Tuesday 19 December 2017

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – October and November

It's that time of the year when we all start winding down in time for Christmas. But not Oliver Winterbottom! After a slower end to the summer, things picked up and he has been incredibly busy. Today we have a bumper post, to get you up to speed. You can catch up on May, June, July, August and September's entries here. 

3 October – Siân at Veloce sends three book reviews from September. Quite a detailed and pretty good one from Big End. Graham Robson also wrote one, as did New Zealand Classic Car. Getting fairly widespread coverage now.

6 October – Visit Alexander Boswell, son of Ian, who encouraged me to design cars when I was young. He and his sisters were family friends. I gladly sign his copy of my book.

9 October – Give talk at East Anglia Lotus Club at Tivetshall Old Ram. Capacity crowd and signed a number of books. Message from the Club Chairman: "Thank you very much for your talk and presentation last night. All comments were very favourable, a few members were disappointed that your book was not available to purchase last night, and perhaps you could recommend the most suitable source please." Note: Need to think about the book supply before future events, but don't want to become a 'bookseller.'

10 October – Book air mailed to China reaches its destination.
Discussing presenting a copy to the library of my old school Denstone College.
Create a book 'flyer' with quotes from reviews to help promote the book prior to Christmas. A4 sheet which can be folded for carrying.

11 October – My latest book flyer put on display at the Barnham Broom Bell.

12 October – Lunch at the Larling Angel, they put my book flyer on display. 
Contact Angus Marshall at lotusexcel.net to discuss pre-Christmas promotional possibilities. 

16 October – Find Jarrolds, Norwich bookseller review dated 1st of August on the web.

17 October – Richard Bond, Hethersett Queens Head, would like a book signed as a special gift. Suggest evening of Tuesday the 24th.

21 October – Go to BRM Association Evening in Bourne. Take a number of book flyers and distribute among potential purchasers. I catch up with various acquaintances and receive some praise from my book readers – much appreciated. Dick Salmon (BRM – A Mechanics Tale), Colin Crabb and Frans van de Camp were fellow authors attending. 

24 October – Another five-star review on Amazon USA.

27 October – Book TVR 1946-1982 by Matthew Vale arrives. Matthew has sent it as a thanks for my co-opertaion with his writing. First impressions are that he has done a first-class job, and the book is a significant addition to TVR history.
Visited Omicron (Lancia specialist) to meet Roger Constable who is in the book. He was away, but Martyn Cliffe (ex-Lotus) proprietor has book, which I happily sign.
Visited the Larling Angel. Two books bought after my last visit – blimey, how about the gift of the gab! Another copy in the offing as well.

28 October – Classic Team Lotus now have my book available from their online shop. Many thanks Team.

31 October – Arrange to present a copy of my book to the library of my old school Denstone College on Friday 10 November. 

Oliver's book flyer

1 November – Receive email from Miss Wu, an ex-enigeering colleague at Wanxiang EV, Xiaoshan, China, giving her latest address.

2 November – Air mail a copy of the book to Miss Wu, who is now working at Geely Automobile Research Institute, Hangzhou Bay New District, Ningbo, P.R. China. I noted that it is ironic that Geely now hold 52% of Lotus, so the book may give her more background that most of Geely management!

4 November – Get a copy of Auto Express with a brief review. God words, but the last comment on wanting more high-quality shots is rather pushing one's luck. The book goes back to 1961, so the pictures are chosen from whatever is available. 
Postman delivers Lotus Letters, the magazine of the Lotus Club of Holland. I met Jan-Bart Broertjies when I visited Clive Chapman at Classic Team Lotus. He has devoted a whole page to the book with four photos. I guess the words are good, but I don't read Dutch! Thanks Jan-Bart. 

7 November – Richard Bond, Queens Head Hethersett, wants a book signed as a gift, but will not get it before we both go away. Shame, it's for a famous person! See November 21 for a change of plan!

