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.