Friday, 17 May 2019

Oliver Winterbottom Monthly Bulletin - April 2019


1 April I write up description of the contents of my book for the Amazon Author Central Team in the USA. It explains the 'inside the business' nature of the story, and the changes from design with pencil and paper to design with computer.

2 April Tom Smith, who owns the Lotus M90 / X100 prototype in Texas, has requested permission to write an article for the USA Lotus Ltd Club magazine. I am happy to permit it! It may assist the publicity for the book.

3 April I send a copy of my book contents description for Amazon USA to Paul Shipley. He says he will use it in the next advertising for the May 1st event near Burton-upon-Trent.

4 April I complete the presentation for the PJS Sports evening on May 1st.

8 April I finally manage to access the PJS Sports Cars website. It doesn’t like Apple computers! The event is as shown below:

PJS Sports Cars Presents - An Evening with Oliver Winterbottom
A talk, questions and answers session and book signing by Lotus, Jaguar and TVR designer Oliver Winterbottom.
Ticket price (£10) includes tea, coffee and sandwiches. 
Ticket profits go to the Midlands Air Ambulance.
Book available on the night at £37.50 or in advance at £35.00 (see ticket options)
1 May, 19:00 – 22:00
Tatenhill Village Hall, Main St, Tatenhill, Burton-on-Trent DE13 9SD, UK

9 April Receive a message from Richard Woollaston, who is organising the Lotus Elite/Eclat/Excel Club display at the Donington Historic race meeting, to say the organisers are arranging for me to drive to the display. I plan to attend on Friday 3 May. In return, I agree to be interviewed by the commentator which could help publicise the book. 

Lotus Excel website states: Update – Oliver Winterbottom will be joining us at Donington on Friday 3 May, so a good opportunity to meet him and talk about the cars if you haven't done so already!
It looks like he'll also be giving an interview at the event.

Cheers, Richard.
                45 years since the launch of the Lotus Elite
10 April I circulate comments on an Autocar Opinion article, criticising the low profile tyres and dreadful ride of many current cars. My talk on The Lotus DNA had 2 slides explaining the traditional Lotus approach which gave a suburb ride as well as premier handling.

I am asked if I would give a talk to Club Lotus Cambridge which I would be happy to do. I sent my “no go” diary dates and await their response.

11 April  I get a message to say that Venisse Thibault is no longer involved with Club Lotus France. He allowed an English Lotus Excel to park on the club display at Dijon Prenois historic races. I signed a copy of my book for him two years ago. I am attempting to find a new contact. I succeed! Serge Audigier to be contacted by Tony Poll who would like to park his Excel with them.

13 April Arrive at Silverstone for the VSCC Historic races and have to talk my way into parking inside the circuit. I meet up with Paddins Dowling who runs the 1935 ERA R10B (ERA racing cars were created by my cousin, Raymond Mays.) Paddins lives in the USA but keeps the car in Britain. He kindly purchased a book, which I happily signed. He said he planned to read it on the flight home.

15 April I travel up to Yorkshire to visit a recently widowed friend. I was delighted to sign her copy of my book.

18 April I am contacted by Lotus Cars' PR Dept asking if I would be prepared to be interviewed for their new in-house magazine for their staff. Cleverly titled Us Lot (I am sure you can work that out) I am delighted to co-operate. I await a suitable diary date.

Diary date is in; just two hours later! A telephone interview with George Chapman, a London journalist. He will write up on the back page. I discuss my talk, entitled Lotus DNA: Some Views on Colin Chapman’s Philosophies. George was most interested in the comment that Colin was more interested in design efficiency than weight. He did however once utter “simplicate*, and add lightness.” I had wondered what simplicate meant for many years, so had looked it up. It was first used by W. S. Stout, an American who designed a car and an aircraft.
*Simplicate: to make something simpler through a process that initially seems daunting or complicated.

20 April A 1:43 scale model Lotus Elite arrives in the mail from Grand Prix Models. It joins my collection of cars that I had a hand in. Looks nice alongside a TVR Tasmin Coupe – although I say it myself. A nice Easter present.


The model Lotus Elite

23 April
An old friend, John Ashley, joins me for a trip to Lincolnshire. We visit the superb Newark Air Museum and whilst there, fall into conversation with a volunteer guide. He has a Clan Crusader, a sports car built by ex-Lotus engineers in the early 1970s. I mention my book to him at least three times!

