Monday 25 September 2017

McKay, McShane, and McRae

You probably all know that we're massive rally fans at Veloce Publishing, and with our recent release of Ford Focus WRC, this story from the official WRC website was particularly noticeable …

Rally fan Mark McKay has just raised almost £1000 for charity, after completing a marathon 24-hour charity drive around Scotland's senior football clubs, in memory of the legend of WRC, Colin McRae.

Mark, a bus-driver, covered almost 1400km, with his co-driver Lisa McShane, and they did it all in a £200 Ford Focus, converted into a replica of the iconic Martini-liveried Focus of the WRC car that McRae campaigned.

The drive was in aid of the charity Who Dares Cares, founded by two former soldiers to help those affected by PTSD, and started from Ross County FC, Dingwall, at 16.15 hrs, 15th September – 10 years to the minute after Colin McRae tragically died in a helicopter accident, along with his son Johnny, and two of his friends.

Meet Colin, the McRae Ford Focus WRC replica.
In typical rally fashion, it wasn't all smooth running, with gales, torrential rain, and rear light failures in 'Colin,' the name affectionately given to the replica Focus, that saw an hour's worth of frantic scrabbling with wiring, in darkness and pouring rain.

A year of planning isn't something to be dismissed lightly, so Mark came up with a cunning plan …

"I wired up the offside tail-light to the interior boot light, and screwed a camping head torch into the rear Ford badge on the tailgate and aimed it down onto the registration plate.”

Even though they slipped behind schedule by 95 minutes, they made-up time overnight, and made it through to an understandably emotional end at Paisley, welcomed by family and friends.

Mark is already planning an even more ambitious challenge … possibly a European stadia challenge, taking in clubs across Spain, France, Italy, England and Scotland. We can't wait!

You can find out more about Mark's inspiring efforts, over on the official WRC website:


Thursday 21 September 2017

Buried Automotive Treasure!

How about this for a whole different kind of buried treasure? Whilst excavating a site on Salisbury Plain, archaeologist discovered the chassis of an MG J2 car!

Photo curtesy of Wessex Archaeology

As part of the on-going development for the Army Basing Programme, WYG Environmental Planning came across this classic MG whilst surveying the Larkhill site in Wiltshire.

The MG J2 is an extremely rare car, as only 2,083 were ever produced. The two-seater J2 was the most common choice in the J-line. Back in 1932 when the car was first rolled out, it had a top speed of 65 mph, and would have cost you £199; that's almost £10,000 in today's money!

It is believed that this particular car would have been used up until the early 1960s, when it is possible that it was dismantled for repair by a local solider, only to be seemingly abandoned. The discovery also shows another side to life in the barracks, away from the soldiers' military duties.

As this is such a rare car, there isn't much published material available, but we already have a number of great books on the other MG models of the era. Check out MG's Abingdon Factory or our Essential Buyer's Guide on the MG TD, TF & TF1500 to learn more about these great cars.

Who knows, maybe we could publish a book on the rare MG J-series in the future... Perhaps you have an idea for such a book? If so, drop us a line on

Never say never...

Friday 15 September 2017

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – June

Oliver Winterbottom has been busy self-promoting his new book A Life in Car Design, and has been keeping a record of all the places he visits and people he meets along the way. In today's blog post, we have June's instalment. Haven't read the first part? You can catch up here

1 June  – Front page of the Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury as the only feature. Continued on all of pages two and three. Local paper delivered free to many (but not me!).

2 June – Buy Mercury. Visit Ketts Books, Wymondham, with my copy of book and info flyer. Thibault of Club Lotus France asks me to bring a book to Dijon for him to buy.

8 June – Chateauneuf en Auxios, France. Sell one book to Sonya, proprietor Le Bistrot du Port, and one to Julian, proprietor L'Auberge de Marronnier.

10 June – Deliver/sell one book to Thibault Venisse, Club Lotus France, and sign for him. One copy to Christian Roy, proprietor Le Hosteller du Chateau.

18 June  – Daughter Anne tells me that Jerrold's, Norwich, has three books on the shelf, front cover showing. Waterstones didn't have it and thought it was not in print yet.

