Wednesday 29 June 2016


Veloce book is used to help Porsche GB restore a very rare, race car.

The 924 GTP race car driven in 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours by Tony Dron and Andy Rouse lives again, thanks to diligent work by Porsche GB Porsche Classic partners, using Veloce author Roy Smith’s book The Porsche 924 Carrera – evolution to excellence.

It all started just a few months ago in December, the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart allowed one of its prized original condition race cars to come to the UK in a bold plan to restore it to its original 1980s condition. The idea and dream of the personnel at Porsche GB in Reading, the back to the future project saw the 1980 Porsche Le Mans racer reunited with its original British driver line-up at the Silverstone performance centre, prior to beginning restoration by Porsche Classic Centre Partners, some thirty-five years since it last turned a wheel in anger.

The Porsche 924 Carrera GTP Le Mans raced at the iconic French 24 Hours endurance motor sport event in 1980 as part of an innovative three-car international team. Car #2 was the British entry, #3 the American and #4 the German. Each car featured distinctive liveries based on the national flags. Drivers Tony Dron and Andy Rouse, finished the 24 Hours in 12th place.

At a special event on 27th June Tony Dron, along with Derek Bell MBE who had driven the American decaled sister car, and Jurgen Barth who drove the German decaled third sister car, were reunited with, in Dron’s case, ‘his’ car for the first time since that race 36 years ago.

Invited guests were to see a superb 100% accurate restoration, correct in every detail. This unique and spectacular car, restored by the skilled technicians at Porsche Classic Partner Centres, deserves huge praise. Four Porsche Classic Partner Centres in the Porsche Cars GB sales network were involved, located in Glasgow, Hatfield, Leeds and Swindon. A thorough investigation of the historic race car specification and finish has resulted in a superb, historically sympathetic - race-ready condition car.

Porsche Centre Glasgow worked on the suspension, brakes and wheels; Porsche Centre Hatfield, the gearbox and drivetrain; Porsche Centre Leeds had the responsibility for the electrics and radiator plumbing; Porsche Centre Swindon found and rebuilt the car’s original engine. Road and Race Restorations in Manchester, a Porsche Recommended Body Repairer, completed the project by restoring the bodywork and interior trim. Porsche Classic, the factory department were able to supply many original parts. Each of the Porsche centre teams made extensive use of The Porsche 924 Carrera – evolution to excellence book, to verify, decal placement, component placement and even to copy the style of welds by studying photographs included in Roy Smith’s masterwork.

Celebrating the the 40th anniversary of the launch of the 924 in 1976, this historic 924 Carrera GTP Le Mans will be demonstrated at events such as Le Mans Classic, the Oldtimer Grand Prix, Silverstone Classic and the Lancaster Insurance NEC Classic Motor Show – and will also be proudly displayed in the showrooms of the Porsche Centres responsible for bringing this part of Porsche motorsport history back to life once more.

The 924 GTPs engine a 1,984 cc, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder was fired up and Tony Dron who made an inaugural lap of the Porsche centre customer test circuit.

Watch an interview with Roy Smith and Derek Bell MBE.

Author Roy Smith is an award-winning member of the Guild of Motoring writers. The Porsche 924 Carrera - evolution to excellence is still available to buy, while Roy’s next masterpiece PORSCHE – the racing 914s is coming in September 2016.

Friday 17 June 2016


In a spectacular event at London’s Roundhouse yesterday, the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 was presented. The car defines the future of luxury mobility. Codenamed 103EX, it is the marque’s first ever pure ‘Vision Vehicle’.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 presents an intriguing and aesthetically dynamic vision of the future of luxury mobility – a completely personal, effortless and autonomous Rolls-Royce experience, wrapped in a design that ensures a ‘Grand Sanctuary’ for its occupants, and a ‘Grand Arrival’.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 anticipates the mobility demands of the luxury customer of the future. Brought to life by Rolls-Royce after many months of study and consultation with current patrons of the brand, the car represents their clearly expressed desire for an assurance that the marque’s plans for the future of luxury personal mobility will continue to embody the key attributes that have made Rolls-Royce the preferred marque of the most discerning and powerful patrons in the world for over a Century.

With the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the brand provides just such an assurance to its valued customers – present and future. It makes a bold and definitive statement of confidence in a future where Rolls-Royce rejects the notion of anonymous, utilitarian and bland future modes of mobility. Through an intimate understanding of its customers’ thinking and their demands in the future, Rolls-Royce presents an exciting and highly appealing vision of effortless, autonomous, spacious and beautiful luxury mobility, as personal as each individual customer.

Source: Rolls-Royce

Thursday 9 June 2016


Over half of the world’s Minis are boys, with the most popular name being Marvin, according to the world’s first ever Mini Census.

The survey, carried out by the organisers of Mini World Live, which takes place at Rockingham Motor Speedway, Northants, on July 10, 2016, received responses from Mini owners all over the globe, including places as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Malta and the USA.

The results show that in total, 51% of the world’s Mini population is male, 35% are female and 14% are neither – although anyone who’s ever owned a Mini knows it’s more than just a car.