24 April I arrive at the Blyton Park track for the annual BRM Association Track Day. This brings together BRM and associated racing cars for demonstrations on the track. There is no racing but some of the most exciting cars can be seen.
I was keeping an eye out for Dick Salmon, who is another Veloce published author, ex-BRM V16 mechanic, ex-Lotus Quality Manager in the early 1970s a former customer of the Wicklewood Cherry Tree! His superb book, BRM A Mechanics Tale, is still selling, now as a reprint. 

Dick Salmon and a wonderful BRM V16 which he worked upon
Another pleasant meeting was with Malcolm Kenwood of the Bourne Motor Racing Club. We had a brief chat about my forthcoming talk to the club on the 10 October.

Howden Ganley, who drove the BRM P180 competitively in the early 1970s was present and I was delighted to talk to him at the event. His book, The Road to Monaco: My Life in Motor Racing, was on display at the BRM Association kiosk, alongside mine. I suggested that if he bought mine, I would buy his! He declined, as his book was actually a donated raffle prize. I bought a few tickets and asked Dick Salmon, who was to draw the winner, how much a bribe would cost... It proved unnecessary as I won a prize anyway, yes, it was Howden Ganley’s book – and it's signed! Despite the generous offer to display my book, none were sold.

26 April Tom Smith, current owner of the prototype Lotus M90/X100 in Texas, sends me his final copy of an article he has written for the Lotus Ltd. Club in the USA. It traces the restoration of the car which is now as good as new. The story will appear in the club magazine Remarque. He has kindly mentioned: “Oliver told many interesting stories about the X100’s development and his dealings with Chapman, most of which he later documented in his book, A Life in Car Design (A good read for any Lotus aficionado, by the way.)” Many thanks, Tom.

My copy of Club Lotus News magazine arrives. Inside it is my letter, concerning the aerodynamic stability of the 1974 Lotus Elite. The final sentence: “For more information, may I recommend my book, A Life in Car Design, which attempts to describe the birth of the Lotus Elite as I remember it.” 

I am delighted that my car pass for the Donington Historic races for Friday 3 May has arrived. I am due to meet up with the Lotus Elite/Eclat/Excel Club and possibly give a public interview.

30 April All packed and ready to leave for the Midlands. PJS Sports Cars evening talk tomorrow and Donington Historic race meeting and interview on Friday 3 May.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Oliver Winterbottom's Diary – March Bulletin


1 March Kevin Atkins of Veloce Publishing tells me that his great idea of promotional bookmarks, have arrived. They look great to me, and I look forward to getting some delivered. 



2 March I’m contacted by PJS Sports Cars, giving me the hotel booking for my overnight accommodation, the evening of their Air Ambulance and book event in May. Very impressed with their ‘up front’ project management.

5 March On my way to give a talk to Club Lotus Avon, my new Citroën Cactus reached exactly 1000 miles from new, as I passed through the hamlet of Petty France on the A46 Stroud to Bath main road in Gloucestershire. If it had been a mile sooner, I would have been in the hamlet of Dunkirk. I thought it rather apt being a French car.

5 March I give Club Lotus Avon a talk at the Bull at Hinton, entitled LOTUS DNA Some views on Colin Chapman’s philosophies. There was a full-house crowd and I signed one copy of my book which a guest had brought. 

My talk ended on the comment that “the car which did ‘donuts’ in clouds of rubber smoke at the Lotus 70th Anniversary last September would have created a new form of job dismissal by Chapman”. 

I suggested something quicker than instant dismissal. An interesting comment from an ex-employee present who once spun the rear wheels of a Lotus when starting off on a Lotus Open Day demonstration in the 1970s. He told us that Colin Chapman criticised him quite severely. It was good to have a supporting story.


7 March Kevin Atkins' superb bookmarks featuring the book A Life in Car Design arrive in the morning post. I am so pleased with them – now to get them to work!

8 March Take bookmarks to the Barnham Broom Bell, and present to loyal regulars. They are warmly received to positive acclaim.

PJS Sports Cars order the new bookmarks for their charity evening on May 1st. Hopefully they can accompany the event invitations, which may help increase book sales!

10 March Start total revision of the talk to PJS Sports cars due May 1st. It will explain why I wrote the book, the events in creating it and some information on its contents.

