Wednesday, 7 September 2022

A nostalgic return

If you've ever attended the Isle of Man TT, you'll have seen the flashes and heard the clicks of hundreds of cameras as the riders fly by – often literally – at truly awe inspiring speeds. One regular visitor to the island, who has been attending since the late sixties, is Adrian Ashurst, a retired registered nurse from Wigan. And a serious amateur photographer.

Douglas Bay; Adrian's subjects are by no means limited to two wheels

Adrian, with copies
of Ted's books

At 69 years young, Adrian has photographed the excitement and drama of many outstanding an memorable moments at the TT and the MGP over the last 50 years. Returning, this year, to the Manx Grand Prix, Adrian endeavoured to capture the unique atmosphere of the road races from vantage points he's not visited before.   

And Adrian has form. His carefully chosen vantage points have made for some dramatic photos, many of which have appeared in newspapers and magazines, as well as many other publications and blogs. They have also been used extensively to illustrate Ted Macauley's Mike the Bike - Again, providing genuine behind-the-scenes personal insights into racing legend Mike Hailwood's successful return to the TT races in 1978 and 1979. 

Adrian and the late Pauline
Hailwood on the IoM

More recently, Adrian's photographs can be seen illustrating Ted Macauley's new autobiography, Raring to Go! Ted was not only Mike Hailwood's manager, but his best friend, and Ted's book is full of many interesting stories regarding the racer and his exploits. It's also full of famous and celebrity names – Barry Sheene, George Best, James Toseland, Ringo Star, Michael Caine … and that's just a fraction. 

As you can imagine, after 50 years of photographing riders and machines hooning around the streets of the Isle of Man, Adrian has a pretty hefty photographic archive, covering decades of on-track action and trackside excitement, so it's great to see some of these make it into the public eye. 

As Adrian said;

As a serious amateur photographer it is great to see some of my work being published. 


My advice to those visiting the MGP for the first time is to always keep safe and listen carefully to the experienced marshals and capture some great photographs at places like Ballaugh Bridge and Governor's Bridge. 


The island provides me with the opportunity to visit areas of natural beauty and the opportunity to reflect on great memories whilst eating my fish and chips by the harbour at Port Erin with friends.

John McGuinness at Ballaugh Bridge and Governor’s Bridge, Isle of Man

You can see some of Adrian's two-wheel focussed handy work, and read all about the incredible story of Mike Hailwood's triumphant return to TT racing in Mike the Bike – AGAIN!, available for only £15.99 (ex. P&P).

And for another great dose of insider-knowledge, checkout Ted's autobiography, Raring to Go!, a fascinating account of his life and adventures in journalism – and including some very famous names – for only £16.99 (ex. P&P).

Or, save yourself a tidy sum by buying the two books together! Save £13.20 off the RRP with our Ted Macauley Twin Pack at just £19.78 (ex. P&P)!

Monday, 25 April 2022

Driving efficiency

Fuel prices have increased dramatically over the last few months, with an increase in the UK of around 20p per-litre compared to this time last year, adding to the very real threat of fuel poverty for many.

You don’t need us to tell you that factors affecting fuel prices are complex, with global crude prices, retailer margins, duties and taxes and – as we see now – the pressures of cross-border conflicts, all affecting cost.

But not everything cost related is outside our control. We may not have a say in how much we pay for our fuel, but we do have a say in how much we use. Efficiency may not be something that crosses many people's minds when driving, but it should be. Efficient driving techniques can be easily implemented by any driver or biker, and not only can they lower fuel consumption, but they can reduce vehicle wear and tear, improve driving skills, increase self-awareness and awareness of other road users, and help you to better understand how a vehicle and its systems work.

Most of you will have heard the term Hypermiling, driving a vehicle using techniques for ultimate fuel efficiency. You'll also likely have heard stories of extreme hypermiling feats, such as driving over 1000 miles on one tank of fuel. While obtaining that level of efficiency requires a Zen-like application of will, technique, and a little science, there are plenty of things we can apply to our own driving without first having to retreat to a Buddhist monastery for a few years. They can even make driving more fun, and bring a new awareness of your driving habits, good and bad.

We have a handful of tips that aim to improve your fuel economy, with the helpful side effect of improving your driving techniques at the same time. Let’s look a five simple steps all drivers can take to improve driving efficiency, lower fuel bills, and reduce carbon emissions. If you really want to improve your driving efficiency, check out The Efficient Drivers Handbook, beneath the tips below, for your one-stop pocket-sized guide to efficient driving.

To drive or not to drive; that is the question

"To drive," that is the answer! Sorted.

Okay, just kidding. We may want to get behind the wheel or handlebars at every opportunity, but the single most effective way to save fuel is – duh! – to not drive or bike. So, also sorted.

Well, okay; maybe not. We’d be the last people to preach leaving the car at home, or suggest you manhandle that old sofa to the recycling plant on your bicycle, but we do recommend planning every journey, and not driving if it’s not necessary. If you simply need tinned beans from the grocer at the end of the block, you should probably leave the Humvee at home and take Shanks’s pony instead. You’ll save wear and tear on your beloved chariot, if nothing else. 