10 November – I return to my old school Denstone College, near Uttoxeter, to present a copy of my book to their library. My return was 56 years after I left, and 98 years since my father arrived there. 
Mrs Teather had arranged for me to present the book to the librarian Dr Ireland. I signed a brief message inside the front of the book: "Presented to Denstone College, Threlfall Library, by the author in recognition of the start in life that the college gave him. It is hoped this book will encourage young people to consider careers in the creative world. Oliver Winterbottom. Selwyn House, Denstone College, September 1958 - July 1961."
The Threlfall Library covers a large area that, in my day, included my house Common Room. It was therefore fitting that the shelf assigned to A life in car design was actually within the original room's space. 
Following this, I was invited to attend the school Remembrance Chapel Service. This was supported by the pupils, many parents, staff, and a few old boys, completely filling the large school chapel. The whole service was dignified and very moving. I was privileged to attend. 

11 November – I visit the Lancaster Classic Car Show at the NEC Birmingham. I am a guest of Angus Marshall, principal of the Lotus Elite/Eclat/Excel Owners Clubs (lotusexcel.net). We meet at the entrance and are joined by Barrie Wills, a contemporary ex-Jaguar apprentice and the last CEO of DeLorean. I was delighted to see so many familiar faces who are so loyal to these cars. The exhibition stand had a full complement of vehicles from the 1970's front engine range. 
Once in the exhibition, I had a superb day meeting lots of people. Starting with the famous, I was delighted to find Martin Lilley, one time owner of TVR Sports Car Ltd, on their club stand. He was with John Bailie – who I had not seen for quite a few years – the famous Bailie who designed the TVR logo! I also saw the redoubtable Andy who provided a Tasmin for the Classic Car shoot in Norfolk last year. On the way to their stand, I called at a Jaguar stand and had a chat with Roger Kemp, who does great works for the clubs associated with the Coventry company.

14 November – Meet John Morgan, ex-Lotus, in the Queens Head. Agree to sign book on a Tuesday, as that is the day I usually visit.

15 November – Send video and flyer to James at Octane Magazine.
Lizzie, the lady who edited and corrected my book, tells me she is leaving Veloce at the end of November. It will be a huge loss for Veloce and myself, as she was a joy to work with. Good Luck Lizzie!

16 November – Angus Marshall, of lotusexcel.net, sends me a Via Retro Classic Car Show report: "This weekend saw the UK's biggest indoor classic car exhibition, the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show 2017, held at the NEC in Birmingham. With five big halls and a smidgen above 70,000 visitors during the three days, 257 car clubs took part and 650 trade stand."

Contact "Andy" at TVR Car Club to remark that my book is not listed on the Club web shop!

17 November – James, of Octane Magazine, replied to my message with thanks.
Supply a copy of my book to Brian Stammers, the senior family member at the Larling Angel. 

18 November – Book air mailed to Miss Wu at Geely Automobile Research Institute in China arrives, having taken 15 days. Miss Wu and her husband worked for me at Wanxiang EV in Xiaoshan, China, in 2006-7.

20 November – Denstone College request copies of the library presentation photographs for an article they are preparing. 

21 November – Richard Bond, Hethersett Queens Head, asks me to sign a copy of the book which he is giving as a gift to a VIP classic car collector. We thought we may have missed the opportunity, but his plans were delayed. 

25 November – Visited Kettereingham Hall Piano Tea Room with my daughter Anne. She was born in the Garden Cottage, and I worked in the Hall for Colin Chapman. I left a document explaining my connection, and a copy of my book flyer. After lunch, we visited Garden Cottage and I delivered a flyer to Roger Pestle, who has lived there for 30 years. He does still work for Classic Team Lotus and Lotus Cars. He worked for my projects when at the Hall.

28 November – Lunch with Mike Kimberly and Matthew Vale at Eaton Red Lion. Matthew is writing a book on the Lotus Europe Twin Cam, so we were helping his research. I understand the book will be published by Veloce! Later, I sign Matthew's copy of my book with thanks. 