12 March It is good to see Amazon UK have sold 2 more books since I last looked. However they now have a price of £31.46, reduced from the publishers posted price.

13 March I present a bookmark to my podiatrist, and she was delighted with it. Further presentations in the Hethersett Queens Head; all were received with positive comment. It looks like Kevin had a good idea.

14 March Completed the revisions to my talk on my book, for PJS Sports Cars.

16 March Now Amazon UK have a price of £35.99!

19 March Took some bookmarks to the Hethersett Queens Head. Gave one to a regular customer, who admitted he had not bought the book yet – but wanted a couple more to pass on. Perhaps that will get some trade drummed up!

22 March My younger daughter and granddaughter went to Norwich Theatre Royal. They met the cast, one of whom was very interested in my book, after my daughter did her ‘salesmanship’ bit.

25 March Amazon UK now have a price of £37.50.

26 March Had a delightful lunch with 4 ex-colleagues. Much discussion on some of the beleaguered members of the motor industry. I circulated my bookmarks!

27 March I learn of the new legal requirement of vehicle speed control. Mine and my sister’s vehicles already have speed limit information displayed. Mine is wrong in two locations, despite being only one month old. My sister’s also has inaccurate locations. 

I therefore write to my Member of Parliament, enquiring if the driver or the computer will be liable if the speed is wrong. If it’s the driver then what’s the point? I also stress the ridiculous ‘political’ statements comparing the systems contribution to safety with the absolutely vital use of seat belts (except on buses, which don’t have them).

28 March Steve Cropley, Editor-in-Chief at Autocar, writes a good opinion article on the speed control subject. He thanks me for some of the inspiration. There is now a suggestion that cars will also have speed recorders as well, so the authorities can trace your speed history. My view is “thank goodness I am well into my pension!”

30 March After much difficulty with the website crashing half way through, a number of times when entering details; I am now listed in Amazon Author Central Team, as suggested by Veloce. I am slightly disappointed to find it is based at Amazon USA but then again, it gives access to a huge potential market.

French Pavement Café – A Van Fit for Java


Have you noticed that when you buy coffee outside, it’s very often not from an ordinary catering van? Everything about the way you get to experience good coffee has taken a twist to entice you to further enjoy the experience.

And it’s not limited coffee. Bakery, pizza, and antiques all appear for sale on the street from the back of an unusual van. Not a Transit, a Sprinter or Transporter (although the Volkswagen Transporter has become a popular vehicle for cafeterias, something that’s travelled over from the Surfie Movement.) No, what we are talking about here is the very cute, strange, old chicken coop on wheels, the Citroën ‘H’ Van.


Far from modern, the 'H Van' was designed during the war, in Paris, and in inimitable French style, made something utilitarian look positively ugly, but with no allowance made for impracticality, the machine became loveable because it was so good at what it did. In some ways a bit like the Land Rover Defender (I’ve seen coffee vans on them too), its go-anywhere, bash-anything bodywork endeared it to farmers, delivery workers and those with a taste for exploration. I don’t think the 'H Van' did much exploration, but it was sold in some very inhospitable environments. 

Largely, the 'H Van' was designed by André Lefebvre, who also designed the famous Traction Avant and Citroën DS (I suppose he should be allowed one ugly one!) It replaced what the French called the TUB, which was a hard act to follow.

Lefebvre kept the weight very low and the hard parts in unobtrusive places. This left more room for payload. He used the drive line from the Traction-Avant – which did not impose into the driver's compartment too much – you effectively sat on it, with the gearbox and water cooling out front, beyond the screen. The designer matched strength with lightness, two features that are usually mutually exclusive. He had seen a German Junker's transport plane landing, and marvelled out how 'corrugated' panels made wobbly sheets strong.


Once peace had been declared in Europe, the 'H' Van was on French roads in droves. Citroën continued making them into the Seventies, showing that the French didn’t care what a product looked like, as long as it did its job. They became ubiquitous.

The strange thing is, they are now bought precisely for their looks! Our local Tesco’s has one outside, a bright red, left-hand drive one, run by On The Hoof CoffeeChristian and Zeta do fabulous coffee from their espresso machine, and great snacks too (Dorset Sea Salt Caramel Brownies, anyone?) The interior kitchen, decorated by the owners, is well laid out and nicely fitted, obviously a working space of some substantial pride.