Driving habits aside, probably the most important aspect of ensuring your vehicle is running efficiently is keeping it properly maintained. Never skimp on servicing, visual checks for tyres and components, and regular fluid checks, always topping-up as needed. One rarely checked major component that can reduce your fuel economy is the air-filter: this can add 10% to your fuel consumption if clogged or dusty, so give it a good clean or replace it with a new one. 

Not only is maintenance imperative for safety – yours and others – it also ensures that everything is working as it was designed to, and at its most efficient. And don’t feel you need to pay a pro to do all your maintenance; many repairs can be easily carried out at home with minimal tools or expertise. Yes, we do have a book for that: in fact, we have a handful. Check the list at the end of this post.

Lose the fat

When it comes to performance, horsepower may be the poster boy, but as Colin Chapman once summarised, "subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere." Chapman may have been talking about speed on track, but if you swap 'faster' for 'use less fuel' the saying becomes the perfect mantra for efficient road driving. 

Checking what you carry in your vehicle, removing unnecessary kids’ toys, empty bottles, boot organisers, etc, only has a small effect – but it is cumulative; that’s why race engineers go to extreme lengths to shave mere grams off each component.

It’s not all small change though; one item that can usually be removed easily and offers a much bigger effect is the spare wheel. Installing run-flat tyres or carrying a foam puncture repair kit can bag you a 20kg saving.

If you’re confident fuel prices won’t sky-rocket between fills, don’t brim your tank when you get fuel. An average fuel tank with a 55 litre capacity weighs roughly 41kg to 46kg when full, depending on fuel type. Half-fill your tank instead, and you’ll only be carrying 20kg to 23kg of fuel. If you do this and swap the spare, and you could see an almost 40kg reduction – a difference you’ll feel behind the wheel, as well as at the pumps. Speaking of which …

Pump it

Tyres have a huge effect on fuel economy, and while safety is the keyword for tyre manufacturers, lightweight and efficiency now command a large part of their development. While you can opt for low rolling resistance tyres offering less drag, you don’t have to shell-out on new boots for improved efficiency. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US, for every 10% under your tyres recommended pressure, you’ll increase fuel consumption by 2%. 

To put actual numbers to that stat, if you're running a typical tyre with an optimal rating of 35psi at 10% lower pressure – that’s at 31.5psi  – you’ll loose 2% fuel economy. That’s quite a drop for such a small difference. Make sure you set your tyres at the correct pressure, measured when the tyres are cold (the hotter the tyre, the higher the pressure reading), and double check every week or two, as your tyres may lose air at differing rates.

Hyper inflation?

Tyres have a range of operating pressures for different loads and speeds, but, sometimes, a driver might lower or raise the pressure to get better grip or control in certain situations. Now that’s not something the average driver should ever need to do, and go too far in either direction, and you’re in potentially dangerous territory, both in handling and safety terms.

The optimum pressure ranges for a vehicle's tyres are usually shown on a plate attached inside the door shut of your vehicle, showing the pressure to use with differing loads (in the US, it's a legal requirement to mark maximum pressure on the tyre sidewall). These should be used as your minimum inflation values. Increasing the pressure by just a few PSI – say +3 to 5psi – can improve economy by a few percent. Small, yes, but it all adds up. 

Smoother, slower

If there’s one thing guaranteed to burn fuel, it’s hard braking and acceleration. Acceleration is an obvious fuel-burner, but braking is simply converting your speed – speed that you spent hard-earned cash attaining – into heat … not the most efficient use of your fuel, I think you’ll agree. 

Smooth acceleration and braking can have a massive effect on efficiency, and could even save you a small fortune in fuel bills: European economy tests have shown that aggressive driving, with frequent rapid acceleration and hard braking, can increase fuel consumption by around 40%. Reduce your speed just a little, too, and you’ll save even more: just 5mph-10mph slower can increase economy by 7%-14%, 

Add the numbers, and you could potentially see a 50% improvement in your fuel economy. That's quite a saving from simply not flooring it away from the lights, not maxing the speed limit, and learning to anticipate the road ahead. Accelerating gently, staying under the speed limit, and allowing your car to slow naturally for corners and junctions are all tricks that you can use not only to reduce your fuel bill, but also improve your driving techniques and road awareness. 


Obviously, there are many more steps that can be taken to reduce your fuel spend: limiting your use of air-con, removing roof bars and drag-inducing items, not idling for more than 10 seconds, changing gear at the correct engine speed, etc. Even if you only implement the steps above,  you could see economy improvements, potentially, of up to 50%; imagine the improvement you could make if you combined the tips above with other efficiency tips!

Queue The Efficient Driver’s Handbook. This pocket-sized tome of wisdom may have been in print for a few years, but it's more relevant today than ever before. Penned by Dave Moss, a motoring journalist for over 30 years, and a long-time researcher of economy driving techniques, this guide should be your first port of call for all your efficient driving tips, hints and techniques. Not only does it cover every aspect, from choosing an energy efficient vehicle, to driving techniques that lower fuel use, it even covers gadgets, future fuel technologies, and government guidance. And while it has forensic levels of detail, it’s easy to read and easy to understand, presenting genuinely useful tips that anybody can learn and use to improve their driving efficiency and safety.