21 June  – Emma from Veloce has advised Waterstones that the book is available.

25 June – Tom Smith (Texas USA Amazon review)
"As the title says, covers the career of Oliver Winterbottom's experiences, both the ups and the downs, in designing cars for many manufacturers. I am a long time Lotus owner and so I was mostly interested in his stories about Lotus and dealing with Colin Chapman. The author's candour about dealing with Chapman and others was insightful. About half the book was dedicated to Lotus. There are plenty of color pictures and the style is very easy to read. I especially liked the drawings and photographs of concept  cars he worked on, as well as modified one-off production cars that I hadn't seen before (e.g – a Europa with clear 'sails'). I'm guessing they were documents from his personal collection and thus, not previously published.
"All in all, I highly recommend this book for any Lotus enthusiasts as well as TVR, Jaguar and anyone else with a general automotive interest. Oh, and there's a chapter on his design work for Chapman's boat business which was very interesting!" Five Stars.

26 June – To Steve Cropley, Editor in Chief, Autocar. "Hello Steve, I guess you are very busy but I wondered if you had a chance to look at my book A Life in Car Design. I would love to know what you think of it."

Reply: "It's fab. Ran a piece about it in my column three weeks ago, including half-page pic pirated from the book of you, Kimberly and M90. Enjoyed your forthright opinions, which will fascinate other Lotus and former types, for sure."

"So glad you enjoyed it. Teaches me not to buy the hard copy of Autocar! If it is possible to get a copy of your words to me, I would appreciate it. Seems its not available online. Best regards, Oliver."

Ask Cropley for a copy as I do not get the magazine. It is not shown on their website. Edition probably Wednesday 7 June. As of 28 June, no response!

27 June – Email from Dave Sunter, Jaguar ex-apprentice now living in the USA.
"Oliver, I have just read the last page of your book. I have found it fascinating to say the least and have enjoyed reading all about your life's escapades in and around the car business. The shortage of money is nothing new when it involves building or even selling cars. Witness Barry's book on DeLorean, or the TVR story or almost any of the others. I do remember Stewart Halstead of TVR, formerly of Jaguar and of my home town of Burnley where his father worked as a mechanic at the same dealership as my father. I seem to remember something perhaps untoward about Stewart and his days at Jaguar. Maybe not. Best regards, David."

Sign book for Roger at Queen's Head, Hethersett. Met John Ashley (ex-Kings Heas) but have already signed his book.

28 June – I ask various folk if they can find a copy of the Autocar. Emma at the publisher, Veloce, comes up a winner and sends me the scan, below.

Web search unearths two reviews. It amazes me that some are totally inaccurate with facts supposedly taken from the book!

You can purchase your own copy of A Life in Car Design here, and make sure you check back in soon to read July's instalment of Oliver's diary!

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Dog vs Machine

Man versus machine is a topic that is often discussed, but what about mutt versus machine? Not so much. Land Rover recently pitted their Discovery Sport against a team of champion sled huskies, and we have all the details of what went on.

  • Discovery Sport takes on a dog sled team in a unique race at Vesileppis Ski Tunnel in Finland, pitting their 286HP Ingenium 4-cylinder power against champion sled 'dog power'
  • Intelligent all-wheel drive technology, Terrain Response system1 and advanced Ingenium®  gas engine to help the Discovery Sport handle the slippery Arctic weather conditions
  • Land Rover helps sled dogs resume cold-weather training during the Finnish summer
  • Versatile Discovery Sport is now Land Rover's best-selling model, with 75,000 customers taking delivery globally so far in 2017
  • Watch the full race here:

August 25th, 2017

With an estimated 50 percent of Land Rover customers globally owning or regularly traveling with a dog, Land Rover has put its canine capability to the test by transporting a team of sled dogs to an underground snow tunnel in Finland for a unique training challenge.

This year's warm summer had left much of Northern Europe without snow. Land Rover took a team of husky dogs in need of training ahead of winter championships to the Vesileppis Ski Tunnel in Finland, for a much-needed sprint around a snow track.

The Discovery Sport SUV provided stiff competition for Finnish middle distance champion, Laura Kääriäinen and her team of six sled dogs. They went head-to-head in Vesileppis Ski Tunnel, Finland, in a unique 1km sprint around a dedicated underground tunnel.

