Friday 17 May 2019

Oliver Winterbottom Monthly Bulletin - April 2019

1 April I write up description of the contents of my book for the Amazon Author Central Team in the USA. It explains the 'inside the business' nature of the story, and the changes from design with pencil and paper to design with computer.

2 April Tom Smith, who owns the Lotus M90 / X100 prototype in Texas, has requested permission to write an article for the USA Lotus Ltd Club magazine. I am happy to permit it! It may assist the publicity for the book.

3 April I send a copy of my book contents description for Amazon USA to Paul Shipley. He says he will use it in the next advertising for the May 1st event near Burton-upon-Trent.

4 April I complete the presentation for the PJS Sports evening on May 1st.

8 April I finally manage to access the PJS Sports Cars website. It doesn’t like Apple computers! The event is as shown below:

PJS Sports Cars Presents - An Evening with Oliver Winterbottom
A talk, questions and answers session and book signing by Lotus, Jaguar and TVR designer Oliver Winterbottom.
Ticket price (£10) includes tea, coffee and sandwiches. 
Ticket profits go to the Midlands Air Ambulance.
Book available on the night at £37.50 or in advance at £35.00 (see ticket options)
1 May, 19:00 – 22:00
Tatenhill Village Hall, Main St, Tatenhill, Burton-on-Trent DE13 9SD, UK

9 April Receive a message from Richard Woollaston, who is organising the Lotus Elite/Eclat/Excel Club display at the Donington Historic race meeting, to say the organisers are arranging for me to drive to the display. I plan to attend on Friday 3 May. In return, I agree to be interviewed by the commentator which could help publicise the book. 

Lotus Excel website states: Update – Oliver Winterbottom will be joining us at Donington on Friday 3 May, so a good opportunity to meet him and talk about the cars if you haven't done so already!
It looks like he'll also be giving an interview at the event.

Cheers, Richard.
                45 years since the launch of the Lotus Elite
10 April I circulate comments on an Autocar Opinion article, criticising the low profile tyres and dreadful ride of many current cars. My talk on The Lotus DNA had 2 slides explaining the traditional Lotus approach which gave a suburb ride as well as premier handling.

I am asked if I would give a talk to Club Lotus Cambridge which I would be happy to do. I sent my “no go” diary dates and await their response.

11 April  I get a message to say that Venisse Thibault is no longer involved with Club Lotus France. He allowed an English Lotus Excel to park on the club display at Dijon Prenois historic races. I signed a copy of my book for him two years ago. I am attempting to find a new contact. I succeed! Serge Audigier to be contacted by Tony Poll who would like to park his Excel with them.

13 April Arrive at Silverstone for the VSCC Historic races and have to talk my way into parking inside the circuit. I meet up with Paddins Dowling who runs the 1935 ERA R10B (ERA racing cars were created by my cousin, Raymond Mays.) Paddins lives in the USA but keeps the car in Britain. He kindly purchased a book, which I happily signed. He said he planned to read it on the flight home.

15 April I travel up to Yorkshire to visit a recently widowed friend. I was delighted to sign her copy of my book.

18 April I am contacted by Lotus Cars' PR Dept asking if I would be prepared to be interviewed for their new in-house magazine for their staff. Cleverly titled Us Lot (I am sure you can work that out) I am delighted to co-operate. I await a suitable diary date.

Diary date is in; just two hours later! A telephone interview with George Chapman, a London journalist. He will write up on the back page. I discuss my talk, entitled Lotus DNA: Some Views on Colin Chapman’s Philosophies. George was most interested in the comment that Colin was more interested in design efficiency than weight. He did however once utter “simplicate*, and add lightness.” I had wondered what simplicate meant for many years, so had looked it up. It was first used by W. S. Stout, an American who designed a car and an aircraft.
*Simplicate: to make something simpler through a process that initially seems daunting or complicated.

20 April A 1:43 scale model Lotus Elite arrives in the mail from Grand Prix Models. It joins my collection of cars that I had a hand in. Looks nice alongside a TVR Tasmin Coupe – although I say it myself. A nice Easter present.

The model Lotus Elite

23 April
An old friend, John Ashley, joins me for a trip to Lincolnshire. We visit the superb Newark Air Museum and whilst there, fall into conversation with a volunteer guide. He has a Clan Crusader, a sports car built by ex-Lotus engineers in the early 1970s. I mention my book to him at least three times!

24 April I arrive at the Blyton Park track for the annual BRM Association Track Day. This brings together BRM and associated racing cars for demonstrations on the track. There is no racing but some of the most exciting cars can be seen.
I was keeping an eye out for Dick Salmon, who is another Veloce published author, ex-BRM V16 mechanic, ex-Lotus Quality Manager in the early 1970s a former customer of the Wicklewood Cherry Tree! His superb book, BRM A Mechanics Tale, is still selling, now as a reprint. 

Dick Salmon and a wonderful BRM V16 which he worked upon
Another pleasant meeting was with Malcolm Kenwood of the Bourne Motor Racing Club. We had a brief chat about my forthcoming talk to the club on the 10 October.

Howden Ganley, who drove the BRM P180 competitively in the early 1970s was present and I was delighted to talk to him at the event. His book, The Road to Monaco: My Life in Motor Racing, was on display at the BRM Association kiosk, alongside mine. I suggested that if he bought mine, I would buy his! He declined, as his book was actually a donated raffle prize. I bought a few tickets and asked Dick Salmon, who was to draw the winner, how much a bribe would cost... It proved unnecessary as I won a prize anyway, yes, it was Howden Ganley’s book – and it's signed! Despite the generous offer to display my book, none were sold.

26 April Tom Smith, current owner of the prototype Lotus M90/X100 in Texas, sends me his final copy of an article he has written for the Lotus Ltd. Club in the USA. It traces the restoration of the car which is now as good as new. The story will appear in the club magazine Remarque. He has kindly mentioned: “Oliver told many interesting stories about the X100’s development and his dealings with Chapman, most of which he later documented in his book, A Life in Car Design (A good read for any Lotus aficionado, by the way.)” Many thanks, Tom.

My copy of Club Lotus News magazine arrives. Inside it is my letter, concerning the aerodynamic stability of the 1974 Lotus Elite. The final sentence: “For more information, may I recommend my book, A Life in Car Design, which attempts to describe the birth of the Lotus Elite as I remember it.” 

I am delighted that my car pass for the Donington Historic races for Friday 3 May has arrived. I am due to meet up with the Lotus Elite/Eclat/Excel Club and possibly give a public interview.

30 April All packed and ready to leave for the Midlands. PJS Sports Cars evening talk tomorrow and Donington Historic race meeting and interview on Friday 3 May.