Maurice the Van

'Maurice', as the van is affectionately known, is somewhat different from the way he started life. Co-owner Zeta said of their regular pitch, outside a large supermarket in Dorchester "it's lovely to have a spot year-round." Automotive lover Christian shared that "[Maurice] used to be awfully slow and heavy to drive, so a Ford Pinto 1600 engine was swapped into it. Now it's happy at about 40-45mph." 


The coffee is fantastic, and if you give it a go, tag yourself using #OnTheHoofCoffee and #VeloceBooks!

Send us a picture when you see a vending van with a difference! We have been told of a Peugeot Pizza van, that has so far evaded photos... so let's see some of the trendy cute mobile vending vans near you!

Tim Nevinson for Veloce Publishing


Friday, 29 March 2019

The Price of Potholes – Motorists' Repair Bill Surpasses £1.2bn

26/03/19 from Kwik Fit

The cost of pothole damage rises 32% in 12 months

11 million drivers affected by potholes in past year

Just £6.9million (0.6%) paid out by local authorities in compensation for pothole damage

The bill to the UK motorist for repairing pothole damage has skyrocketed to a total of more than £1billion, reveals research published today by Kwik Fit1, the UK’s largest automotive servicing and repair company. With more than 11 million drivers damaging their vehicle due to poor road conditions over the last year, the cost has reached a staggering £1.21billion – an increase of £296million (32%) compared to the year before.

This is continuing a worrying trend – in the year ending March 2016, the equivalent total bill was £684million, meaning that the cost of damage reported by motorists has risen by 77% in just three years.

The average cost to the individual motorist of repairing damage to components such as tyres, suspension and wheels has reduced slightly from £111 to £108.86, however, the number of motorists being affected has jumped by 2.9 million since last year. And the total cost is likely to rise even further as 1.4 million drivers say they have yet to have their vehicle repaired.

Almost a third of drivers who have hit a pothole in the last year had their car damaged by the impact, with the most common repairs being to tyres (5.9 million), suspension (3.8 million), wheels (3.7 million), steering (1.7 million), bodywork (1.3 million) and exhaust (1.2 million). 17% of motorists estimate they hit more than 30 potholes over the course of just one month – an average of one a day.

Regionally, Londoners’ wallets are being hit the hardest with an overall bill of £204,681,600, while in Wales the cost to motorists stands at £20,417,100 – a difference of £184,264,500.

Source: Research for Kwik Fit 2019 1

More than half (51%) of people travelling on UK roads believe they are worse now compared to a year ago, with 60% saying they are in a poorer state when compared to 5 years ago. This mirrors the annual ALARM report4 published today by the Asphalt Industry Alliance which states while a 20% increase in funds for road networks is welcome and will halt further decline, the one-off catch-up cost to fix UK roads will only continue to rise.

The ALARM report also reveals that just £6.9million has been paid by local authorities to compensate those affected by potholes despite the bill to motorists topping more than £1billion. This is reflected in Kwik Fit’s research as it found less than a quarter (24%) of people have complained about potholes in their local area to their council.

Source: Research for Kwik Fit 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019 1,2,3,5

Roger Griggs, Communications Director at Kwik Fit, said: “The cost of damage from potholes is hitting more and more drivers who are continuing to see their cash being spent on issues that are not entirely their fault. Fortunately, this winter has not been as harsh as it has been in recent years, however as we know with the Great British weather, conditions which would further damage our road network could still be round the corner.

“It is worth noting that damage isn’t always immediately noticeable so motorists should give their car a thorough check when they do hit a pothole. Damage can also often be internal so anyone concerned about their car can take it to one of our centres so the staff can put it on the ramp for closer inspection.”

Thursday, 14 March 2019

February Bulletin - Oliver Winterbottom's Diary


4 February Thoroughly enjoying reading Bunty (see 29 January) which is as entertaining as expected. The book is easy to read for short periods as it has a collection of individual stories, all linked by time and the subject.

5 February I contact Veloce, regarding ideas for book promotion this year.

6 February A response arrives from an associate of Michael Humphries who has a Lotus Elite and wrote a robust letter to Club Lotus. He is 80 years young and hopes to join the Elite 45th anniversary celebrations (when they are finally organised). 

