Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – March and April

Can you believe that we've been following Oliver Winterbottom's promotional run for A Life In Car Design for a year already?  Momentum is still going strong for this insightful book, and in today's blog we'll be getting you up to speed.


1 March – Upon my snowy return from Leicestershire, I am delighted to receive the Veloce Publishing Catalogue Spring 2018. Very much appreciated is that my book is featured on the Contents page. It also is the first book listed under Biographies – but having a title beginning with "A" helps! Thank you, Veloce.

2 March – Amazon email me again, offering me my book for £21.91. Generous of them!

4 March – Write to renew my membership of the Bourne Motor Racing Club, and attached the background to my BRM connections. I also offer to give the club a talk centred around my book, if they desire. 

6 March – Three copies of my book arrive from Amazon – the price was too good!

8 March – I receive a response from the Bourne Motor Racing Club to my offer to give a talk based on my book. A possible date exists in November if the planned speaker is unable to make it, or it will be after March 2019. I am told the audience always likes the opportunity to buy speakers' books.

13 March – Delighted to see a new advertising idea when washing my hands at Hethersett Queens Head. A copy of my book flyer is posted directly above the hand dryer where you cannot avoid seeing it. It had been in the pub foyer – and still is – but folk don't linger there.

15 March Absolute Lotus magazine due today. On 13 February, I gave permission for a review in this new publication and the first issue of this new magazine (six per year) was due 15 March. However, just like my book, it has been delayed until 11 May.

16 March – Google at it again: Free Download A Life in Car Design.

A quick look at the web shows Amazon UK have 13 books left with more on the way. WH Smith have two in stock. 

19 March – It's a Monday, and the Google download has been removed.

20 March – Car goes in for a Service, so I visit Norwich. Jarrold's book shop recognise my book, and have it on the shelf. I slightly rearrange it to a more prominent position, alongside some Lotus books. Jarrold's motoring book selection is far larger than rival shops. Waterstones have a tiny Transport section despite being a huge shop; a few railway books, plus half a dozen motoring ones. WH Smith have a good motor sport selection, but no road car books at all, however, they have a fairly small shop in Gentleman's Walk.

22 March – A welcome email from the Authors; Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), and a small payment in my bank. 

23 March – Cannot help but check out Amazon UK. The price now £24.34 (£2.43 increase) and they have 12 left – so they have sold one! Meanwhile, Amazon Japan have it for 3470 Yen (an 11 yen increase) – a 7.4 English pence increase!

26 March – Siân of Veloce asks if there is any news on the potential programme for Only Motors TV. I tell her "not yet."

27 March – I email Only Motors TV to ask if they have any more details of when they may wish to film for their show, #Petrolheads.
Reply: We would still love to feature you on #Petrolheads. Unfortunately, at the moment, we have difficulty getting crew that can travel to Wymondham, but I believe this may change so I can keep you updated when it does. 

28 March – Bruce Kirkham, a past colleague in the USA, writes to say he is getting my book. I wish him every enjoyment reading it!

I see on the internet that the book is on Pinterest, whatever that is. To get any information, I would have to sign up to an organisation that I would not personally agree with. As a result, I don't know what they think!

I find Amazon Germany has a review of the book, which seems very positive. This is the Google online translation:

A life for the automobile led Oliver Winterbottom in many different companies and countries of the world. It was the wish of the Young Oliver reality to take care of the design of automobiles. From time to time some of the side-war scenes also played a role, which he filled with just as much devotion. The biography is a great and interesting journey through the history of the automobile, especially English, of course. Most of the lyrics are very entertaining and you almost feel like talking directly to Winterbottom. In addition, some barely published drawings and pictures are shown, which underline the work with emphasis. Again and again, the people around him are presented and the financial situation is assessed.  For the equivalent of just over 40 euros, the reader can travel through the past with Winterbottom and clearly understand his or her way of doing business. The working title of the automotive designer provides a great template for a book and is very worth reading, especially since it is always first-hand information that makes it all the more valuable. 

29 March – Visit Wymondham Public Library, and I am delighted that Norwich Millennium Library have a copy of my book listed on their stock computer. A quick search suggest Norfolk is possibly unique in stocking it. Thank you Norwich and Norfolk.

30 March – Good Friday: Classic & Sports Car online Newsletter features a reprint of the 2009 article "Designers pick the most beautiful classics ever." I am happy to be reminded that I was listed with the Maserati Boomerang as my choice. The 21 designers are featured including most of the household names of the time.

5 April – Message from Veloce Publishers: We received a message to our Facebook page, requesting a signed copy of your book. I reply directly to the woman asking for the signed copy; we arranged a date to meet.