The Efficient Driver's Handbook

Your guide to fuel efficient driving techniques and car choice

ONLY £9.99

SKU V4351

Specification Paperback • 21x14.8cm • 96 pages • 32 colour pictures

ISBN 978-1-845843-51-9

UPC 6-36847-04351-3 

FIND OUT MORE or BUY NOW – don't forget to use your On the Grid new subscriber discount!

If you want to make even more efficiency savings, learn how to look after and maintain your car, bike or scooter with our range of RAC Handbooks

Did we forget something?

There are dozens of ways to make your vehicle and fuel use more efficient, but do you use an efficiency tip or trick that you’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere? Let us know in the comments below … it could even bag you a discount on Veloce books!

Thursday, 27 January 2022

New Rules for 2022?

In our last post we took a look at a few of the changes that are making their way into the Highway Code this year. But it’s not all about the Code; there are some big changes planned that may – or may not – be heading our way covering a range of road and highway legislations. We take a look at a few that many of you may be unaware of.

Can’t touch this

Currently, drivers in the UK can be penalised for any 'interactive communication' while driving. That means you can be penalised for animated discussions behind the wheel; being caught recording a video, scrolling through a playlist, or taking a selfie with your phone, means you could avoid a fine and points on your licence (of course, that depends on a number of factors, so best not test the theory). From early this year, though, ALL such activities will be illegal. 

New rules will mean that using any hand-held device behind the wheel will be illegal in nearly every situation, not only when making a call or 'interactively communicating.' Getting caught could result in a £200 fine and six points on your licence, and these apply whether you’re driving, at a red light, stationary, or stuck in traffic. So hands off that mobile!

There are a few significant exceptions, though, designed to enable newer time- and effort-saving technologies to be used. For instance, drivers will be able to use a phone as a sat-nav as long as it is secured in a holder, and accept hands-free calls. You will also be allowed to use a mobile for payments at drive-throughs and toll roads, so you can keep the apps for now.

Fine. FINE. I’ll pay!

Now, this one is going to cause controversy in some areas (albeit not as much as some of the rules further down this list). From spring, English and Welsh councils will be handed the powers to fine motorists for minor traffic offences (stopping in a box junction, driving in cycle lanes, illegal U-turns, etc). This is the first time local authorities have been given such powers (London and Cardiff excepted), and fines could go as high as £70.

It may be unwelcome with some, but it does mean that local authorities should benefit from potentially large increases in revenue, which can be used for other cash-strapped services. Minor infringement penalty revenues from London and Cardiff brought in a whopping £58.2million in 2018-19.


Every UK driver must meet a set of medical standards for 'fitness to drive,' and the DVLA makes over half a million medical licensing decisions every year, which can often only be completed by a registered GP or consultant.

In an effort to speed up UK licence renewals, which have suffered a backlog over the last few years, the government is considering allowing health professionals such as Nurse Practitioners to complete the health questionnaires required, easing the workload on GPs. A consultation has taken place, but the findings are yet to be published. 

Pavement hogs

Pavement parking is already illegal in London, and Scotland will roll out a similar law in 2023, but this year sees a decision being made on whether pavement parking will be banned across the UK. There are some roads where pavement parking is common and (believe it or not) helpful in easing traffic flow. Having said that, these areas are rare, with pavements often as wide as the carriageway itself, so parking doesn't impact negatively on pedestrians. 

But, in more urban areas, city centres, and towns, pavement parking can be highly dangerous to road users and pedestrians alike. Whilst a blanket ban may be a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, it should make a positive difference to accident statistics in the worst affected areas. No decisions yet, but keep your eyes peeled for a Yay or Nay.


A new law relating to driving aid technologies is expected this spring, giving the green light for Automated Lane Keeping Systems to be used on UK roads. There are five levels for this type of technology, and, currently, UK drivers can only use Level 2 lane assist systems, which require active driver engagement and monitoring of the environment by the driver at all times. 

Level 3 ALKS systems take full control of the car, and when used in conjunction with adaptive cruise control, can take control of braking, acceleration and steering,  enabling a driver to remove their hands from the wheel. Sounds scary, but the new law would only apply at speeds of up to 37mph on motorways – over that and it's all hands to the wheel!

There are obviously many concerns relating to autonomous vehicles and self-driving tech, so the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) published a set of guiding principles for motorists, clarifying precisely when, and if, a system can be used.


You may have seen this proposal in the media recently, but it’s thought that developers of all new homes and offices will be required to install electric car charging points. New-build homes, workplaces, shops, etc, would all have to install these as standard, and even in some renovated properties.

There are already doubts about the effectiveness of this in helping society switch to electric vehicles, particularly given the cost of the vehicles and the potential outpacing of technology over the coming years. Probably the biggest backlash, though, has come from – no surprises here – property developers, so we’ll see if, and how far, the proposal is implemented in reality.

Nationwide Clean Air Zones

CAZ, LEZ, ULEZ and ZEZ – no, I haven't spilled coffee on my keyboard – these are abbreviations of the four types of zone used to improve air quality currently employed in the UK; Clean Air Zone, Low Emissions Zone, Ultra-low Emissions Zone and Zero Emissions Zone, respectively. London has long had such zones, but more are planned for other cities across the UK. 

Each zone has a different criteria for the vehicles that enter it, based on the pollution the vehicles generate, with each charged differently. Also, these are separate from Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ) charges. For example, if you’re heading to an ULEZ in London, you can expect to be charged £12.50 (if your diesel car isn’t at least Euro 6, or petrol car at least Euro 4). And that will be on top of any CCZ. 