7 February Response from Veloce regarding marketing: It sounds like you have a busy schedule of events coming up, so best of luck with them all, and if you have the opportunity please do share any news or photos from them with us, we’ll happily share these with our followers on social media and in our newsletters, with a mention of the book, to encourage sales. I have nothing to do with Social Media – but many do.

Amazon UK now has 7 books in stock (more on the way) it was 8 since the 14 January.
I receive details of the BRM Association Test Day in April and mail my invitation by return. I sold a book there last year!

8 February Half past two o’clock and I finish reading Bunty, the biography (through many stories) of David Scott-Moncrief, dealer in fine second-hand classic cars. This Veloce book portrays a real English eccentric gentleman of the type probably long gone. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

9 February Agree to move the date of my talk to the Bourne Motor Racing Club to October 10th to avoid it being immediately after my return from the Dijon historic races in June.

Chance meeting with Colin Farrow in the Barnham Broom Bell after 38 years! I wonder if I looked the same back then, as he recognised me! Attempted to 'sell' him a book through the advert on the pub wall - not sure if I succeeded!

Richard Woollaston posts information on LotusExcel.net that I am giving Club Lotus Avon a talk on March 5th. Thanks Richard, the more the merrier!

11 February I receive a cheerful message from Emily at Veloce explaining that Paul Shipley from PJS Sports Cars is interested in my giving a talk and book signing for their customers. I would be delighted and contacted Paul to say so. I had a positive response that evening, so now things are in the planning stage. Interestingly, they are located near my Prep school (that I first went to 67 years ago).

12 February Very efficient response from Paul Shipley that sets the date for a talk and book signing as 1 May. The event will pass any profits to the Air Ambulance. Paul will organise the books for signature so all I have to do is sign them and deliver a scintillating talk. I supplied him with two promotional displays.

13 February Visit my local Citroën dealer in preparation for the arrival of my new Citroën Cactus next week. Yes, its not sporting, perhaps, but comfortable. I take a copy of my book to attempt to entice the staff to buy some. (Failed!).

14 February Start preparing my slides and talk for the PJS Sports Cars talk on 1 May.

17 February Much discussion with Mike Kimberley (ex-Jaguar, ex-Lotus CEO) on whether Colin Chapman said “Simplicate to add lightness.” I am sure I heard him say it and did not know of the word simplicate. A web search reveals it was first said by William Stout, an American who had a motor company in the 1930s. All part of my research for the talk to Club Lotus Avon.

The club LotusExcel.net advertise my talk to Club Lotus Avon on 5 March. That should hopefully help fill the pub up!

19 February Message from Kevin Atkins at Veloce with a proposed book marker featuring my book. It looks superb so I hope it will ‘go into production.’ It would act as a long term reminder of the great work!



20 February Take delivery of my new Citroën Cactus, whoopee! The experts at the pub all agree, it looks superb. 



24 February It’s my birthday, as anyone who has read the first pages of my book will immediately know!

Nia, my Granddaughter is working two evenings per week at the Shapla restaurant in Wymondham as a rest from her Pure Mathematics. She tells me a group of Lotus engineers visited the local Indian on Saturday evening. She asked if they knew her Grandad and a couple did while the others had heard of me. Oh goodness, I am famous!

26 February Today the window cleaner praised the Citroën Cactus. That makes 100% approval of it so far. “At least it's not a grey VW” has been commented.

27 February I am delighted to find a notice in LotusExcel.net website advising of my evening with PJS Sports Cars on 1 May.

28 February Delighted that my book flyer is still on display in the gents' toilet of the Hethersett Queens Head, thank you Richard and Phillipa. Richard also asked to be brought up to date on this bulletin. I explained that Veloce published it but have sent him a copy anyway.

I print out the notes for my talk 'Lotus DNA', which I will deliver 5 March.



Wednesday, 13 March 2019

January Bulletin - Oliver Winterbottom's Diary


3 January An enthusiast friend sends me a New Year message. We go back to the 1960s and the temporary buildings of Coventry Art College. He makes the point “there must be another book [in me].” No, there is not, although some of the events mentioned in my book probably could’ve gone as far as a court case!

3 January Today I received and accepted an invitation to Classic Team Lotus for the launch of a new book, Black & Gold. Published by Coterie Press (apologies to Veloce), the venue will feature at least 15 JPS liveried F1 cars. I am looking forward to the evening of the 25 January.