30 November – Pack the next completed notes and slides for my talk on the book to Club Lotus Avon next Tuesday, 5 December. 

What a great way to round off a very exciting year! You can buy your copy of A life in car design here. 

Friday 8 December 2017

Return of the Romeo!

The prestigious Italian brand, owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), just last week signed a multi-year technical and commercial partnership agreement with Swiss Sauber F1 Team for participation in the Formula 1 world championship beginning with the 2018 season.

The single-seaters will sport the distinctive colours and logo of Alfa Romeo, the team's Title Sponsor, and will be equipped with 2018 Ferrari power units.

The scope of the agreement includes strategic, commercial and technological cooperation in all applicable areas of development, including access to engineering know-how and the expertise of Alfa Romeo technical staff. This partnership will provide additional opportunities for the two organisations, in both Formula 1 and the automotive sector in general . 

The official name will be Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.

Sergio Marchiane, CEO of FCA, said: "This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula 1 after an absence of more than 30 years. A storied marque that has helped make the history of this sport, Alfa Romeo will join other major automakers that participate in Formula 1. The brand itself will also benefit from the sharing of technology and strategic know-how with a partner of the Sauber F1 Team's undisputed experience. The Alfa Romeo engineers and technicians, who have already demonstrated their capabilities with the newly-launched models, Giulia and Stelio, will have the opportunity to make that experience available to the Sauber F1 Team. At the same time, Alfa Romeo fans will once again have the opportunity to support an automaker that is determined to begin writing an exciting new chapter in its unique, legendary sporting history."

Pascal Picci, Chairman of Sauber Holding AG, commented: "We are very pleased to welcome Alfa Romeo to the Sauber F1 Team. Alfa Romeo has a long history of success in Grand Prix racing, and we are very proud that this internationally renowned company has chosen to work with us for its return to the pinnacle of motorsport. Working closely with a car manufacturer is a great opportunity for the Sauber Group to further develop its technology and engineering projects. We are confident that together we can bring the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team great success, and look forward to a long and successful partnership."

The return of Alfa Romeo, one of the major protagonists in Formula 1 history, is expected to contribute significantly to the appeal and future development of the sport. Alfa Romeo brings with it technological know-how and a large and passionate fan base, while participation in the championship also offers benefits for the brand in areas such as technology transfer and road safety. 

Alfa Romeo is known around the world for its racing heritage and technological excellence. The undisputed champion of the pre-war Grand Prix (in 1925, the GP Tipo 2 dominated the first World Championship), Alfa Romeo participated in Formula 1 from 1950 to 1988, both as a constructor and engine supplier. Immediately upon its debut, Alfa Romeo won the first two drivers' world championships, in 1950 and 1951, with drivers Nino Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio. From 1961 to 1979, Alfa Romeo participated as engine supplier to several F1 teams. Following its return as a constructor in 1979, Alfa Romeo achieved its best result in 1983, taking sixth place in the constructors' championship. More than 30 years after withdrawing as a competitor from Formula 1 (1985), the brand is returning with the clear intention to make its mark.

If you're a fan of Formula 1, and fancy reading more about the times when Alfa Romeo originally competed in races, then why not take a look at Brian Harvey's book Formula One – The Real Score?, a rewriting of the records of Formula One and its best drivers to include every race of equivalent standard to the official World Championship rounds. And for the Alfa Aficionado, we have Johnny Tipler's recently reprinted Alfa Romeo Giulia GT & GTA, now in paperback!

Friday 1 December 2017

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – August and September

It may now have been a fair few months since Oliver Winterbottom's autobiography first hit the shelves, but that doesn't mean that his promotional run has started to wind down. Today's blog post recounts how Oliver spent the end of his summer. Make sure you're all caught up with May, June and July's posts first!

1 August – I visit Ketts Books store, Wymondham, to ask for answer to email. Manager not present so message left. 

3 August – Receive email from Tom Smith (owner of Lotus M90/X100) in Texas. He attaches an article from Challenges, a French publication. I ask John Elwin if he knows this publication. It appears to be "copied" from the book, not a review. Sent copy to Veloce for comment.

