unsurprisingly, after being live for so long, our old website had accumulated thousands of pages and files; books, events long past, images, downloads – each of which required careful assessment to see if it was still useful or needed. With so many files to check, we'll continue this work for a while yet, so if you find something  is missing, or if you can’t find the location of something you know should be there, please email us and let us know.

Our new site went live in early December, and – we're very pleased to say – received a great response from our customers. Brand-new customer accounts that are easier and more secure, and features that let us provide you with better deals and offers on the books you want most, all make our new store an even better place to grab a fine book and a fine bargain.

We'll be adding to our new site regularly, so keep visiting

We want to make our site not only your first stop when looking for that quality automotive book, but also a place to come to find out more about our authors and staff – and even to get some great auto-related freebies.

If you've not checked out our site yet, take a look around, discover our new store accounts, or our amazing authors: we hope you like it as much as we do!

Fantastic finds

With a mobile-friendly design and shopping cart, our site is made for pretty much any device, anywhere, and should serve us for a good few years to come. No matter what you use, finding the book you want quickly is a top priority, and one great feature of our store, is our new site search. The new site search allows you to refine your search, and drill-down into our inventory to get just the right subject, category, format, and price range. Combine this with our new sort feature, and you've got a fantastic, fast and easy-to-use shortcut to the very book you're searching for.

Refine and Sort features

You can refine your searches by the following attributes:
  • Category
  • Publisher
  • Series
  • Format
You can also sort your results by the following methods:
  • Relevance
  • Newest arrivals
  • Price: Low to High
  • Price: Hight to Low
  • Name: A to Z
  • Name: Z to A

Our new search feature: much more powerful than before

Power tuned

If there's one thing the Velocisti can't stop themselves from doing, it's trying to improve everything we do. Even with our brand-new site, we’re not finished yet, and we've already made changes to improve your experience directly, some under the hood … and one on the steering wheel …

Fast and accurate, our new search engine was almost ideal. Almost. Being the perfectionists that we are, we thought it could be even better. Enter CloudSearch …
Get on-the-fly suggestions when you search

Don't search for it – CloudSearch for it

CloudSearch gives our search facility a power tune, showing thumbnails and descriptions of the books it finds. It does this live, as you type; now you can see a list of relevant books before you click. Because this happens on-the-fly, you often don't even need to enter a full word or phrase before seeing results.

As if that wasn't enough, CloudSearch is also much more accurate, looking beyond the words and phrases you type, to take account of synonyms or specialist terms. It even makes allowances for spelling errors – no more scratching your head for how to spell Lamborghini Murciélago before you get your Lambo-lit fix!

Plenty more to come

We have plans for plenty more features, updates, and improvements to our new site, but what would you like to see at veloce.co.uk? Send us your suggestions via email, and we'll take a look and see what we can do.

* Data sourced from Orbit Media study of 200 websites: https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/website-lifespan-and-you/

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – November 2019

In the last entry before Christmas, Oliver recounts his visit to this year's NEC Classic Car Show. 

3 November – Interesting day assisting with information for the forthcoming exhibition stand for the Lotus Elite Excel Club at the NEC Classic Car Show. The Lotus Elite will feature its 45th Anniversary this year.

7 November – I drive to my sister who lives near Leicester. As I start from Norfolk, the obvious route is via the A14 which includes a section from Cambridge to Huntingdon. This road is now a massive traffic jam due to a major improvement scheme. The construction work on the 12 mile stretch started in November 2016 and will open in December 2019, a total of 37 months. By contrast, the first section of the M1 which ran for 54 miles with 131 bridges and 92 culverts, opened on time in 1959, having taken 19 months.