Among the boy Minis, the most popular names are Marvin, Tommy (Cooper) and Jack, although there’s a developing trend towards the names Dave, Stuart and Bob, made famous by Minions - The Movie. Girl Minis tend to follow a more alliterative tone, with Minnie (perhaps unsurprisingly), Mollie and Millie being the three most favoured names.

Some of the more unusual names that owners have given their Minis include Pingu (because he’s white with a black roof), Tetley (because he has more holes in him than a tea bag) and Mojo Jojo (after the evil monkey in The Powerpuff Girls). Randomly, one correspondent has also named her Mini Leigh Halfpenny after the Welsh rugby international (because he’s smallish, gorgeous and powerful).

The survey also proves the diversity of the world’s Mini owners, with the youngest respondent being 17-year old Luke from Auckland, New Zealand, who has a male Mini called Sheldon, after Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory. The oldest respondent was 80-year old John from Bangor, North Wales, who has a female Mini called Mavis, named after his late wife.

Commenting on the survey, Mini World Live event manager, Katherine Chappell, said: “Mini owners have a real sense of community, and their cars are just as much a part of that community as they are. Minis, both old and new, are the most celebrated and characterful cars in the world, and with Mini World Live we want to celebrate that character.”

Following the show’s debut in 2015, which brought thousands of Mini enthusiasts to the Northants venue, the organisers are promising even more action and more of a festival feel for the show, which is backed by three major Mini-related magazine titles – MiniWorld, Mini Magazine and Modern MINI.

The show will feature attractions catering for fans of both classic and modern Minis, including a concours competition, individual entries, a huge retail village, show and shine areas, club displays and on-track action, the details of which will be confirmed nearer to the date.

Visitors will also be able to enter a competition to win a Mini, sponsored by specialist insurers Carole Nash. The classic is currently being restored by the magazine teams, and will be on display at the Show. Modified Mini owners will also be able to enter a ‘Best Wheels’ competition, in association with Wheel Whores.

Live music and refreshments will also form a core part of the event, with camping available the evening before to ensure it benefits from a vibrant, festival feel.

Full details of the show, along with the opportunity to buy advance early bird tickets saving at least £4 on show entry, are available at Mini World Live.

Friday 3 June 2016


This year’s Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, billed as the world’s toughest endurance rally for classic and vintage cars, will feature a Mini for the first time in the event’s history.

The 1972 Austin Mini 1000 has been entered as a last minute replacement for Car 34 after Paul and Chris Hartfield’s pre-war Packard wasn’t ready in time.

Concerned for the Packard, Paul contacted Owen Turner from the Rover Centre whom he had met on last year’s Sahara Challenge, for some advice and seeing just how much work still needed to be done on the old American car, advised against taking it on the grueling 36-day 8,500mile event that journeys through some extremely difficult terrain.

Needing a car in a hurray to meat the shipping deadline, the best option was to buy the Mini Owen had prepared for himself for the 2015 Marrakesh event as well as Le Jog.

Owen explains: “The Packard needed a lot of work still doing and would not have coped with the likes of Mongolia at all in its current condition. It will be a challenge for the Mini, especially the Gobi Desert, but at least you can fix it fast and get moving again.”

The Mini 1000 has a 1300 engine and uses a 1991 body shell, sprayed in its original colour. Not bad considering it was built in two weeks.

The sixth Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, organised by the Endurance Rally Association, will begin on Sunday 12th June 2016 as 110 crews cross the start line at the Great Wall of China in Beijing.

Competitors will cross eleven countries including Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, Russia and Belarus before entering Europe to reach the finish line in the centre of Paris on Sunday 17th July.

More crews are taking part in the 2016 outing than ever before, with 50 cars dated pre-1942 in the Vintageant class and 60 in the Classic class dated pre-1977.

The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge begins Sunday, June 12, 2016, at the Great Wall of China outside Beijing and concludes Sunday, July 17, 2016, at Place Vendôme in the center of Paris, France.

For more details including the full route itinerary and the latest updates, visit


Peking to Paris – The Ultimate Driving Adventure (eBook edition)

The official record, and a vivid daily diary of the gruelling 40-day centenary drive from Peking to Paris. 130 intrepid drivers, in cars ranging from a 1903 Mercedes to Citroën 2CV, race through the Gobi Desert, Outer Mongolia, and across Russia to Europe ... the action frozen in stunning photographs. Chapters on the 1907 and 1997 events, too. More info.

Forthcoming! ANATOMY OF THE CLASSIC MINI – The definitive guide to original components and parts interchangeability.

This book’s title sums up its purpose. Anatomy of the classic Mini is the result of years of research, and document the many variations of the same components, explaining which model and date each is for. All restorers of classic Minis (no German parts) will want this book! More info.

Thursday 2 June 2016


“Calling All E-types” is the message from The Jaguar E-type Club who are inviting all E-type owners to join its charity drive around the coastal roads of Great Britain in September. Working with Prostate Cancer UK, the aim is to involve as many E-types Jaguars as possible, including cars from overseas, in a very different, and possibly unique, driving event.