At the limit(er)

This one is bound to be controversial. From 6th July this year, all newly-launched EU cars must be fitted with a speed limiter by law. Now, we should say that a provisional agreement for this was reached by the European Commission in 2019, but it’s expected that the UK will follow suit, even though we have now 'Brexited' from the EU.

Speed limiters aren’t new: many cars are limited to a speed well below their actual capabilities. But the speed limiters in question here are Intelligent Speed Assist devices; these use GPS data, traffic-sign-recognition, or a combination of the two, to determine the maximum speed in an area, and modulate engine power to ensure the speed limit isn’t broken. In theory, this would mean no more speeding drivers, and a reduction in road traffic collisions – not to mention road-related deaths.

In practice, though, regulations permit the switching off of these devices. Many use audible pings and voice cues as warnings, which themselves can be distracting to drivers. Plus, there is plenty of concern that this technology isn’t yet sophisticated, stable and advanced enough to work effectively. 

EU proposals

While the UK's exit from the EU is now complete, it's likely that a number of EU road safety proposals will be adopted by the UK. Currently under consideration in the EU are laws covering compulsory safety equipment, such as autonomous emergency braking systems, Black Box data loggers, automatic emergency stop signals, driver fatigue detection systems, and built-in breathalysers that prevent a car being started if the driver is over the limit.

Some will see the laws as Big Brother impositions, but there's no doubt that suggested proposals covering new technology – particularly automated driving – are essential given the rapid pace of development. Of course, quite how many of the commission’s proposals will be implemented in the EU is unknown, but it’s highly likely that at least some of these will be adopted, or maybe adapted, for the UK. Either way, anything that improves road safety and driving enjoyment is worth considering, no matter which side of the Channel it comes from.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Cracking the Code

If you’re a UK resident or driver, the Highway Code needs no introduction. Unsurprising, perhaps, given that it was first published 91 years ago, and has been a necessary part of every UK learner driver’s homework for close to a century.

Published to coincide with the Road Traffic Act 1930, it was, let’s say, a timely publication  At the beginning of the 20th century driving was an unregulated activity: there were no driving licences, no driving tests, and no minimum age.

By the year the Code was first published, there were 2.3 million motor vehicles sharing Britain’s roads with pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-drawn vehicles. But the glamorous world of the motor vehicle was a dangerous one: around 7000 people died annually in accidents. To put that in perspective, in 2019, when over 40 million motor vehicles were on British roads, the number of fatalities was 1870.

Needless to say, over the last near-century, British roads, vehicles, and road users have changed immeasurably, as has the Code itself. The first edition featured just 21 pages;; today’s Code has 212. Note: for a fascinating look at the history of the Highway Code and British motoring, take a look at Historic England Blog’s 'The Untold Story of the Highway Code.'

Despite its importance in helping to educate drivers in road etiquette and law, the Highway Code tends to be something pored over by learners in order to pass their theory test, then all but forgotten for the rest of their driving life. Which, no doubt, explains a lot …

But even if the Code isn’t part of your regular reading list, this year it sees some important changes that all drivers need to be aware of. Along with around 50 updates to the nearly 300 existing rules, eight new rules will be introduced. Some of these aim to create and clarify a 'hierarchy of road users' that prioritises those most at risk of serious collisions – cyclists, horse riders, pedestrians, etc – while other changes cover things such as the use of technology.

The new rules will roll-out from the end of January 2022, and whilst they have been planned for some time, awareness of these changes among UK drivers is very low: two-thirds of drivers, new and old alike, are totally unaware of the coming changes, with an even greater number unaware of the new rules being added. Whilst the more minor changes probably won’t make a big difference to your everyday driving, some of the new rules, which apply to how you share the road with other users, almost certainly will. And, as the courts say, ignorance is no excuse.

So, what are these changes and how will they affect you? We won't cover all the changes here (although we do recommend that you familiarise yourself with the proposed changes on the UK Government website), but let’s take a look at some of the most relevant changes we expect to be included.

Hierarchy of Road Users 

A new concept to the Code, the hierarchy places road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top. In a nutshell, those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others. It doesn’t remove the necessity for ALL road users to behave responsibly – and the Code has plenty of examples of how to behave on the roads – but it does mean that we should all be much more aware of the danger we may pose to road users more vulnerable than ourselves, and our responsibilities towards them. 

Pedestrians and cyclists are at the top of the hierarchy, as these are the most vulnerable road users. HGVs and large passenger vehicles are the least vulnerable, so they have lower priority.

Rules H1, H2 and H3 (all new) detail and expand on the Hierarchy of Road Users:

Rule H1 

  • It is important that ALL road users are aware of The Highway Code, are considerate to other road users and understand their responsibility for the safety of others. 
  • Everyone suffers when road collisions occur, whether they are physically injured or not. But those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others. This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles. 
  • Cyclists, horse riders and drivers of horse drawn vehicles likewise have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians. 
  • None of this detracts from the responsibility of ALL road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, to have regard for their own and other road users’ safety. 
  • Always remember that the people you encounter may have impaired sight, hearing or mobility and that this may not be obvious.

