Thursday, 21 November 2019

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – October 2019

In this month's instalment of Oliver Winterbottom's diary, a talk at the Bourne Motor Club is the main event. 


5 October – I collected my son-in-law, and we were soon enjoying lunch at Arbuckles outside Downham Market. Part way through the meal I exclaimed "Oh, look, the toasters have arrived!" An electric toaster was always how I thought of the stainless steel-clad DeLorean sports car. Indeed, some 14 or 15 of them arrived, parking around the back of the premises.

The DeLoreans at Downham Market


We were soon on our way to the BRM Association Evening at Bourne, Lincolnshire and arrived at the Delaine Bus Museum on Spalding Road, the site of the old BRM works. British Racing Motors was a successful Formula 1 team in the 1950s to the end of the 1970s. The founder, who was a cousin of mine, lived in Eastgate House just behind the current bus business. There was a display of a large number of photographs, many not seen before, as well as a BRM 153 racing car.

The BRM 153 in Yardley sponsorship colours, with many period photographs on display behind it


As 6:30pm approached, we arrived at the Corn Exchange. It was here the evening event was held, and we joined seven folk at a table laden with very nice plates of buffet food. Jackie Oliver, who drove Formula 1 for Lotus and BRM, Can Am sports cars and who won Le Mans with Jackie Ickx in a Ford GT40, gave us an interesting talk. Afterwards, a number of people said they would be coming to hear my talk on Thursday 10 October, and that the evening was a "sell out."

8 October – Graeme Lawton of the Sunbeam Lotus Club asks if he can use my story of their visit to Classic Team Lotus last September. Delighted to permit this.

I meet the owner of the Lotus Europa (mentioned on 9 September of this bulletin) at the Bird in Hand pub for lunch. We had a fascinating two or three hour chat and were joined by Mike Kimberly, the Europa Twin Cam project leader. It was suggested that we both were lucky to work in the industry in its Golden Years, and I think we both agree

10 October – I arrive at the Angel Hotel, Bourne in preparation for my talk for the Bourne Motor Racing Club. At 7 o'clock I arrived at Bourne Corn Exchange to prepare for the evening. A number of people had arrived when I entered to meet Robert Denton, who was in charge of the computer used to show my slides. All was well with that, and the lapel microphone needed to reach the fairly large room.
I was delighted to meet a number of people who had arrived early, and one of the first was full of praise with my book, which he had enjoyed immensely. I had no problem signing his copy! I met Roger Fountain, who has published a book entitled Phoenix. It is about the transformation of a pile of burnt out scrap into a 1930s Riley sports car. It is obtainable in hardback or paperback from internet book retailers. Another interesting chat was held with Jeff Ward, a member of the Peterborough Engineering Society. I agreed to give them a talk whenever there was an opportunity.

The audience shortly before the talk started. The front rows where then filled.


8 o'clock and I was introduced and started my talk. I started by explaining my family connections with Bourne, home of Raymond Mays of ERA and BRM racing cars who was a cousin, and that I knew a number of ex-BRM staff while I was at Lotus. My talk then explained why I had written my book, A Life in Car Design, and the process by which it was done.
I spoke for an hour, presenting the basic contents of my book. I took a Question and Answer session, and there were quite a few very good questions; I cannot vouch for the answers. The crowd had filled the room, and I received much positive feedback from the event, so I happily walked back the short distance to the Angel.
I really enjoyed this opportunity, and I am glad that the Bourne Motor Racing Club is so active and friendly. Thanks to everyone!

12 October – Mike Kimberly sends me a copy of the two articles featuring himself in the July/August and September/October editions of Absolute Lotus magazine. I am flattered with his positive comments concerning myself and the use of the contemporary photographs of ourselves with the Lotus Elite and the Lotus M90.

16 October – I am asked if I would give a talk to the Porsche Club of GB, Hertfordshire. It would not be for some time, but I replied saying I certainly would be happy to do so.

24 October – My copy of Club Lotus News arrives and has my brief story of my sister and I visiting the Silverstone Classic in July. This Lotus Elite made a fine display.



30 October – Busy arranging my visit to the Lancaster Classic Car Show at the NEC 8 November to attend the Lotus Elite Eclat Excel Club stand for the Elite's 45th birthday.


You can purchase your own copy of A Life in Car Design here, and make sure to keep checking the Veloce blog for the next instalment of Winterbottom's diary!


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