Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – December 2019

Welcome back to Oliver Winterbottom's diary! In the first instalment of the year, we take a look at how Oliver rounded off his jam-packed 2019. 

5 December – I finish emailing my annual newsletter to my friends and acquaintances worldwide. 118 recipients living in China, Thailand, USA, Canada and France, as well as the UK. Many have been connected to my motoring life, so it is nice to keep in touch.

6 December – Journalist Mike Taylor kindly sends me a photograph (below) of a JCL Marine Mirage, for which I did the basic styling back in 1976. It certainly looks well cared for.




10 December – The Eastern Daily Press has been highlighting the disastrous introduction of brand new trains in the Greater Anglia region. These Swiss-built trains are incompatible with the automatic signalling systems, which has resulted in major cancellations and lateness for quite a number of days. I continue to have misgivings on the massive reliance on computers. So much so, all the trains costing £1.4 billion were delivered at once – and sat in sidings for some months. I think if it had been a car company project, it may have just got one train and thoroughly tested it prior to relying on them 100%. One incident saw a car being missed by a train on a level crossing by 1/4 second; words fail me. Computers can be tricky!

13 December – The EDP has again highlighted a computer compatibility issue. On 6 June last, a glider flying from Tibenham in Norfolk to Cambridge was forced to take evasive action to avoid being hit by a Boeing C-135 on its final approach to RAF Mildenhall, the Boeing being part of the USAF. A report found the two aircraft were unable to make contact with each other because their traffic alerting systems were incompatible with each other. Evidence from the military pilot stated they did not even see the glider until after it had already swerved away from them due to the scattered cloud layer. As I have said, computers can be tricky!

13 December – From 2022, all new cars will have their speed controlled through a computer – hopefully totally accurate and reliable. I think not.

26 December – Gratified that John Bailie, creator of the revised TVR logo in 1979, has obtained a copy of my book A Life in Car Design. As I have a copy of his superb book, Donington Park, The Pioneers, we must now organise a mutual book signing meeting.

31 December – I wish all the Oliver Winterbottom's Diary readers a Very Happy New Year!

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!


Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The NEW site for fine automotive books

As you may have noticed, December saw BIG changes at veloce.co.uk, with the launch of our brand-new website. It may be hard to believe in this day of fast-changing, ever evolving technology, but our old site had been serving us well for an astonishing 16 years! 


New site, new features.

Our old website

That our old site worked so well – for so long – is down to the fantastic work of its creators, Aspin, who worked hand-in-hand with us from the start, and helped keep our site stable and secure for more than a decade and a half. But 16 years is a lifetime in the digital world (actually, it's over 6 lifetimes*), so we decided it was time to take advantage of all the latest web and ecommerce technology to give you a better, more 'contemporary' experience.

Out with the old …

After much research and preliminary work, it was decided we should create our new site in-house, and with Aspin’s legacy to live up to, we started from the ground-up, with the latest, most secure (and most stable) features. Unsurprisingly, after being live for so long, our old website had accumulated thousands of pages and files; books, events long past, images, downloads – each of which required careful assessment to see if it was still useful or needed. With so many files to check, we'll continue this work for a while yet, so if you find something  is missing, or if you can’t find the location of something you know should be there, please email us and let us know.

Our new site went live in early December, and – we're very pleased to say – received a great response from our customers. Brand-new customer accounts that are easier and more secure, and features that let us provide you with better deals and offers on the books you want most, all make our new store an even better place to grab a fine book and a fine bargain.


We'll be adding to our new site regularly, so keep visiting


We want to make our site not only your first stop when looking for that quality automotive book, but also a place to come to find out more about our authors and staff – and even to get some great auto-related freebies.

If you've not checked out our site yet, take a look around, discover our new store accounts, or our amazing authors: we hope you like it as much as we do!

Fantastic finds

With a mobile-friendly design and shopping cart, our site is made for pretty much any device, anywhere, and should serve us for a good few years to come. No matter what you use, finding the book you want quickly is a top priority, and one great feature of our store, is our new site search. The new site search allows you to refine your search, and drill-down into our inventory to get just the right subject, category, format, and price range. Combine this with our new sort feature, and you've got a fantastic, fast and easy-to-use shortcut to the very book you're searching for.

Refine and Sort features

You can refine your searches by the following attributes:
  • Category
  • Publisher
  • Series
  • Format
You can also sort your results by the following methods:
  • Relevance
  • Newest arrivals
  • Price: Low to High
  • Price: Hight to Low
  • Name: A to Z
  • Name: Z to A

Our new search feature: much more powerful than before




Power tuned

If there's one thing the Velocisti can't stop themselves from doing, it's trying to improve everything we do. Even with our brand-new site, we’re not finished yet, and we've already made changes to improve your experience directly, some under the hood … and one on the steering wheel …

Fast and accurate, our new search engine was almost ideal. Almost. Being the perfectionists that we are, we thought it could be even better. Enter CloudSearch …
Get on-the-fly suggestions when you search

Don't search for it – CloudSearch for it

CloudSearch gives our search facility a power tune, showing thumbnails and descriptions of the books it finds. It does this live, as you type; now you can see a list of relevant books before you click. Because this happens on-the-fly, you often don't even need to enter a full word or phrase before seeing results.

As if that wasn't enough, CloudSearch is also much more accurate, looking beyond the words and phrases you type, to take account of synonyms or specialist terms. It even makes allowances for spelling errors – no more scratching your head for how to spell Lamborghini Murciélago before you get your Lambo-lit fix!

Plenty more to come

We have plans for plenty more features, updates, and improvements to our new site, but what would you like to see at veloce.co.uk? Send us your suggestions via email, and we'll take a look and see what we can do.







* Data sourced from Orbit Media study of 200 websites: https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/website-lifespan-and-you/