The undulating tunnel is carved into the bedrock 115-ft below ground level and kept at a constant 28.4°F  to maintain a blanket of snow 8-in deep through the summer, making it the perfect place to put the Discovery Sport vehicle's all-terrain capability to the test.

Setting off in opposite directions, the dogs had a straightforward task. Once they had negotiated the first incline they were able to pick up and maintain speed – typically around 22mph. In contrast, the path of the Discovery Sport was blocked by a set of ice blocks, which put its wheel articulation to the test, on one of its laps. 

Over two laps of the tunnel, the sled team and Discovery Sport were closely matched but the Land Rover, which was forced to negotiate a set of unique obstacles along the way, won the challenge by a nose. 

Driver Karl Richards, Lead Engineer for Stability Control Systems at jaguar Land Rover, said "Snow is one of the most demanding surfaces drivers will encounter during winter around the world and Discovery Sport proved to be as comfortable in these conditions as the dogs. Land Rover's advanced Terrain Response® technology and intelligent four-wheel drive system ensure our premium compact SUV is in a class of it's own when it comes to off-road driving – whether you've got two legs or four.1"

Before the race, the dedicated accessories in the Discovery Sport ensured that lead husky Jami was safely transported to the now tunnel to join his snow-starved pack. An optional full height luggage divider from land Rover prevents pets from accessing the passenger compartment and easily fits into anchor points inside the vehicle, while and available rubber trunk mat protects the trunk floor and even contains minor spills.

Available convenience features including Land Rover's Gesture Tailgate made easy work of getting Jami in and out of the premium compact SUV while the surround camera system, accessed through the 10-inch central touchscreen1, allowed driver Richards to keep an eye on the dogs when manoeuvring inside the tunnel. 

1These systems are not a substitute for driving safety with due care and attention and will not function under all circumstances, speeds, weather and road conditions, etc. Driver should not assume that these systems will correct errors of judgement in driving. Please consult the owner's manual or your local authorised Land Rover Retailer for more details. 
2Driving while distracted can result in loss of vehicle control. Do not operate, adjust or view the navigation or multimedia systems under conditions that will affect your safety or the safety of others. Only use mobile phones and other devices, even with voice commands, when it is safe to do so.

About Land Rover

Founded in 1948, Land Rover designs, engineers, and manufactures its vehicles in the United Kingdom. For almost 70 years the brand has built a reputation for providing its clientele with some of the most luxurious and capable vehicles in the world; whether driving through the heart if the city of traversing the countryside on- and off-road. Today's Land Rover lineup includes the Discovery and Discovery Sport; Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar and range Rover Evoque. Land Rover is fully engaged with sustainability initiatives and social concerns with continuous involvement in environmental and community programs. For more information, visit the official Land Rover website at

About Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover is the UK's largest automotive manufacturer, built around two iconic British car brands: Land Rover, the world's  leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles; and Jaguar, one of the world's premier luxury sports sedan and sports car marques.

The company employs over 40,000 people globally, with 330 in the US and supports around 275,000 more through our dealerships, suppliers and local businesses. Manufacturing in centred in the UK, with additional plants in China, Brazil, India and Slovakia.

At jaguar Land Rover we are driven by a desire to create class-leading products that deliver great customer experiences. The largest investor in R&D in the UK manufacturing sector, we have invested £12 nylon (USD $15.7 billion) in the last five year and in the current year alone will spend over £3.5 billion (USD $4.5 billion) on new product creation and capital expenditure. Last year Jaguar Land Rover sold over 583,000 vehicles in 136 countries, with nearly 80 percent of our vehicles produced in the UK being sold abroad. 

Friday 8 September 2017

Veloce's International Intern

Whilst Veloce is firmly rooted to the Jurassic Coast – and very nice it is too – our books are sold worldwide. Of course, we couldn't do this by ourselves, and we have some fantastic global partners helping us spread our books far and wide. 