Rule H2

This is for all non-pedestrian road users, and makes a number of significant changes. The rule states:

  • At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning. 
  • You MUST give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing (see Rule 195). 
  • Pedestrians have priority when on a zebra crossing, on a parallel crossing or at light controlled crossings when they have a green signal. 
  • You should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing. 
  • Horse riders should also give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing. 
  • Cyclists should give way to pedestrians on shared use cycle tracks and to horse riders on bridleways.
  • Only pedestrians may use the pavement. Pedestrians include wheelchair and mobility scooter users.
  • Pedestrians may use any part of the road and use cycle tracks as well as the pavement, unless there are signs prohibiting pedestrians.

Rule H3

Rule for drivers and motorcyclists. 

  • You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, just as you would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle. This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road and you should give way to them. 
  • Do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve. 
  • You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary. This includes when cyclists are: 
    • approaching, passing or moving off from a junction
    • moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic
    • travelling around a roundabout
Another change that all drivers need to be aware of relates to overtaking cyclists and horse riders or horse-drawn vehicles. While there has been a rule to provide a 'safe distance' (often described as 'a car door’s width') when overtaking, the Code now explicitly states minimum distances:

Rule 163

  • give motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (see Rules 211 to 215). As a guide: 
  • leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds
  • pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allow at least 2 metres space
  • allow at least 2 metres space and keep to a low speed when passing a pedestrian who is walking in the road (e.g. where there is no pavement)
  • take extra care and give more space when overtaking motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders, horse drawn vehicles and pedestrians in bad weather (including high winds) and at night
  • you should wait behind the motorcyclist, cyclist, horse rider, horse drawn vehicle or pedestrian and not overtake if it is unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances

There are plenty of other updates, so here’s a few that have caught the Velocisti’s eye:

Mostly covering the safe parking and exiting of your vehicle, Rule 239 now includes the 'Dutch Reach,' which may be familiar to the cyclists among you:

  • where you are able to do so, you should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening; for example, use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side. This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder. You are then more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motorcyclists passing you on the road, or to people on the pavement

With technology making huge inroads into every area of driving, and at a rapid rate, and Rule 239 also includes the following rule for electric vehicle owners:

  • When using an electric vehicle charge point, you should park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for pedestrians from trailing cables. Display a warning sign if you can. After using the charge point, you should return charging cables and connectors neatly to minimise the danger to pedestrians and avoid creating an obstacle for other road users.

More big changes planned for 2022

While the Highway Code may be the most pressing matter in terms of driver awareness and affecting road users, there are some other big legislative changes touted for 2022 that will also affect UK drivers. These aren’t all done deals, but it’s certain you’ll see some of these changes brought into effect this year. 

From using your mobile, to renewing your licence, and even GPS controlled speed limiters, we’ll be taking a look at some of these potential changes in our next blog post. 

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Boxing clever

Let’s be honest, 2021 hasn’t been a year for celebration (you don’t need us to fill-in the details), but there are some very notable anniversaries to celebrate this year. Did you know the Jaguar C-Type is 70 years old? And the E-Type only a decade younger? The DeLorean DMC-12 is 40 this year; and every 70s kid’s bedroom poster car, the Lamborghini Countach, is – staggeringly, given its science fiction-movie looks – 50 years young!

Of course, there are plenty of other notable milestones: not least of which is our own 30th anniversary! Yes, we have been trading since 1991 – that’s the same year Street Fighter II hit the arcades, Arnold Schwarzenegger made his second appearance as the Terminator, and the anthem for Generation X, Smells Like Teen Spirit, was released.

There is another big anniversary this year that we must mention: the 25th anniversary of the Porsche Boxster. First introduced to the public as the 993 coupé concept at the 1993 Detroit Motorshow, it was another three years before buyers could get their driving gloves on a production version. 

In the early 90s, Porsche was struggling with its product ranges. Reactions had been poor, the ranges were expensive to produce, and sold too poorly to guarantee the company’s future in the fast-moving auto markets. In 1991, Porsche’s model lineup comprised only three cars; the 911 (964), still air-cooled; the 928, originally intended to replace the 911; and the 944, based on the old 924 of ’76.

Now with a new CEO, but an ageing  and dating lineup, and desperately trying to turn its finances around, Porsche took some advice from Toyota – a company that had previously offered to purchase Porsche. Toyota gave them the perfect idea: create a cheaper sportscar using 911 parts. This would have been almost impossible to achieve if Porsche hadn't had a secret up its sleeve: a new water-cooled engine being developed for the next 911 (996).

With Porsche’s typical penchant for numerical nomenclature, the first generation Boxster was designated as the 986. It was powered by a 2.5-litre flat-six, good for a 6.7sec, 0-60mph dash, and with a top speed of 149mph. The car was loved by the press and public alike: agile, fun, and surprisingly practical, and with Porsche’s impressive quality.

Early concept sketches for the Boxster. (From Porsche Boxster, The 998 Series 1996-2004, Brian Long)
Grant Larson's proposed '93 Detroit
Motor Show car, drawn in May 1992.  
(From Porsche Boxster,
The 998 Series 1996-2004, Brian Long)

Design-wise, the Boxster didn’t strive to be different to the 911; this was no 928 or 968. Taking inspiration from its historic 550 Spyder and 718 RSK racers, this was much more your classic Porsche, with Grant Larsson’s designs translating beautifully into reality, albeit with a little refinement here and there.