Amazon ask me, as a previous customer, to review my book!
"5.0 out of 5.0 stars. In-depth story inside the business. I think this is an absolutely brilliant book from inside the motor industry. I wholeheartedly recommend it."

Amazon now only have six left in stock – six gone since 23 March!

8 April – Amazon only have five left, keep it up!

9 April – Hear the sad news that John Miles has passed away after a stroke. I have great respect for John, and all our dealings were a pleasure. Definitely a gifted driver and engineer.

12 April – Breakfast at Elevden Courtyard to sign my book for Terry Hunter, as organised with his ex-secretary from the Facebook message on 5 April. He is about to turn 80, and this reminder is a good memory for me. Terry was a formidable rally competitor in Porsche and as a works Triumph driver about 48 years ago. I hope he enjoys the book – and yes, he is in it!
Meeting his secretary after a gap of about 45 years, I was flattered (well, I think I was) to be told "I had not changed a bit!" – apart from some hair loss! It was interesting to learn that the lady found a reference to my book when reading a magazine in the dentists waiting room. She then remembered me.

14 April – Bruce Kirkham enjoying my book, good! It's interesting because the USA does not have the Aprentice system I started with. Bruce was a senior manager at GM Inland Division when we first put airbags into Lotus. A great help and enthusiast.

17 April – Go to the BRM Association Test Day at Blyton Park. At least four strangers said they looked forward to my talk to Bourne Motor Racing Club. I explained I had agreed to talk but there is no date yet. Most had read the book and enjoyed it. It was talked about a lot! Sold one copy as well.

A special day: one year since I stopped smoking!

18 April – Email from a TVR Tasmin owner in New Zealand. Enjoyed the book and asked some tech questions. Will point them at TVR Club. Its nice to know that it is around the world.

19 April – Amazon UK now have 10 books – more coming, so thats at least another five gone. Amazon USA have four left.

22 April – Visit the VSCC Historic race at Silverstone. Recognised by a VSCC member from the BRM event one week ago. A club official Hamish McNinch, with whom I had a long chat, also knows the book.

Evening meet with Stuart Elliot, who organises the Hinckley Classic Motorshow (16 September). Discuss possibility of having a stand to sell and sign books.

24 April – Write to Lotus and TVR Clubs about the Hinckley Classic Car Motorshow: I have had an idea, that would possibly be of me more good than anyone else – but that seems a good reason to support it! Sunday 16 September 2018, Hinckley, Leicestershire are holding their 8th Classic Motorshow. I know that some LotusExcel.net members attended last year and I hope that TVR "Wedge" cars could be put alongside the Lotus models. As I had a hand in the creation of both vehicles, it has been suggested that the organisers could provide a "tent thing" so that I could sell and sign copies of my book. I know many of you have already purchased it – for which I am ever grateful, but have I reached absolutely everyone? I circulate you all for your comments.

Response from Angus Marshall at LotusExcel.net: Well, I know at least one Lotus Wedge owner who also owns a TVR and is fairly local to Hinckley. Unfortunately, neither of his cars are in a drivable state at the moment, but I know that none of the Lotus owners would object to being located close to our NW cousins.

25 April – Following the meeting with Terry Hunter's ex-secretary, I have received this message from her as she had brought her grandson to the book signing: On returning to school after the Easter holiday, my grandson's class were asked if they did anything exciting over Easter. He replied that he went to meet (and have breakfast with) a "real live author" for a private book signing.

26 April – Response from Andy Hutcheson, re TVR at Hinckley: I will pass on the event details to the relevant person in the TVRCC who covers that area, etc. I will also publish the event in the TVR Wedge Owners and Enthusiast UK Facebook group, so maybe some of my fellow wedge owners may go along.

The 26th of April, 2017 was the day my book arrived at Veloce Publishers.



29 April – Richard Heseltine sends a message to say the first edition of the new magazine Absolute Lotus has gone to press. It should be with the publisher around 6 May. As it contains a review of my book, I await a copy with excitement!

Sunday 30 April, 2017, I was at the Donington Historic race meeting with LotusExcel.net to sign the first copies of my book. This year it is due 4-6 May; lets hope the weather stays fine.

30 April – Mike Taylor contacts me regarding the VARI moulding process used on Colin Chapman's boats. He is researching this for a magazine feature. I reply that I am happy to help, although I was not involved with the boats in the latter part of their production life. It's nice to be reminded of things so long ago! This all dates back to the mid/late 1970s.

Amazon UK celebrate the first anniversary of the publication of my book by suddenly increasing its price from £21.91 to the publishers full £37.50. They also appear to have sold another one since 19 April.


You can purchase your own copy of A Life in Car Design here, and make sure to check back on the Veloce blog for the next instalment!