Thursday, 1 August 2019

Oliver Winterbottom – July News Bulletin

3 July I receive a somewhat belated message, regarding my talk on 1 May:

“Hello, Oliver,
Gosh, how long ago was Tatenhill? Whenever it was, a big ‘thank you’ for letting me know! A great evening and, as they say, “a good time was had by all”. Everyone on ‘my’ table thoroughly enjoyed the talk. All were envious of such a career, and all thought the speaker to be MOST entertaining.
I think it a mark of the success of the event that the question and answer session –so often the graveyard of a talk– was animated, free-ranging and could have continued well into the late evening.”

Tatenhill was 1 May but no worry, it was great to get positive feed back on the evening. One does these talks but has no idea how they come across, so many thanks Mike Wheildon.

4 July It’s 10:00 am and the postman brings me a delivery, which is Matthew Vale’s superb new book Lotus Europa. He has graciously presented it to me as thanks for co-operation when he researched it. Published by Veloce it will be available from 12 July. It is a beautifully produced, comprehensive work, on a car which has happy memories for me.

Today I have also received a copy of the photograph of myself with the Lotus Elite mentioned on 12 June, concerning the modified bumpers with fog lights. Sadly, it has not brought any memory of this car back to me. Many thanks Jane of Club Lotus for sending this to me.

Myself with the Lotus Elite in June 2004 at Brightwell Baldwin



5 July Following a blanket email to Club Lotus Cambridge, I receive a prompt reply from Alaska! It’s been a long time since I was there. I suggested that I am happy to give the club a talk whenever / wherever it suits them. I will await their next move.




5 July I happily hear that the motoring journal we had complained to, have apologised, taken action and will publish a redeeming piece shortly.

6 July I hear the Mamba boat (below) is due to get a big clean up after so many years of neglect. Good news!


7 July I am delighted to find that Matthew Vale has shown my book as a good source of history for the Lotus Europa in his book Lotus Europa. Thank you, Matthew. Two pages further on, and Veloce give my book a full page advertisement – thank you, Veloce!

8 July Amazon UK have four books in stock, and as they had eight on 31 May, I can assume (hope) they have sold four since then. Delighted to receive another 5 star review (from Doug Mellor, many thanks). I see their selling price has dropped to £24.37.

11 July A date is set to visit the JCL Mamba motor yacht; Wednesday 31 July. Final details are still being decided but this is a landmark event, for me.

12 July I am contacted asking if the James Martin who had good words about my book was the TV chef and car enthusiast. After some research, I find it is not. However the positive review given by someone with the same name is still greatly valued – thank you James.

13 July Richard Woollaston contacts me and other Lotus Cars team members from the 1970s, suggesting we attend Malcolm Ricketts' Workshop Open Day. I respond that we could support this charity event, with some Lotus Elites on display to help celebrate its 45th year. I am happy to participate and do a question & answer session if required.

16 July The Lotus Elija is shown. Fantastic!

16 - 17 July Attend some of the tyre testing for the British Touring Cars at Snetterton race circuit. The whole facility is sparkling fresh, every blade of grass everywhere is trimmed and cut, a credit to the owners and Norfolk.

The immaculate race circuit at Snetterton

19 July I read in the press that 27% of the 787 car occupants who died in crashes on Britain’s roads in 2017, were not wearing a seat belt. I am truly saddened that so many people could ignore all the efforts of the people who have worked so hard, to reduce death and injury in the transport industries.

20 July I receive a copy of the new Lotus employee magazine, which has a feature on me on the back page. It concerned my views on Colin Chapman’s philosophies, and kindly mentions my book. “I retired in 2009 and recently put together a talk entitled Lotus DNA – Views on Colin Chapman’s Philosophies, to promote my book A Life in Car Design; Jaguar, Lotus, TVR (Veloce).”

The magazine is superbly produced by Foxtrot Papa in London and gave me a tremendous feeling for a very positive future of the company under Geely ownership.

25 July Club Lotus News (July 2019) arrives and carries my story, 3 Days in May, about my talk to PJS Sports Cars and the Donington Historic race meeting. I seem to appear briefly in a number of other articles, which is most flattering!

26 July I visit the Silverstone Classic with my sister, in her Mini. When I was working at Jaguar in the late 1960s, Sir William Lyons used to ask for ideas he could present to the B L management. I drew a design which became the Mini Clubman. The final design was done by British Leyland stylist Roy Haynes.

I also submitted a coupe built on the longer wheelbase Mini Van, which never happened.


I visited the Club Lotus display area, and admired the gold Lotus Elite which was brought by Peter Russell from Cambridge. Sadly, I did not find the man himself, as I had been in contact with people from Club Lotus Cambridge regarding a possible talk to the club.

I also spent some time with the Jim Clark Lotus Evora, for which I have a raffle ticket. It was very fitting that the fund raising for the Museum to him in Duns, Scotland, should be alongside the Club Lotus site.

Some of the Club Lotus gathering on the Friday of the Silverstone Classic

31 July There was going to be a significant event on this day reuniting me with a long past project. However it has had to be postponed for a week, so you will have to wait until next month for details.

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