Starting at Goodwood the day after the famous Revival meeting, the drive consists of 18 one-day stages with an average daily mileage of 180 miles (290 km). Dates are September 12 – 29, 2016.

Philip Porter, author of 30 motoring books and founder of the Jaguar E-type Club, has just recovered from prostate cancer. 'I was lucky. I had the tests, caught it early, had the operation and recently had the all-clear. Our aim with this event is to not only raise funds, working with Prostate Cancer UK, but also awareness. With the support of E-type owners, this national event which literally goes to every corner of the country, can do just that.

'To create a great spectacle for the public and the media, we need as many E-types to participate in a stage, or stages, as possible.

'Our E-types can play a major role in the important fight against this indiscriminate killer cancer. We can also have a lot of fun and enjoy an amazing drive through many of the most stunning parts of Great Britain while helping a very good cause.

'What could be better: driving our E-types as they were designed to be driven, and saving lives?'

All E-type Jaguars of every model, colour, condition and year are welcome. Porter will be driving his red E-type Roadster that appeared in the iconic film, The Italian Job. 848 CRY has been featured on television on Top Gear and The Car's The Star, and in many publications.

Rod Grainger, Veloce’s Publisher and chief petrolhead, is driving his E-type on the Lyme Regis to Penzance leg of the Round Britain Coastal Drive in support of Prostate Cancer UK, a charity helping to beat a disease which kills so many men every year. If you own, or can borrow, an E-type, Rod urges you to take part in this fun run to help raise funds for a very worthy cause.

The facts:

Daily Stages (finishing point): Lyme Regis (Day 1), Penzance (2), Bridgwater (3), Tenby (4), Penryhndeudraeth (Portmeirion) (5), Blackpool (6), Carlisle (7), Largo (8), Kyle of Lochalsh (9), Kinlochbervie (10), Inverness (11), Stonehaven (12), Berwick-upon-Tweed (13), Bridlington (14), Cromer (15), Maldon (16), Folkestone (17), Goodwood (18).

Significant Jaguar Destinations: Blackpool (where the company was founded) and Cromer (where E-type designer Malcolm Sayer was born).

Jaguar E-type Club: formed in 2004, the Club has members in over 50 countries and organises events worldwide. The accent is on using cars and not on polishing!

Prostate Cancer UK: the E-type Club Round Britain Drive is being organised in conjunction with the charity Prostate Cancer UK. Although UK-based, this charity is raising funds to find a cure for one of the most common cancers in men in the world. It is equally important to raise awareness.

Philip Porter: has owned his two historic E-types for 40 years. They are 9600 HP, the oldest E-type in existence, the original Geneva launch car and road test car which set the magic 150mph legend and appeared in all the newspapers and magazines. And 848 CRY, which was raced extensively in 1961 and later appeared in the film The Italian Job. Porter has written around 30 motoring books, including two award-winning major works on the Jaguar E-type, and founded the Jaguar XK Club, the Jaguar E-type Club and Porter Press International, the world's leading publisher of quality motoring books. He has recently recovered from prostate cancer.

The Jaguar E-type: The E-type was a sports car produced by Jaguar Cars between 1961 and 1974. Owned by pop and rock stars, such as George Harrison and Mick Jagger, footballers such as George Best, and many leading actors, the E-type was very much a part of the Swinging Sixties, together with mini skirts, mods on scooters, the Beatles, the King's Road, Mary Quant and Twiggy.

E-types were raced successfully in many parts of the world, including at Le Mans and in the USA. They often beat their main rivals, the Ferraris. The E-type racers included World Champions Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees OBE, Sir Jack Brabham and Graham Hill. E-types appeared in many films and have many times been voted the public's favourite sports car, most beautiful car and most sexy car. The E-type is the ideal car to publicise prostate cancer.

Fund-raising: passenger seats for half days will be auctioned. This is just one of the initiatives being worked on. The crew of the car that has raised the most funds per day will lead off and wear the Yellow Jersey (actually a Yellow Hat!). Corporate sponsorship is invited.


The Lotus 18 was Colin Chapman’s first rear-engined single-seater, becoming a milestone in the history of the Grand Prix car.

Colin Chapman’s previous attempts at producing a Formula 1 car had been a complete disappointment. Despite being technically advanced, extreme lightness led to numerous structural failures.
In 1960, Chapman decided to start with a clean sheet of paper, assessing the basic requirements for a contemporary Formula 1 car, and identifying how to achieve them in the most straightforward, uncomplicated way. The result was one of Chapman’s greatest creations – the Lotus 18 – a trendsetting, rear-engined car that was to set new performance standards from the outset.
Driven by some of the top drivers of the era – including Innes Ireland, Jim Clark, and John Surtees – it was Stirling Moss who made the car’s name, winning four Grands Prix, including his sensational victories over Ferrari, against all odds, at Monaco and the Nürburgring in 1961.
This book describes the history of the Lotus 18 throughout its seven-year competition career, via season by season summaries, and provides detailed appendices charting the individual histories of all 28 chassis that were built. Full race results are also presented, along with driver achievements.

Lotus 18 – Colin Chapman's U-turn by Mark Whitelock is available now. Click here for more information about the book.