4 January Amazon UK have the price back at £37.50 with 6 books left in stock.

4 January Discover that a young lady at the Barnham Broom Bell is the daughter of an old buddy of mine from the 1980s. He is currently up in Wensleydale (an area I know well), but I have recommended my book as the next birthday present for him.

7 January I guess Amazon must be either buying books back or constantly restocking. Hopefully the latter. They have 7 books in stock on the 6 January and now 9 books in stock on the 7th.

7 January I am delighted to get an unexpected envelope forwarded from Veloce. It contained a letter from a German who had read my book. But better than that, he has a 1980 TVR Tasmin that was the 77th built, and from the photo, is in superb condition. He says he has an education in design and appreciates the completeness of the “masterpiece.” He loves it and asks for my signature, which will be on its way shortly. I do enjoy a bit of praise!

7 January A busy day today! I receive an email from Peter Riches (ex-Lotus) who read my book over Christmas and asks for my contact details. This is because Ken Heap, who did a superb job on Lotus suspension design in the late 70s-early 80s, at Lotus had my book for Christmas, and wishes to get in touch. I look forward to that, as I have not seen him for many years.

8 January A response from Ken Heap tells me that he enjoyed my book. He had returned to Jaguar after his time at Lotus and he told me “I finished my working life at Jaguar at the end of 2003. I'd been there for 18 years, and in that time was a Chassis Senior Manager responsible for suspension and brakes engineering, and for the chassis load and stress analysis department.” Well done and deserved, Ken. I hope to meet again this summer.

9 January I responded to the TVR owner in Germany, and mailed a signed photograph back to him.

11 January A nice message from Germany, saying the letter and signed photo had arrived safely. Satisfied customers of both car and book are always much appreciated.

11 January 2 years ago on this date, I received one of the first 10 pre-production copies of the book. A fondly remembered day of excitement at Veloce. It also made the face-to-face meeting with the book editor Lizzie, who did such a good job. Sadly, she has since left Veloce. I have always loved the customer review of my book (in the USA) where the English text was not apparently correct. Lizzie has a First in English from Oxford University - but not in American English!

14 January Amazon have sold one! They now have 8 books left. Hooray!

15 January Ken Heap (see 8th January) sends me very interesting information on the Cresswell, which became very successful in Clubmans Formula racing. I was involved with this project at its birth, but moved from Jaguar to Lotus shortly after the design was solidifying, so had to stop helping. It’s all in the book.

16 January Veloce contact me to introduce Ellen, their new Marketing Assistant, who will be looking after my Book Bulletin. Welcome, Ellen.

19 January I send talk title ‘Lotus DNA Some Views on Colin Chapman’s Philosophies' to Club Lotus Avon for my talk on 5 March. I have felt the need to correct some historic statements made by recently replaced executives.

21 January I receive the Statement for the Public Lending Right which collects royalties from public libraries. Some technical books can generate a lot of money. My book was lent 24 times between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018 generating a magnificent £2.04. Whoopee, I’m out on the town now! (That works out at 8.5 pence a time).

22 January Down at the Barnham Broom Bell, I happily supply a signed copy of my book to Vincent's daughter ahead of his birthday (see entry 4th January). She is looking forward to reading it first!

25 January 5:00 pm and I arrive as invited at Classic Team Lotus HQ for the launch of a new book, Black & Gold. It traces the history of the famous JPS Lotus racing cars. The evening was also an opportunity to tour the new workshops which restore and maintain a huge number of classic Lotus racing cars. The event concluded at the Wrenningham Bird in Hand, where I could meet many characters from years back. A superb event. 

Some of the 15 JPS Lotus racing cars on display

28 January I learned last night that a book customer, and ex-colleague, had lost his copy when he left it in a hotel in Amsterdam. Well done J M! At least it should help spread the word, although to whom in downtown Amsterdam may be questionable.

29 January Order the new book Bunty, about David Scott-Moncrieff, the charismatic, ‘interesting' car dealer, from Veloce (released 1 February). Looking forward to an amusing read.

Richard Woolaston has been in contact, as he plans the 45 year anniversary celebration of the Lotus Elite Type 75, and Eclat. I hope he can reach as many owners of these vehicles as possible. I am ready to support a celebratory event.

31 January I respond to a delightful letter praising the 1974 Lotus Elite, in the Club Lotus News. To read such a positive narrative after a number of negative articles in the motoring press that were obviously written by authors using public bar jesting information, was most welcome.

His comment that the 1974 Lotus Elite was 30 years too soon, was most flattering! Aerodynamically, I suspect the Elite was the first production car to utilise a fully ducted cooling system which greatly assisted the low front axle lift performance. In these days of cars trying to achieve high axle downforce at speed, the Elite was not looking for that. We were trying to ensure the lift figures were small but almost more importantly, balanced at the front and rear  with very low yaw so that the handling did not change with increased road speed or in crosswinds. As Mike Kimberley has said, “The Elite was the most stable car I have ever driven at high speed and in horrific cross winds.” The author appears to have read my book, A Life in Car Design, which gives the inside story of the vehicles creation. Thanks Michael Humphreys.

Today is very cold and foggy so I was delighted that my book order from Veloce is delivered safely on time.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Oliver Winterbottom's Diary – December

As we move into 2019 proper, we take a look back at Oliver's diary from the end of November to the New Year. This time, we have archives, institutes, Christmas cards … and pub lunches, of course!



26–28 November – Worked on constructing my annual 'newsletter' Christmas card.

30 November – Met up with the son of my late best buddy, who came to historic motor races with me for 40 years. He spends much time in India and now knows the book (A Life in Car Design) exists!

I returned to the Brisley Bell for lunch – yes it’s that good!

1 December – I start going through my archives to get more history on the 1974 Lotus Elite (2019 will be its 45th anniversary). I find a copy of the Eastern Daily Press newspaper dated Saturday 18 October 1975. The headline is that Lotus got £8.5 million orders at the London Motor Show. The Lotus Esprit got a Gold, the Eclat a Gold, and the Elite a Silver medal from IBCAM. The Elite was in the unlimited price class. This meant it competed with Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, etc.

The Institute of British Carriage and Automobile Manufacturers (IBCAM) was established in 1881. It merged with the Institute of Body Engineers in 1965 and, in 2004, it merged with the Society of Automobile Engineers, UK.

Coachwork Awards at the British Motor Show were given to vehicles which met very rigorous design, fit and finish of car bodies. Entries were divided into classes dependant on type and vehicle price. In August 1977 I was elected to the Institute of British Carriage and Automobile Manufacturers and was also elected as a Royal Chartered Designer by the MSIAD.  I felt proud all over again!

4 December – Veloce's monthly newsletter On the Grid shows that John Elwin of Estrée-Wamin (France) has won a £50 voucher. John, whom I keep in touch with, was a Buyer at Lotus when we did the Elite in the early 1970s. It seems he won the voucher after purchasing my book! That’s very nearly bribery!

10 December  – Veloce circulate their list of reduced price books; I am pleased to see that mine is not one of them. In case you want to know why – the less the book sells for, the less the author gets. Of course, selling reduced is better than not selling at all.

A planned re-union lunch has had to be postponed 24 hours before due to various medical intrusions. Great pity as would bring ex-Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley, ex-Lotus MD Richard Morley, ex-Lotus Marketing Director (and later Chairman Ford UK) Roger Putnam, ex-Lotus Purchasing Director Martin Long, myself and all choreographed by Mike Hamlin, ex-Lotus aircraft driver. Hopefully, we can try again in the new year.

15 December – Good old Amazon reduced the price again, to £24.37. It seems to have a rollercoaster price system that might confuse purchasers.

16 December – I think I have completed sending my Christmas greetings to all my friends around the world. I use email letter describing my year in lieu of a traditional card. I have sent 98 messages so far! I have had many replies with, sadly, a few with sad news but that’s probably my age.

21 December – Get down to work on a talk to a Lotus club audience on the 'Lotus DNA.'

25 December – My sister gives me a copy of John Bailie’s superb book, Donington Park, The Pioneers. It is incredibly comprehensive and must have taken much effort to garner the information. I am sorry it’s not a Veloce publication but it deserves much praise.

26 December – I visit friends of my sister and meet the host’s brother, who received my book as a Christmas gift last year. He has a beautiful Lotus Esprit circa 1984, that he enjoys: however, he finds the non-power steering rather heavy. This vindicates my adopting power assistance for the S4 model.

31 December – Best wishes to one and all for 2019.