8 November – I make my way to the Birmingham International Railway station where I park to visit the National Exhibition Centre. I am met by Richard Woollaston who is managing the Lotus Elite Eclat Excel Club stand for the Classic Car Show. The stand was adorned with Colin Pear's Lotus Elite S1, Pete Poulton with his first Lotus Eclat Sprint, belonging to his grandson, Ian Hissey's white Elite restoration project and Gill Windwood's Lotus Excel. Banners announced that this year is the Elite's 45th Anniversary, it being released to the world on 15 may 1974.

I was interviewed by Practical Classics magazine and by Classic Car Weekly. Photographs were taken of Mike and myself to recreate the one taken in 1973 (above). The 2019 version show below.

A number of people came to ask me to sign copies of my book, and as Richard Woollaston had brought his copy, a number attempted to buy one. Chaters the bookseller had a stand, but quickly sold out! With the Club Lotus, the Historic Club Lotus and the Lotus Drivers Club nearby, the old company was well represented.
A pleasant chat was had with Ben Needham of the East Anglian Lotus Club. Having given them a talk in June 2018, I said I was happy to give them another if requested. I was please to meet Stuart Bagshaw, who had given me a ride after the Hinckley Show in September. Between Mike Kimberley and myself, we had quite a busy day. The presentation of the Lotus Elite family was very gratifying – 48.5 years since I drew out that shape!

I am posing alongside the first Lotus Eclat Sprint built

The Lotus Elite looked very smart

10 November – My sister and I attended the Remembrance Parade at Croft, Leicestershire. The Remembrance service at Croft has grown out of all proportion for a village of around 1800 inhabitants. Croft Hill and its associated quarry – the largest manmade hole in Europe – has had the Queen's wreath laid by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the County for the last 28 years. A poster in the pub notes that an amazing sum of over £37,000 has been raised for the British Legion.

The delightful poppy-decorated hedge below The Heathcote Arms
As 11 o'clock approached, the band played and the participants came down the hill towards the war memorial. Army cadets were joined by Boy Scouts, Guides and even very, very young people.
The names of those killed in the two World Wars in Croft, Huncote and Thurlaston were read out and it was far, far too longer list. Many, many wreaths were laid following the placing of the Queen's wreath on the hill below the Huncote Arms. Prayers and gyms were led by the local church. A truly worthy moment of remembrance and thanksgiving. 

13 November – Classic Car Weekly publishes their interview with me at the Classic Car Show. 

16 November – I set out to buy a copy of the magazine (above) but managed to confuse myself by looking for the wrong title – so I failed. It's my age, probably!

18 November – I am delighted to receive a copy of a photograph taken at the NEC Classic Car Show of Mike Kimberly (left) and myself on the Sunbeam Lotus Owners Club stand. I ran one of these superb cars as a company car in the 1980s. 

21 November – Today, Mike Kimberley and I were to travel to a lunch near London with three other retired Lotus Directors and the company aircraft pilot. Sadly, poor health has forced a last minute postponement until next year. 

I receive the email newsletter On The Grid from Veloce Publishers. It contains this delightful comment – many thanks! "This issue covers some of our exciting new book launches, as well as our beloved author and contributor, Oliver Winterbottom, whose monthly bulletin can always be found on our blog. Ever wondered what a retired world-class car designer gets up to? Find out in this issue of On The Grid!"

22 November – I receive a very nice TVR Wedge calendar for 2020. Titled "A Wedge of Defiance", which is perhaps a little more aggressive than we were when creating the cars! It is beautifully produced, and very much appreciated. 

Tesla Cybertruck
This was also the day that Tesla showed their electric Cybertruck. The styling is a personal matter, although we usually used some curves in body design! The safety of its occupants, pedestrians and other road users is of major concern. The ability of the body to absorb and dissipate impacts appears very low. The body panels are made of 3mm ultra hard stainless steel capable of resisting 9mm bullets. It also has almost no crushable distance forward of the wheels. Further, the sharp edges of the body would probably fail to meet European legislation for exterior protrusions. 