It was certainly more 911 than other Porsches – perhaps too 911 for some. As note:

This new Boxster could be mistaken (from the front anyway) as a new 911 convertible, especially if specced with the right wheels.Conversely the new design 911  could now also be mistaken for the new Boxster especially when specced with the wrong wheels.

Not ideal, then, for the reception of the new 911, but great news for potential Boxster buyers who had even more reason to buy the car.

The car exhibited at the
Detroit Motorshow. (From Porsche Boxster, 
The 998 Series 1996-2004, Brian Long)

The Boxster has come a long way in 25 years, and to celebrate the journey, the 718 Boxster 25 Years edition was released to celebrate the car's silver anniversary. Limited to 1250 units, this 4-litre, flat-six has already sold out, thanks to a slew of tasteful touches paying homage to the original concept car.

25 years on, the Boxster has proven to be anything but 'the poor man’s Porsche'; it’s a true Porsche in its own right. While this car may have originally been all about the price, in 2021 it’s all about the drive, and people have woken up to the fact that the Boxster, from its first generation, to the latest 718 variant, is simply a fantastic, fun, practical driver’s car. Here’s to another 25 years!

Cutaway car, showing the difficulties in packaging a modern, 
mid-engined vehicle. (From Porsche Boxster, 
The 998 Series 1996-2004, Brian Long)

The 718 Boxster 25 Years edition. (Courtesy Porsche)

In the market for a Boxster? Own one yourself? Simply a Porsche fan? You can discover all about the history and development of the Boxster with two excellent volumes from marque expert Brian Long

Porsche Boxster - The 986 Series 1996-2004

This volume begins with the origins of the Boxster and how Porsche came to create it. From concept sketches and early cars, to 2004 models, this fact-filled and informative book is packed with words, photography and detail that fully illustrate the Boxster’s first eight years of production. Currently out of stock, if you’d like to see this book reprinted, head to the web page, and hit the Notify Me button.

Porsche Boxster & Cayman - The 987 Series 2004 to 2013

Brian continues the story, revealing how the Cayman was born, and covering all the models produced until 2013. As with the previous volume, it’s a photo and fact fest that’s brimming with detail.

The Essential Buyer's Guides

If you’re lucky enough to be in the market for a Boxster, or maybe a Cayman for the more inclement parts of the world, you’re in luck. Adrian Streather has penned four Essential Buyer’s Guides, covering Boxster and Cayman models, spanning the first 20 years of production.

For the 986 Boxster - Boxster, Boxster S, Boxster S 550 Spyder – produced from ’97 to ’05 (#1 in the pic above), click here. If you’re assessing a 1st Generation Boxster, Boxster S, Boxster Spyder, Cayman & Cayman S, from ’05 to ’09 (#2), you need this book. If you’re tempted by the 2nd Generation Boxster and Caymen, Boxster, S, Spyder & Black Editions; Cayman, S, R & Black Editions of ’09 to ’12 (#3), here's the book for you. Finally, if it’s a ’12 to ’16 Boxster, S, GTS & Spyder; Cayman, S, GTS, GT4 & GT4 CS (#4), then you need this guide.

That's just a taster of our Porsche titles – for more Porsche perfection, search our online store and take your pick – we’re pretty sure we have something for every Porsche fan.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Graham Robson 1936–2021

Last month saw the sad loss of another good friend of Veloce Publishing, and a true great from the world of motoring and auto journalism, Graham Robson, who died peacefully on 5 August at his home in Dorset.

Graham lived only a short drive along the coast from Veloce HQ, and was a frequent visitor throughout the year. With over 20 Veloce books to his name – and even an entire series in Rally Giants  – Graham often popped-in to talk shop and answer questions about his latest work. 

He was also equally inclined to pop in for a coffee and a catch-up, happy to chat about any and every subject from the latest engineering tech, to behind-the-scenes rally stories that only someone who was there could tell – as well as a myriad of things auto-related or otherwise. A dog lover with a soft spot for British Bulldogs, he was equally at home talking pups and pooches as he was pistons and prototypes.

Graham was a straight-talking Yorkshireman, and proud of it. He was also proud of his achievements, but never in a boastful way. With such a long and varied history, he had the remarkable ability to put his own achievements into context without hyperbole or ego creeping in. His directness and desire to get to the nitty-gritty of a subject is evident from his writing, and all Velocisti who had the pleasure to work with him could expect nothing less than utter professionalism and accuracy … with a rollicking good tale or two thrown in for good measure.

A welcome figure on the talking and eventing circuits, Graham was a regular up and down this country, and the USA, commentating, compering and presenting with a knowledge and humour that always made for engaging, enlightening and fun listening; he rapidly became a firm favourite with crowds and organisers alike. Our YouTube channel has a number of videos of Graham that are well worth a watch, including this great Author Profile, recorded in 2014.

His Veloce books hint at just how broad his knowledge was, covering everything from the technicalities of groundbreaking Rally cars, to the global commercial pressures that shaped empire-building brands. He was a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, the winner of many national and international awards and the author of nearly 170 books. His personal experiences of the people, places, and races that have become landmarks in automotive history meant he could talk with an authority unmatched by many writers. 