Recently, we were lucky enough to have an intern from our German publishing partners, HEEL Verlag, in Bonn-Oberkassel. We've been working with Heel since the early 1990s, and, as a part of his apprenticeship in digital and print media with HEEL, Henrik Johaentges came to work as an intern at Veloce for three weeks. Take it away, Henrik:

"My name is Henrik Johaentges, 22 years old, and I come from Bonn/Germany. For the last three weeks I was an intern at Veloce Publishing in Poundbury. Towards the end of my apprenticeship as a media agent for digital and print media at Heel Verlag in Germany, I had the chance to complete my internship abroad. 
"The contact to Veloce came about after long business relations and a good co-operation between the two publishing houses. Both, Veloce and Heel, have a strong focus on automotive books and they sometimes publish each other's books in their respective languages. Hence, I worked here in Poundbury from 7th to 25th August 2017.

"I hit the road towards England by car, four days prior to the start of my internship for vacationing. When I arrived in Poundbury, after short stopovers in Folkestone, Southampton and Bournemouth, I first decided to explore the village. Even though everything was well cared for and new, it was at the same time still held in an old, British style - what I really liked. The village was built according to the principles of Prince Charles as an urban role model for sustainable development. Pretty unique and impressive.

"The Veloce House is located in the Business Park in the south of Poundbury, just a 5-minute walk away from my Airbnb accommodation. Veloce is in this building since 2009, after moving there from smaller offices in Dorchester. Founded in 1991, the company has now a total of 16 employees. On the ground floor are the warehouse and the reception. The other offices are located on the first floor. The publishing house has three imprints in order to split up the publishing programme: Hubble & Hattie (animals), Battle Cry (military) and Belvedere (general). 

"On my first working day I was asked to arrive a little bit later at 9:30am, the usual working hours were from 9am to 5pm. At the beginning I was introduced to the Veloce team and welcomed by everyone with open arms. Then I was guided through the building to get an overview of the structures at Veloce.
"Afterwards, I was introduced to my main project during my time at Veloce. I had the chance to work on a new Mazda book [The book of the Mazda MX-5 Miata], which is expected to be published in March 2018. The first task was editing the new photos with Adobe Photoshop, as the image quality
had to be improved. In the following days I started to insert the pictures and the text into Adobe InDesign and put the different chapters together. This took me more than one week, but I believe the results were convincing. Then I made some small adjustments on order to make the document printable. The last task was to create the dust jacket for the book in InDesign as well. Overall, I really liked these tasks because I had never worked with Photoshop and InDesign before.
"Towards the end of the second week I was asked to scan old photos for a new Jaguar Book [Jaguar E-Type Racing Cars], which will be published in March 2018. After I finished scanning all the photos, I edited them with Photoshop, because most of them had not the best quality. This took me until my last day, but I learned a lot of new features in Photoshop and I also had several other smaller tasks for in between.
"During the third week I was given introduction on the work routine at Veloce. I got an in-depth look in the social media/marketing work of the publishing house. I learned about the different social media channels and what mainly counts using them. Furthermore, I got an idea of different kinds of eBooks and what to consider when creating them for different devices. On my last day I learned how Veloce acquires authors for new books to come and which systems they use to save time doing that. It was great getting to hear about these important topics for a publishing house. 

"On the weekends I spent most of the time exploring the surrounding area of Poundbury. The weekend before I started working I visited Weymouth, a nice town right on the coast with a beautiful harbour. I did a great hike along the coast of the Isle of Portland, which is the southernmost point of Dorset with a big lighthouse. Needless to say that I also stopped at Chesil Beach, an 18 mile long shingle beach which links Portland with the mainland near Weymouth. 
"On the second weekend I rented a bike and made a tour from Poundbury to Burton Bradstock and back, which was about 50 miles. The next day I set off to Durdle Door, which is a dramatic rock arch. The hiking there along the coast was the most amazing and spectacular thing I experienced during my free time here. On my way back to I also stopped at Maiden castle, a hill fort from the Iron Age, from where one has a great view over Poundbury.
"During my last weekend I visited Lyme Regis, The Pearl of Dorset. This special little town is mainly known for "The Cobb", a huge harbour wall, and for the fossils that can be found in the cliffs and on the beach. Finally, I walked to Dorchester on Sunday, which is the capital of Dorset and situated directly next to Poundbury. Unfortunately I could not spend a long time there due to the bad weather.
"I can definitely say that Dorset is a diverse county. Whether going on the beach, hiking along the coast, going on a bike tour or visiting beautiful towns. It's difficult to get bored here, at least if the weather is good.