26 November – I receive a message from Richard Woollaston explaining that the latest issue of the magazine Practical Classics was published on 25 November. They interviewed me at the Classic Car Show, but their deadline for a copy was three days before the show. He will check if is is included for me as Wymondham no longer has a big magazine shop.

30 November – This will be my last monthly bulletin published by Veloce Publishing before Christmas. While wishing all my readers Seasonal Greetings I must remind them that the purchase of A Life in Car Design would be a superb gift to themselves or indeed anyone!

You can purchase your own copy of A Life in Car Design here, and make sure to keep checking the Veloce blog for the next instalment of Winterbottom's diary!

Thursday, 21 November 2019

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – October 2019

In this month's instalment of Oliver Winterbottom's diary, a talk at the Bourne Motor Club is the main event. 

5 October – I collected my son-in-law, and we were soon enjoying lunch at Arbuckles outside Downham Market. Part way through the meal I exclaimed "Oh, look, the toasters have arrived!" An electric toaster was always how I thought of the stainless steel-clad DeLorean sports car. Indeed, some 14 or 15 of them arrived, parking around the back of the premises.

The DeLoreans at Downham Market

We were soon on our way to the BRM Association Evening at Bourne, Lincolnshire and arrived at the Delaine Bus Museum on Spalding Road, the site of the old BRM works. British Racing Motors was a successful Formula 1 team in the 1950s to the end of the 1970s. The founder, who was a cousin of mine, lived in Eastgate House just behind the current bus business. There was a display of a large number of photographs, many not seen before, as well as a BRM 153 racing car.

The BRM 153 in Yardley sponsorship colours, with many period photographs on display behind it

As 6:30pm approached, we arrived at the Corn Exchange. It was here the evening event was held, and we joined seven folk at a table laden with very nice plates of buffet food. Jackie Oliver, who drove Formula 1 for Lotus and BRM, Can Am sports cars and who won Le Mans with Jackie Ickx in a Ford GT40, gave us an interesting talk. Afterwards, a number of people said they would be coming to hear my talk on Thursday 10 October, and that the evening was a "sell out."

8 October – Graeme Lawton of the Sunbeam Lotus Club asks if he can use my story of their visit to Classic Team Lotus last September. Delighted to permit this.

I meet the owner of the Lotus Europa (mentioned on 9 September of this bulletin) at the Bird in Hand pub for lunch. We had a fascinating two or three hour chat and were joined by Mike Kimberly, the Europa Twin Cam project leader. It was suggested that we both were lucky to work in the industry in its Golden Years, and I think we both agree

10 October – I arrive at the Angel Hotel, Bourne in preparation for my talk for the Bourne Motor Racing Club. At 7 o'clock I arrived at Bourne Corn Exchange to prepare for the evening. A number of people had arrived when I entered to meet Robert Denton, who was in charge of the computer used to show my slides. All was well with that, and the lapel microphone needed to reach the fairly large room.
I was delighted to meet a number of people who had arrived early, and one of the first was full of praise with my book, which he had enjoyed immensely. I had no problem signing his copy! I met Roger Fountain, who has published a book entitled Phoenix. It is about the transformation of a pile of burnt out scrap into a 1930s Riley sports car. It is obtainable in hardback or paperback from internet book retailers. Another interesting chat was held with Jeff Ward, a member of the Peterborough Engineering Society. I agreed to give them a talk whenever there was an opportunity.

The audience shortly before the talk started. The front rows where then filled.

8 o'clock and I was introduced and started my talk. I started by explaining my family connections with Bourne, home of Raymond Mays of ERA and BRM racing cars who was a cousin, and that I knew a number of ex-BRM staff while I was at Lotus. My talk then explained why I had written my book, A Life in Car Design, and the process by which it was done.
I spoke for an hour, presenting the basic contents of my book. I took a Question and Answer session, and there were quite a few very good questions; I cannot vouch for the answers. The crowd had filled the room, and I received much positive feedback from the event, so I happily walked back the short distance to the Angel.
I really enjoyed this opportunity, and I am glad that the Bourne Motor Racing Club is so active and friendly. Thanks to everyone!