Warren King (ex-Lotus Accounts Dept.) called, likes the book, asking if I will give a talk to Lotus East Anglia. Answer yes! Arranged for Monday the 9th of October, Tivittshall Ram, 8pm.
A guy I have known for years (don't know his name) from Larling Angel finds me at Farnham Broom Bell for signing his book. He had tried Hethersett Queens first and was redirected!

4 August – French article appears to be a well written independent story on the M90 – John Elwin's thoughts.

6 August – Find Amazon UK has two reviews online:
5.0 out of 5 Stars
A very interesting book and read for anyone interested in car design of the TVR company when the Tasmin was being designed, Lotus or Jaguar in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s to in the great man himself his life and all the cars he designed. Well written with lots of info on what went on in the three companies. Highly recommend.

5.0 out of 5 Stars
An entertaining and wonderful autobiography, providing an informative insight into the critical role Oliver played in the success of the industry.

16 August – Learnt we have sold 235 books by the end of May 2017. (It was available from Veloce from the 26th of April in the UK. In the USA it was available from the 15th of June.)

17 August – Andrew Walmsly brings book for signature.

29 August – Message from Tom Smith, owner of the Lotus X100 prototype, in Texas, that the car is OK after the mighty storms.

2 September – Finalise arrangements to support Vintage Day (10th of September) in Wymondham.
Present at Ketts Books, have a demo copy, shop have a dropship arrangement. I agree to return two weeks later to sign any, if required.

6 September – Thursday. Visit Ketts Books as arranged, but the two gentlemen running the shop had no idea why I had visited! It was pre-arranged and I left a copy of my book as agreed. I wonder how well Sunday will go!

7 September – Wymondham Vintage Day has my attendance shown on it:

10 September – Arrive in Wymondham Market Square 12 Noon. Vintage Day programme does not advertise book signed, indeed bookshop barely mentioned. Get to Ketts Books, Whartons Court about 1:45pm for 2pm start. Shop says organisers have emailed an apology for lack of info. (I agreed to come and sign books in June.) A few people passed, but the shop is not on the main street. Two more books sold and Dave Cutting (ex-Lotus) came in for a chat. Plenty of classic cars around the town, but a very disappointing day for me.

12 September – Dick Salmon, ex-BRM & Lotus, emails to say he is enjoying my book. He is in his 90s and did a good book on BRM himself (see 21st of September). I travel to Newmarket to meet my sister and her financial advisor. He brings a copy of my book, which I gladly sign, despite him driving a Porsche!

13-19 September – Assist Modern Classic magazine with images for their forthcoming feature on the Lotus M90/X100.

17 September – Vintage Sports Car Club meeting at Snetterton. Go with Jane and Ivor, meet a couple of their friends – two more books sold.

19 September – Complete construction of 25-slide show to use with talks about my book to two Lotus clubs this autumn. Script notes well on the way!

21 September – Amazing coincidence in Veloce monthly newsletter On The Grid: Veloce have re-printed Dick Salmon's book BRM – A mechanic's tale, and a very good book it is too. Crumbs, it is over 40 years since we had pints together in the Wicklewood Cherry Tree.

Delighted to find this 'blog' is published on the Veloce website.

Two of my books arrive so that I can send them to friends in China.

24 September – Long-standing family friend brings a book for signature. It is a birthday present for her son, who had one week of Work Experience in my office over 20 years ago, whilst he was at school.

26 September – Check out Amazon UK website. Only 14 left (more on the way). There are five reviews, ALL FIVE STAR!

30 September – Good news that my presentation slides for a talk on the 9th of October have transferred for projection satisfactorily. All my notes are written, so that's ready to go!

It's great to see that the momentum is still there with the promotional run! And it doesn't stop there, as next month's instalment will see Oliver gearing up for the Christmas push... Buy your copy of A Life in Car Design here