"The time in England was an amazing experience for me, both from a professional and personal point of view. I was able to get an insight into the British culture and the lifestyle in the county of Dorset. At Veloce, I learned a lot about the work routine in a modern publishing house from a foreign country, as there are quite a few differences between the German and the English ways of publishing. I really appreciate that I was allowed to get responsible tasks from a new perspective. During my internship I could improve my English skills both in writing and verbally. In particular, I learned how to work with Photoshop and InDesign.
"Lastly, I would like to thank everyone from the Veloce Publishing staff for always being available for questions, making me feel comfortable, and giving me an enjoyable time. A special thanks to those from Veloce and Heel who gave me the opportunity for this internship by establishing a connection."

We would like to thank Henrik for choosing to come and intern at Veloce: working in a foreign workplace can be daunting, to say the least, but Henrik took on the challenge admirably. We'd like to extend the invitation to return at any time. 

As soon as you like. 

We're waiting ... !

Tuesday 5 September 2017

What a difference 100 years makes …

Ford marks centenary of Model TT commercial vehicle that paved way for the transit

As you may know, we're big fans of the Ford Model T, the model that made the car 'mainstream.' Well, this press release, just received from Ford, marks the centenary of another Ford model, one that's not so well know, but just as historic … over to Ford …

BRENTWOOD, Essex, August 17, 2017
You’ve heard of the Ford Model T, but how about the Model TT? Though less well-known, it also had a big impact – as the forerunner to the modern day van and pickup, including today’s Transit.

First launched 100 years ago, in 1917, the Model TT was Ford’s first purpose-built one-tonne van. Owners could customise the chassis with a cargo bed to transport everything from letters to fuel – just as they can today in the 2017 Ford Transit Custom. The Model TT was first launched in the U.S, and later built at Ford’s Trafford Park factory in Manchester.

1917 Model TT van. Try doing that with a horse and cart.
The Model TT van was longer and stronger than the Model T car, with a cab that could seat one driver and one passenger. The engine was started using a cranking handle on the front. For a smoother ride, customers could choose modern air-filled rear tyres instead of solid rubber.

“It is amazing that while in some ways today’s vans are a million miles from the Model TT in how they have come on, they fundamentally do the same job as they were designed to do 100 years ago – providing a flexible means of keeping businesses on the move,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe.

One hundred years later, Ford now offers the best-selling commercial vehicle range in Britain and across Europe, with four commercial vehicles now carrying the iconic Transit nameplate – Transit, Transit Custom, Transit Connect and Transit Courier – as well as the Ford Ranger pickup.

In the UK alone, Ford has maintained market leadership in the commercial vehicle sector for 51 years – ever since the Ford Transit was introduced in 1965. In 2016, Ford recorded its highest-ever year of commercial vehicle sales with 118,000 units.

Transit sales passed its first million milestone in 1976, rapidly passing the next in 1985, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2013, which lined up end-to-end would circumnavigate the globe. On average, customers have bought a new Transit every 180 seconds during its lifetime.

A new study, which explores the use of brand words in the British dialect, reveals that the British public now commonly uses the word “Transit” as a generic term for van. The study of 2,000 consumers, conducted by Census Wide, reveals that almost a quarter used the word “Transit” to describe a typical van, and that 46 per cent of Brits believe that a “Transit” refers to a specific size.

Later this year Ford is launching 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom vans - that reduce local emissions by running solely on electric power for the majority of inner-city trips – on a 12-month trial in and around London.

Among those taking part in the trial are the Metropolitan Police and British Gas, which will allow both Ford and the city of London to explore how electrified vans can contribute to cleaner air targets while boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions. The Transit Custom PHEV van is planned for commercial introduction in 2019, part of Ford’s $4.5 billion investment into electrified vehicles by 2020.

* Sales data for full-year 2016. Ford of Europe reports its sales for the European traditional markets where it is represented through National Sales Companies. They are Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland