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!

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