12 October – Mike Kimberly sends me a copy of the two articles featuring himself in the July/August and September/October editions of Absolute Lotus magazine. I am flattered with his positive comments concerning myself and the use of the contemporary photographs of ourselves with the Lotus Elite and the Lotus M90.

16 October – I am asked if I would give a talk to the Porsche Club of GB, Hertfordshire. It would not be for some time, but I replied saying I certainly would be happy to do so.

24 October – My copy of Club Lotus News arrives and has my brief story of my sister and I visiting the Silverstone Classic in July. This Lotus Elite made a fine display.

30 October – Busy arranging my visit to the Lancaster Classic Car Show at the NEC 8 November to attend the Lotus Elite Eclat Excel Club stand for the Elite's 45th birthday.

You can purchase your own copy of A Life in Car Design here, and make sure to keep checking the Veloce blog for the next instalment of Winterbottom's diary!

Monday, 11 November 2019

A Patina Porsche 356 ...

An incredibly rare Porsche 356A is up for sale from Thornley Kelham in Gloucestershire.  

With its original factory 1600cc engine, chassis 107479, and eye-catching patina, this Porsche is truly a one-of-a-kind. An end of production, right-hand-drive, this vehicle was originally completed in May 1959 and sold by AFN to England and British Lions ruby player, Frank Sykes. The patina is a unique blend of bare metal, red, and its original silver metallic paint, emphasised by a previous paint removal attempt.

In storage for the last 30 years, this 1959 Porsche 356A is now being sold with one of two options for restoration. The first option would aim to restore the car, whilst taking care to retain as much of the patina as possible, by carefully replacing sections of rusted bodywork and undertaking a full mechanical and interior restoration. The bodywork will then be clear-coated to preserve the unique patina for the rest of the car's lifespan.

The second restoration option would comprise of a full ground-up restoration, returning the car to its original paint and trim combination. This would include a complete re-trim of the interior, chassis strengthening and drivetrain rebuild.

The history of the Porsche 356A is covered in our latest limited edition book. The Ultimate Book of the Porsche 356 is a new, individually numbered, luxury leather-bound and slip-cased limited edition, comprising just 356 copies.

The definitive and fascinating account of the Porsche 356, and all the racing and rallying cars that sprang from it, told in breathtaking detail by marque expert Brian Long.

Stunning colour and historic photographs, colour and trim options, range details, engine specifications, chassis numbers, and production figures from the Gmünd cars to very last production models, make this exclusive edition a historical reference to treasure.

Truly a Catalogue Raisonné for the world's most discerning Porsche 356 enthusiasts, this book is only available from our dedicated website: https://ultimate356.veloce.co.uk Be sure to reserve your special number today!

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – September 2019

In this month's instalment, Oliver attends this year's Hinckley Classic Car Show, has a blast from the past in the form of a church visit, and has a mention in Classic & Sports Car magazine. Read on to find out all about his rather busy September!

2 September – Delighted to be invited to the Sunbeam Lotus Owners Club gathering at Classic Team Lotus on Saturday 7 September.

4 September – Meet a new Lotus staff recruit in Hethersett Queens Head. I direct him to the poster advertising my book and hope he cannot stop himself purchasing one.

7 September – I enjoyed a visit to Classic Team Lotus courtesy of the Sunbeam Lotus Owners Club. They were celebrating their 27th National Day. I had one of these wonderful cars for 85,000 miles in the early 1980s, so it was a happy reminder to see them lined up at Hethel.

The Talbot Sunbeam Lotus' outside Classic Team Lotus

Myself with a Sunbeam Lotus similar to my car

9 September – I receive an interesting email from the owner of a Lotus Europa Reg No XNG 176H, which was the wind tunnel test vehicle for the Europa Twin cam project in 1971. The gentleman had found me via an article I posted about the liberation of Belsen Concentration Camp and my father's role in that. Interestingly, he attached a couple of photographs of the car in the MIRA wind tunnel. He also said he had just ordered a copy of my book, for which I thanked him and wished him enjoyment reading it.

Lotus Europa Twin Cam prototype in the MIRA wind tunnel, 1971

St. John's, Marchington Woodlands, Staffordshire

14 September –  I visit the church I attended as a schoolboy, St. John's, Marchington Woodlands. It was open for a visiting day, raising money for Staffordshire Historic churches. I created some interest as I last participated there in July 1958! The lady president showed much interest in my book and hinted she may visit Waterstones bookshop in Burton upon Trent shortly.

15 September – I attend the Hinckley Classic Car Show with a table and chair under a gazebo in the Market Place. My book is on display and a number of people from the motor industry in the past stopped to have a chat. These included Barrie Wills, ex Jaguar and DeLorean. Two Lotus were on display in the town centre among 921 vehicles on display, making this the largest town centre motor show. An estimated 20,000+ people enjoyed a day enlivened with live music, children's activities and a superb collection of interesting vehicles. A rare Piper GT from the mid-1970s won Car of the Show.

Left: Richard Woollaston's Lotus Elite
Right: Stuart Bashaw's Lotus Excel

The very satisfying final flourish was getting a lift home in Stuart's Excel. What was interesting was that I thought they must have resurfaced the road since arriving in a German based car this morning. The Lotus ride was superb!

21 September – I visit the Woodfordes Classic Cars & Automobile Show at the Fur and Feather pub, Woodbastwick, Norfolk. This is the first event that Woodfordes Brewery have organised, and when I arrive, it's obviously very well supported. Under a blue sky in pleasantly warm temperature, I walk into the display field. I am looking for a beautiful (well, I would say that) Lotus Elite. There were plenty of various Lotus models, but towards the distant hedge, two Elites. I introduced myself to Rob Barrett, and happily autographed the engine bay. The car is surprisingly original, having been lovingly looked after for many years. Later, I supplied a copy of my book A Life in Car Design, and signed that.

Part of the extensive show ground

The first Lotus Elite I spotted

Rob Borrett's beautiful Elite (If I do say so myself!)

23 September – I am delighted to receive a praise-worthy message about my design work from the owner of a TVR Tasmin Convertible, and in the past, a number of Lotus Esprits. He states he is an admirer of Colin Chapman, so I suggest he gets my book if he hasn't done so already. Made my day!

24 September – I see that Amazon UK have upped the price of the book to £38.50, and now have six in stock; it had been four.

26 September – I complete my preparation for the talk I am giving to the Bourne Motor Racing Club on Thursday 10 October. A trip to Norwich to buy a memory stick for the slides and a restock of inks for my printer. Bourne in Lincolnshire was home to ERA and BRM racing cars, and some of my mother's relations.

27 September – I am sent a copy of the latest Classic & Sports Car magazine, with an article entitled "Luxury coupés: Mercedes 230CE vs Lotus Elite Vs Lancia Gamma." Written by Martin Buckley, he selects the Lotus Elite as the winner! I even get a mention: "The Oliver Winterbottom-styled glass-fibre body – on a proven backbone chassis – was made by the new VARI process, injection moulded in two halves. It was nothing new in concept, but a philosophical revolution for Hethel in that it represented an attempt to built fewer cars with higher profit margins."

Front to back: Lancia, Lotus and Mercedes from Classic & Sports Car

29 September – LotusExcel.net publish my story on the Woodfordes Classic Car Show in full. The reproduction of the picture is superb. Many thanks to Richard Wollaston for this, and I hope it brings enjoyment.

You can purchase your own copy of A Life in Car Design here, and make sure to keep checking the Veloce blog for the next instalment of Winterbottom's diary!