Thursday 23 December 2010


Good to see a review of this recently published book appear in Auto Express!

Click here for more info about the book!

Wednesday 22 December 2010


In the December edition of our monthly eNewsletter On the Grid, we offered the chance to win a signed copy of The book of the Ducati 750SS ‘Round-case’ 1974. We asked you to come up with a caption to go with this picture taken from forthcoming Veloce book Off-Road Giants! – Heroes of 1960s Motorcycle Sport (Volume 2).

We had a look through all the entries and decided that the winner was the following:

"Think you used enough octane booster there, Butch?"

Congratulations to Lance Jerale for the caption, the Ducati book will be in the post to you shortly!

Coming soon in 2011!
Off-Road Giants! – Heroes of 1960s Motorcycle Sport (Volume 2)

By Andy Westlake

Personal interviews with some of the greats of off-road motorcycling from the 1950’, ’60s and ’70s, along with some stunning period photographs that paint a wonderful picture of what motorcycling was about in this golden era.
More info.

Be sure to sign up to On the Grid to find out about future monthly competitions!

Tuesday 21 December 2010


Pictured here, Ard op de Weegh and Arnoud op de Weegh as they present Michel Dovaz with a copy of The fate of the Sleeping Beauties.

New! The fate of the Sleeping Beauties
By Ard op de Weegh, Kay Hottendorff & Arnoud op de Weegh
Foreword by former Sleeping Beauties owner Michel Dovaz

The ‘Sleeping Beauties’ – an array of neglected Bugattis, Lancias, Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Cords and Aston Martins on a rural French estate – have fascinated car lovers worldwide since 1983, when they were immortalised in a sequence of photographs taken by Herbert W Hesselmann. For 25 years, the full story behind the collection and its fate has remained untold ... until now. More info.


John Rosamond, author of Save The Triumph Bonneville! - The Inside Story of The Meriden Workers' Co-op, sends "Seasons Greetings" to all his readers.

Monday 20 December 2010


We are delighted to hear that Barrie Down (author of Art Deco and British Car Design - The Airline Cars of the 1930s) had a very successful book signing last weekend at Mini Grid in Toronto, Canada. According to Barrie, "The store sold all 30 copies and have ordered a dozen more - not bad for a corner of the colonies that is not really aware of British cars. General concensus is that the book is highly readable, even for non-car people."

The Standard Motor Club have also reviewed the book. Here is an extract from the review: "The book is comprehensively illustrated with examples not only from Standard, but also from Hillman, MG, SS, Riley, Singer, Talbot, AC and Alvis to name only a few. How each range was conceived and developed is covered in a degree of detail to support the lavish photography." Click here to read the review in full.

You can see the interview we recorded with Barrie Down below!


The show-stopping Jaguar C-X75 concept is now on display at the Jaguar Boutique in the Berkeley Hotel, London, where it will be available to view in the metal until New Years Eve.

This is the British public's first opportunity to see Jaguar's multi-award winning concept supercar in the UK.

After making its world debut at the Paris motor show, and becoming the star attraction at the Los Angeles motor show, the C-X75 is already turning heads in Knightsbridge as Londoners, tourists and even the odd celebrity stop to gaze at it through the window of the Jaguar Boutique.

"I'm really pleased we're able to put the C-X75 on display in such a prominent place in London for a short while," said design director Ian Callum. "We're tremendously proud of this Jaguar concept car and what it stands for, so it's great to be able to bring it to our customers in the UK."

The C-X75 concept is a celebration of 75 years of Jaguar. It is an electric supercar, capable of speeds in excess of 200mph, whose batteries are charged by two mini jet turbines mounted in the rear.

This sort of cutting-edge technology allows Jaguar to mix remarkably low carbon dioxide emissions – 29g/km CO2 – with seamless, groundbreaking performance, all in one stunning package.

Source: Jaguar

Thursday 16 December 2010


We thought we'd share this with you. Enjoy!

The Fix

I’ve tried to kick the habit, but I’ve been a user too long, and when the world seen through my eyes seems flat and grey, well – could another little fix do much harm?
The pleasure starts in the ritual, in its way the same every time, key in hand as the shed is approached. Already the first thrill of anticipation. A deft movement; insert, rotate, release. The padlock comes away. Opening the door a crack to release the promissory scent of oil, petrol, rubber, metal. I swing the doors open and chock them. Hello my lovelies, how are you today? Oddly, even these most masculine of toys are somehow always female. I pat a seat, stroke a glossy flank. Make my choice. I wonder – do the others mind? Today it will be the Laverda SFC1000. Tall and curvaceous, dressed in bright red, gold and silver she is my luscious Italian mistress – demanding, exciting, rewarding.
Another key, another lock. Petrol – Oil – Water – Electrics – Rubber: if all is in order, this spells POWER. Part of the magic, but not all. Off the stand, and oh-so-carefully heave on the bars to ease the bike backwards out of the shed and across the gravel. Let the ground take the weight, keep it all under control; once over centre away from one and it’s the merry tinkle of broken indicators and bent controls. Enough to spoil a chap’s day. Onto the centre stand again. Close, bolt and lock the doors.
Take a little time in dressing; distractions we can do without. Again the ritual, the warrior dressing for combat. Well, what else is it? The enemy: the inattentive – the incompetent, the downright bloody minded – and then there’s you yourself? You against the elements – at best a gale; at worst contact with the unforgiving inanimate. So on with boots, jacket, trousers, helmet. If this isn’t armour, what is? Are dark glasses needed? No good having stereopsis wrecked by an arrow of sun piercing the corner of one eye; too much at stake going into a bend and misjudging the line, the stopping distance, the traction.
As the earplugs expand, the noise of the world diminishes. Time to go.
Fuel on; choke; ignition – half a crank and the engine fires. The triple-beat of the exhaust marks out a promise of what is to come. Then, up the revs and warm the engine, no sense in stuttering off the mark, feet paddling ineptly. Two minutes at 2000 rpm, allows time for a quick pre-flight check: now she’s ready to go. Clear the clutch with a blip of throttle, drop the revs to idle and then ease down into first. As the clutch finds full engagement, both feet up and visor snapped down.
Pour on the power smoothly, favouring the cold engine, and snicking through the gears as the red needle on the white face of the massive tacho mirrors the revs’ rise. No call to hurry – relax, settle in and start to move, picking an easy line as the road opens up. Concentrate and let reflexes warm up with the engine oil and the tyres. Here comes the first bend; position for road surface and hazards, radius and line of sight – safety, stability, view.
Push distractions to the corner of one’s mind. Concentration suggests focus; but that’s wrong, that’s narrowing. For this, concentration means expanding the bubble of one’s senses, not shrinking them, allowing sight, hearing, touch and smell to plant one right
here right now, and forewarn where one is going to be in the next split second, the split second after that. So, expand every sense to the periphery, to perceive and to predict. Transcend focus to achieve flow.
Hazard ahead. Remember the mantra: information – position – speed – gear – acceleration: IPSGA for short. A Micra, driver giving information: ‘A little girl: 8 lb 5 oz; and a whole head of lovely black hair.’ – that’s right dear, look at your passenger when you’re talking to her, it’s only polite. Micra – Always in the Lead!
Have you every watched a replete cat playing with a mouse? They do it for practice, so that when it matters – when they’re hungry – they are at the top of their game. Safe overtakes require good judgement, co-ordination, timing, commitment – just like catching mice. Practise when it doesn’t matter. Plan, check, execute; up change as the Micra recedes in the blurring mirror and ease the throttle to slip into the landing-point without braking.
Sound and thrust combine as the next bend approaches fast. This is a bike of the eighties; a much better chassis than some, but none-the-less kept taught by tension in the final drive chain. Can’t afford to throttle off – to bottle out half way round; keep her steady with some thrust, trust the rubber, and ease her over a bit more. The steering is typically Italian, she’ll want to go straight on unless given a firm hand. So counter-steer for the exact angle of lean: in slow, ride the throttle on the vanishing point and ease the bars to the bring the bike upright again as the view and throttle open in concert.
That swoop in, swoop out when the speed and line are right leads to a compulsion – for the next one, and the next. This is close to flying, given a gradient, the banks and turns: two-and-a-half dimensional motion. Every second the world changes: hedges, junctions, road surface, camber, light, temperature, scents and traffic – cues and clues to what’s coming next. Never the same, always a challenge; it’s physical, cerebral, unbeatable. Gathering pace, the revs rise to 4000 rpm and 80 miles an hour; the engine smoothes, mirrors steady and the fairing starts to work; don’t even need to hunker down as the speed builds. Hit the Ton – still magic, but now because it’s the easy cruise not the tantalizing max of half as much again. The Triple would keep this up long past my growing need for coffee or its two-hour saddle. By then, in any event, we’re back where we started; the opioids in my brain rose-tinting the lenses in my eyes.

That is so much better!

© Mansur Darlington 2008.

If you enjoyed that, you will love this!
Laverda Twins & Triples 1968-1986 Bible
By Ian Falloon

From humble beginnings in 1948, Laverda made the move into large capacity motorcycles in 1966. A successful racing program led to the release of the legendary 750SFC, followed by the 1000cc triple. This evolved into the spectacular Jota and a new-generation RGS during the 1980s. More info.


Wednesday 15 December 2010


The Government drove the UK firmly into the fast lane of the electric and ultra-low emission car revolution today as Ministers unveiled nine trailblazing models that will be eligible for generous grants of up to £5,000.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and Business Minister Mark Prisk announced the milestone which could make 2011 the year of the electric car for the UK - and revealed five more regions that will be installing local charging points having successfully bid for a share of a £20m fund.

From January, the motoring map of the country will start to be redrawn as government and car industry work in partnership to give drivers a wide choice of clean, green transport.

The first nine cars to become eligible for eco-friendly car grants are: Mitsubishi iMiEV; smart fortwo electric drive; Peugeot iON; Citroen CZero; Nissan Leaf; Tata Vista EV; Toyota Prius Plug-in; Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt. More will follow next year.

The grant will be available to motorists across the UK from 1 January 2011, reducing the cost of eligible cars by a quarter, up to a maximum of £5,000.

The Government is also encouraging a new network of electric vehicle recharging points in streets, car parks and commercial retail and leisure facilities as driving electric cars becomes a part of everyday life for pioneering British drivers. The successful bidding consortia in this second phase are based in: the Midlands; Greater Manchester; East of England; Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said:

"A few years ago, ultra-low emission cars with mass market appeal appeared just a pipe dream. Now they are a reality and we can have all the convenience of the car without all the carbon that normally goes with it.

"Government action to support affordable vehicles and more local charging points means we are on the threshold of an exciting green revolution - 2011 could be remembered as the year the electric car took off.

"The British public has in the past shown it's ready to embrace new technology and take practical steps to adopt a lifestyle kinder to the environment, so we could really be at the start of something big."

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

"Today's news that motorists will be able to choose from at least nine cars under the consumer incentive scheme and that we are expanding the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles will further reinforce the message that the UK is Europe's leading producer of ultra low carbon vehicles."

Today's announcement further confirms the UK as a global front runner in the market for ultra-low emission cars and open for business for hi-tech green manufacturing. This builds on Nissan's decision to produce the Leaf in Sunderland and the work the Automotive Council is doing to improve the way Government works with industry.

Source: Department for Transport

New! Electric Cars – The Future is Now!
Written by Arvid Linde, winner of the headlineauto 2010 award for ‘Rising Star of Year.

What if we all had to say goodbye to petrol cars tomorrow? Would you be ready? There might be several reasons why you’re holding this book in your hand. Concern about the environment, determination to cut your fuel bill, or simply curiosity. Whatever the reason, the answer is within. This consumer guide is for housewives, petrol-heads, pedestrians, green activists, everyone – but most importantly, it’s for YOU. It will introduce the electric car to potential advocates and opponents, revealing all the pros and cons. Is such a vehicle really what it promises to be - the perfect answer to the fuel crisis and environmental issues? Will your next car be electric? This book will help you find out. More info.


Jaguar Trivia
The Jaguar Trivia app is designed to be appreciated and enjoyed. It will entertain and amuse you, it may even surprise and enthral you. One thing is for sure, it won't disappoint. Packed full of interesting facts and anecdotes, the Jaguar Trivia app will delight and inform Jaguar enthusiasts and car nuts generally. Although not a comprehensive history of Jaguar cars, and not all models are covered, we will be posting regular updates and models.

AVAILABLE NOW for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad on the iTunes App Store. Price: £1.79 UK.

Tuesday 14 December 2010


Wagstaff (left) Davidson (right)

The British at Indianapolis went on sale in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s souvenir shops during December. Some of these are open all year round and are situated at the entrance to the track’s popular museum as well as the Indianapolis International Airport.

Author, Ian Wagstaff was present at the time to report on the Indianapolis Motorsport Industry Show for Racecar Engineering magazine and to visit many of his contacts. He took the opportunity to meet up with the Speedway’s legendary historian, British-born Donald Davidson (right) who had been a tremendous help to him in his research for the book. The pair called into the shops and Ian took time to sign some copies.

A history of the British influence on the Indianapolis 500, including not only the drivers and cars, but the many others – mechanics, designers, and officials – who have been involved. The story is set out in a series of stand-alone chapters, with a wide variety of informative sidebars, and goes back 100 years to the early days of the race, through the British-led, rear-engined revolution of the 1960s to the present day. More info.


New Veloce book The fate of the Sleeping Beauties is number 2 in The Telegraph's festive gift ideas!

New! The fate of the Sleeping Beauties
By Ard op de Weegh, Kay Hottendorff & Arnoud op de Weegh

The ‘Sleeping Beauties’ – an array of neglected Bugattis, Lancias, Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Cords and Aston Martins on a rural French estate – have fascinated car lovers worldwide since 1983, when they were immortalised in a sequence of photographs taken by Herbert W Hesselmann. For 25 years, the full story behind the collection and its fate has remained untold ... until now. More info.