Graham will be sorely missed by all the Velocisti. What better way to celebrate Graham's life and work than with his Veloce titles, from his first Veloce book in 1998, Cortina: The Story of Ford’s Best Seller, to his soon-to-be published Classic Reprint edition of The Cars of BMC.


We have added a new category to our website featuring all of Graham's Veloce books; you can find it under Automotive > Collections > Graham Robson

Graham's Veloce books

BMW M3 & M4

The complete history of these ultimate driving machines

Fully updated, highly detailed, this brand-new edition of Graham Robson’s original Haynes publication explores every aspect of BMW M3 history, including its motorsport success worldwide. From the original E30 of 1986, through E36, E46, and E90 to the 6th gen of 2020, and the M4, it includes full, detailed specifications for each generation, and brings the M3 story right up to the present day, covering all models produced between 2013 and 2021, including M4.

£40.00 – BUY NOW

SKU V5579 • Hardback • 23x28cm • 256 pages • 263 pictures


The Story of Ford’s Best-seller

The definitive history of the hugely successful model which stayed in production for five generations, enjoyed great success in motor racing and rallying and which redefined the family car. With over 180 colour and black and white photos this is the fascinating story of a incredibly successful car.

£27.50 – BUY NOW

SKU V5100P • Paperback or eBook • 20.7x25cm • 160 pages • pictures • Flowing format eBook


The Search for Power (6th Edition)

This book covers the entire history, life and times of the famous British high-performance engineering company, from its 1958 foundation by Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, through its often-exciting and always fascinating evolution, to its expansion and worldwide success in both motorsport and high-performance road cars.

£55.00 – BUY NOW

SKU V4895 • Hardback • 25x25cm • 256 pages • 312 pictures

Ford Focus WRC

The auto-biography of a rally champion

The story of the 97 Ford Focus WRC cars during their 12-year rallying career; there were 44 World Championship victories, and the team won the World Rally Manufacturers’ Championship. Drivers included Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz, Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen, with sponsors including Martini, BP (and Castrol), and the state of Abu Dhabi.

£35.00 – BUY NOW

SKU V5020 • Hardback • 20.7x25cm • 192 pages • 240 pictures

Grand Prix Ford

In 1965, Colin Chapman persuaded Ford to underwrite development of a V8 for the new 3000cc Grand Prix formula. Built by Cosworth, the new DFV engine won Lotus four World Championship Grands Prix in 1967. A year later, and now available to other constructors, the engine began its domination of Grand Prix racing. This important book is illustrated with more than 300 photographs, most of which come from the UK Ford Motor Company’s own archives.

Price varies – BUY NOW

SKU eV5502 • Flowing-format eBook

The Book of the Standard Motor Company

Starting with the original Standard prototype of 1903, this book covers the scores of Standard models built until the brand was discontinued in 1963 (Britain) and 1987 (India). It also covers the Ferguson tractor involvement, millitary aero-engine manufacture, military aircraft manufacturer (including Beaufighter and Mosquito fighter-bombers), Rolls-Royce Avon turbo-jet military engine manufacture, and Triumph cars. This is the first definitive book to cover this major British marque.

£35.00 – BUY NOW

SKU V4343 • Hardback • 20.7x25cm • 208 pages • 262 pictures

The Cars of BMC

A Veloce Classic Reprint

The Cars of BMC is the most detailed record of the origins, operations, and legacy of one of Britain's most historically important industrial concerns. This is a unique record from one of the most respected automotive historians, and a key player in the British automotive industry. This new edition of The Cars of BMC covers the cars of the period 1945 to 1975, and the following marques: Austin; Austin-Healey; Innocenti; Metropolitan; MG; Morris; Riley; Vanden Plas; Wolseley; British Motor Holdsin (BMH) and British Leyland, plus subsidiaries and overseas connections.

£30.00 – COMING SOON

SKU V5632 • Hardback • 20.7x25cm • 304 pages • 440 pictures

The Daily Mirror 1970 World Cup Rally 40

The World's toughest Rally in retrospect

Lasting six weeks and covering 16,000 miles from London to Mexico City via some of the most varying, tortuous and difficult terrain on three continents, the 1970 World Cup Rally was a unique high-speed event. Attracting many serious works teams such as Ford and British Leyland, it was, and remains, the toughest rally of all time. This book, now reprinted in paperback, tells the complete story.

£25.00 – BUY NOW

SKU V5228P • Paperback or eBook • 22.5x22.5cm • 208 pages • 237 pictures • Flowing format eBook

The Great British Rally

RAC to Rally GB - The Complete Story

From the running of the 1932 RAC rally, mainly a social event, to the present day, when Rally GB is a high-speed endurance World Championship rally, this is the very first all-embracing history of an important part of British motorsport history. Descriptions of every event, opinions, and results  are brought together for the very first time, with year-by-year accounts of all events in the Rally’s history, and copiously illustrated with period photographs. It also covers the many and varied challenges posed by such crises as foot and mouth disease, weather conditions, and controversy over rules and regulations: this book is truly the definitive guide.

£30.00 – BUY NOW

SKU V5736 • Paperback • 22.5x22.5cm • 224 pages • 317 pictures

Triumph Cars

The Complete Story

The distinguished 130-year history of the Triumph company from original pedal cycles, to the first Triumph cars, and then every model up to the end of production. The authors reveal the in-house politics of the company, its design and engineering achievements, competition activities, and its international sales and marketing success.

£40.00 – BUY NOW

SKU V5289 • Hardback or eBook • 25x25cm • 256 pages • 250 pictures • Fixed & flowing-format eBook (check with vendor)

Rally Giants

Audi Quattro

Group B, Sport, Sport S1

The Audi Quattro is a Rally Giant because it was the first to combine four-wheel-drive and a turbocharged engine – not the most sophisticated, but it was the first, and very successful. It was also the first to run with more than 300bhp. As it was re-homologated/transformed from Group 4 into Group B in 1983, it was also the first successful Group B car. 

£15.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5110P  • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 116 pictures • Flowing format eBook

Austin Healey 100-6 & 3000

Between 1957 and 1965 the six-cylinder-engined Austin Healey evolved into a formidable and increasingly specialised rally car. By any standards, it was the first of the ‘homologation specials’ – a type made progressively stronger, faster, more versatile, and more suitable for the world’s toughest international rallies. This book tells its story.

£16.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5324P • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 140 pictures • Flowing format eBook

Fiat 131 Abarth

Fiat entered rallying in 1970, with the aim of becoming World Rally Champion – and it was the 131 Abarth of 1976-1980 which made that possible. It soon began winning World rallies, and, in 1977, 1978 and 1980, the 'works' team also won the World Championship for Makes, paving the way for successors the Lancia Rally 037 and the Delta Integrale.

£15.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5111P • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 100 pictures • Flowing format eBook

Ford Escort Mk1

The story of the Ford Escort MkI, a car that delivered everything its predecessor, the Lotus-Cortina, had promised. Versatile, accessible and competitive at all levels, it dominated international rallying throughout the 1970s, and became hugely popular with teams and spectators alike.

£15.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5107P • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 107 pictures • Flowing format eBook

Ford Escort RS Cosworth & World Rally Car

The Escort RS Cosworth became Ford's most successful model since the legendary Escorts of the 1970s. The combination of Cosworth power, 4WD transmission, and an effective aerodynamic package made it a Rally Giant in all conditions, making this generation of Escorts the most effective rally car that Ford had produced at that time.

£15.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5171P • Paperback • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 146 pictures

Ford Escort RS1800

The Ford Escort MkII, the RS1800, became Ford’s most successful rally car, and is still winning historic events today. It brought new standards to the sport, inspiring many others to copy it. This books contains full details of every ‘works’ Escort MkII that went rallying, plus driver and personality profiles, and detailed car evolution.

£15.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5109P • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 112 pictures • Flowing format eBook

Lancia Delta 4WD/Integrale

The HF 4WD – a compact, five-door Lancia – dominated world-class rallying for six years, winning innumerable events, World Championships for Drivers, and World Championships for Manufacturers. Alongside the cars, driving heroes such as Markku Alan, Didier Auriol, Miki Biasion, Juha Kankkunen and Carlos Sainz also became legendary in this period.

Price varies – BUY NOW

SKU eV5153 • Flowing-format eBook

Lancia Stratos

This book describes the birth, development and rallying career of the Lancia Stratos, Europe’s very first purpose-built rally car, in the mid/late 1970s. It provides a compact and authoritative history of where, when and how it became so important to the sport, as well as telling the story of the team.

£15.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5526P • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 131 pictures • Flowing format eBook

Mini Cooper/Mini Cooper S

This book describes the birth, development, and rallying career of the BMC Mini-Cooper/Mini-Cooper in the 1960s, providing a compact and authoritative history of where, when and how it became so important to the sport. Even today, works Minis appear at every gathering of classic cars – and in 2009, Mini celebrates its 50th birthday. Packed with over 100 photographs, this book is a fitting and timely tribute to a much-loved Rally Giant.

Price varies – BUY NOW

SKU eV4921 • Flowing-format eBook

Peugeot 205 T16

Peugeot designed, developed, campaigned and won with the first truly sophisticated four-wheel-drive Group B Car – the 205 Turbo 16. Detailing the cars, the influences, and the personalities behind a magnificent success story, this book is packed with illustrations, and technical data on this innovative car, and is a must for any rally fan.

£16.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5325P • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 100 pictures • Flowing format eBook

Saab 96 & V4

The story of the front-wheel-drive Saab 96, which made the brand into a rally icon in the 1960s. It succeeded in events as diverse as the Monte Carlo, Britain's RAC Rally, many Scandinavian events, and the Spa-Sofia-Liége Marathon. The 96 and V4 models produced victory where no-one expected it.

£16.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5332P • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 135 pictures • Flowing format eBook

Subaru Impreza

This book describes the birth, development, and rallying car of the turbocharged, four-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza in the 1990s and early 2000s, providing a compact and authoritative history of where, when and how it became so important to the sport.

£16.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5322P • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 96 pictures • Flowing format eBook

Toyota Celica GT-Four

This book describes the birth, development, and rallying career of the Toyota Celica GT-Four, providing a compact and authoritative history of where, when and how it became so important to the sport. 

£16.99 – BUY NOW

SKU V5331P • Paperback or eBook • 21x19.5cm • 128 pages • 117 pictures • Flowing format eBook