Monday 13 December 2010


Fifth Gear road test of the 458 Italia

Fifth Gear's Jason Plato and the Ferrari 458 Italia

The outstanding Ferrari 458 Italia has been nominated Fifth Gear’s “Fast Car of the Year”. Reviewing Ferrari’s latest mid-engined V8 sports car on a road test in the hills above Maranello, home of the fabled Prancing Horse, Jason Plato described the car as “a beautifully-engineered bit of kit.” His praise went even further when he declared: “I’m not kidding when I say this is the best car I’ve ever driven, by a good way. It is just amazing!”

The Fifth Gear Awards are decided by the entire Fifth Gear team, including presenters and crew, and are only given to the most deserving and notable cars that have been featured in either of the two series of Fifth Gear during 2011.

The Fifth Gear “Fast Car of the Year” award comes on the back of raft of other international awards for the 458 Italia, including BBC Top Gear Magazine’s “Supercar of the Year” and “Car of the Year”, GQ Magazine’s “Supercar of the Year”, MSN Cars “Car of the Year”, and Auto Express’s “Performance Car of the Year”.

The Ferrari 458 Italia was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009 to immediate critical acclaim. Following an extensive international media test drive programme in Maranello the car has been the subject of enthusiastic reviews, with its handling, roadholding, ride comfort and performance all being subject to the kind of superlatives rarely seen from the world’s leading journalists.

Source: Ferrari

Friday 10 December 2010


Congratulations to Roy Smith for winning a prestigious award last night at the Guild of Motoring Writers awards ceremony.

Picture: Copyright Jeff Bloxham

Roy Smith was awarded The Mercedes Benz Award and the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy for his work on Alpine & Renault – The Sports Prototypes - Volumes 1 & 2.

" Awarded to the Guild member judged to have made the greatest contribution to recording, in the English language, the history of motoring or motorcycling in a published book."

Roy Smith recieves the Montagu Trophy from Lord Montagu.
Picture: Copyright Jeff Bloxham

Click covers for more info

Wednesday 8 December 2010


Top Gear has named the Jaguar XJ as its Luxury Car of the Year 2010.

Writing in the most recent Awards Issue of Top Gear Magazine, Editor at Large Jason Barlow described the XJ as a “Blast from the future,” adding “rarely has a new car slackened so many jaws.”

The XJ is a landmark vehicle from a revitalised and more confident Jaguar. Since launch in May 2010, it has been extremely well received by customers and media alike and is fast becoming a multi-awarding winning model, having already scooped the Scottish Luxury Car of the Year and What Car? Luxury Green Car of the Year accolades.

“The Jaguar XJ brought a bold new approach to the luxury car market in the UK with its distinctive design, generous accommodation, exceptional performance and strong economy credentials,” said Geoff Cousins, Managing Director, Jaguar UK.

“We’re delighted that the Top Gear team - definitely one of the toughest judging panels anywhere in the motoring world - have recognised what makes the XJ so special with this award.”

With its lightweight aluminum architecture, the XJ is the most efficient luxury car in its class. It has attained a 29 percent segment share during its first six months on sale, establishing itself as the British car of choice with customers ranging from company CEOs to high-end hotel chains.

Source: Jaguar


Jaguar XJ220 - The Inside Story by Mike Moreton is reviewed in the January 2011 edition of Classic & Sports Car magazine!

Click here for more info about the book.

Thursday 2 December 2010


New! The book of the Ducati 750SS ‘Round-case’ 1974
By Ian Falloon.

Although manufactured for only one year – 1974 – the Ducati 750 Super Sport was immediately touted as a future classic. It was a pioneer motorcycle – expensive and rare, and produced by Ducati’s race department to celebrate victory in the 1972 Imola 200 Formula 750 race.
Owing to its uniqueness and rarity, the 750 SS has become extremely valuable and desirable, fetching prices beyond the most expensive contemporary Ducati; for Ducatisti, it is the Holy Grail. More info.

Wednesday 1 December 2010


Author John Rosamond's latest book signing on 29th November 2010 of Save the Triumph Bonneville! The Inside Story of the Meriden Workers' Co-op. This was at the request of one of the owners of Meriden Motorcycles - John Hallard (aka The Meriden Co-op Wheelie King). The signed book will be presented to the proud new owner of this Triumph 750cc Silver Jubilee produced by Meriden Co-op and fabulously restored by Meriden Motorcycles - one more bike and one more book sale!
Click here for more info about the book.