Thursday, 2 April 2020

Bigger and better pocket experts

15 years ago, we had an idea. Imagine if there was a handy pocket-sized guide that explained all you needed to look for when buying a car or bike? What if it could cover classic, vintage, and modern cars … and motorcycles? And written by someone with personal experience and expertise on the vehicle? Would people want such a thing? 

From a simple idea, to over
175,000 books sold
Fast forward to the present day, and the answer is a resounding "Yes!" We created the Essential Buyer's Guide series – or EBGs to us Velocisti – to fulfil all of the above criteria, and the resulting books have become one of our flagship series. 

Covering 106 models of car, 25 models of motorcycle, and even electric bicycles, these invaluable pocket-sized guides have been helping people buy their dream drive or ride ever since, and have now sold over 175,000 copies, with more models added constantly.

Our first ever EBG …
We know that cramming so much useful stuff into a convenient format is a tad tricky. Describing or illustrating often crowded or hard-to-discern areas of a vehicle's construction can be hard with small images.

From our first EBG for the Alfa Romeo Guilia Spider, to our newest batch, every book is crammed with information that's truly essential for a sound purchase. Because each is written by an expert on the marque or model covered, there's genuine 'insider information' within, which also makes them ideal reference books for enthusiasts and workshop tinkerers alike. 
… and our latest.

Recently, we decided to make all our new EBGs a little bigger, with 96 pages, instead of the original 64. With more pages, we have space for larger, clearer photos and illustrations. There's also a page for notes, should you be taking your guide with you on your vehicle hunt (which you should, of course), and need to scribble down a few details. 

Existing EBGs will retain their current 64 page format, although some may get an updated 'makeover' to the new format. For digital natives out there (you know who you are), we also have a selection of EBG apps for iOS and Android: check out our apps on the website, and see if we've something for your dream drive. 

We're continually adding to the series, and that's where YOU could help us. We're always on the lookout for a guide that fits a need, so if there's a particular model or marque that you'd like to see covered, or if you have the knowledge and experience to pen one for a particular vehicle, get in touch: we may be able to bring your idea to fruition … just as we did 15 years ago, with our idea for the Essential Buyer's Guides.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

CarSpotter: the new app from Veloce Publishing

For most of us, long car journeys were a theme of childhood holidays. Trips to distant relatives, museums, wildlife parks … all were highly anticipated during the summer holidays, with adventure almost guaranteed (and not only at our destinations). I-Spy and other spotting games provided friendly (mostly) competition, and we were almost guaranteed to see something suitably eye-catching to keep us intently (and quietly) peering out of the car's rear passenger windows.

When car spotting, that sense of excitement for the rarest, oldest, or newest car still kicks-in today – an excitement that we know to be true for many auto buffs. And that's where our latest app comes in …

Veloce CarSpotter is the iOS app you wish you had had on those long childhood car rides. If mobiles had been around back then. It lets you keep a record of the cars you see on your travels, saving the location, and up to three photos for each car, along with notes on each of your 'Spots.' You can even group your Spots together using your own custom Tags. Oh, and it's COMPLETELY FREE! No in-app purchases, no 'bolt-ons,' and no hidden charges.

With a database of over 68,000 cars, encompassing rare, vintage, unusual, and interesting models, as well as 'standard' vehicles, and spanning over 100 years of motoring history, the cars aren't limited to certain countries or era, so the app can be used to spot cars anywhere.

The cars are curated into themed lists: cars from the 70s and 80s, or from film and TV, for example. We also have Veloce Selects lists that relate to some of our own books and series; now you can see how many of those Classic Fiats or Rally Giants you come across on your travels.

The app comes with ten lists, including six Veloce Selects lists:

  • Veloce Selects: 2019 Line-up (Cars from our 2019 programme)
  • Veloce Selects: Essential Buyer's Guides
  • Film Cars: James Bond
  • Veloce Selects: Car-tastrophes
  • Veloce Selects: Great Cars
  • TV Cars: ’70s & ’80s
  • TV Cars: '90s & 2000s
  • Film Cars: General
  • Veloce Selects: Great Small Fiats
  • Veloce Selects: Rally Giants
We'll also be making new lists available as we create them, to keep your app fresh … also FREE! So, if you have an idea, and want us to make a list for the app, let us know and we'll see what we can do!

Now, if you're hankering for some of that 'old school' competition, our app awards you points for each of your Spots … Lotus Europa? That's 250 points added to your profile! Each new Spot means more points to help you level-up. How many points you get depends on what you spot, with points awarded as follows:

  • Base score100 points, for any Spot.
  • Photo bonus50 points if the Spot has a photo saved with it.
  • New make bonus25 points the first time you spot a car from a manufacturer you haven’t seen before.
  • New model bonus25 points the first time you spot a model that you haven’t seen before.
  • Marque score – A variable bonus based on the car maker: the rarer the marque, the bigger the bonus!
  • Age score – A variable bonus based on the car's age. The older the car, the bigger the bonus – EXCEPT if it’s brand new, in which case you also get a bonus.

You'll also receive extra points if the Spot is on one of our lists:

  • List spot – Additional points if the car is on any of our themed lists (generally 250 points).
  • List completion – A BIG points bonus if a Spot completes a themed list (from 500 to 5000 points, depending on the size of the list).

As you collect more Spots, your profile summarises your progress, showing your points total, your current 'Level,' how many cars you've spotted, and over what period. It also shows you interesting stats such as the average age of the cars you've spotted, the oldest and newest cars, and how you're progressing through the lists.

For all the Twitter users among you, there is an option to share your Spots via tweet. The app will add the hashtag #CarSpotter, the model, and the year (if available).

If you find a car that isn't in the app, or one that you don't recognise, the app lets you tweet with the hashtag #CarSpotterID, so you can ask the Twitterati for an identification.

We will be following both hashtags, so do post your Spots and your ID requests. Tweet your score and Level using the #CarSpotter or #CarSpotterID hashstags, and you could also find yourself getting a little 'real-life' bonus from Veloce!

Veloce CarSpotter app is available now; head to our website or direct to the App store and get spotting today!
  • Track your spots using a database of over 68,000 cars from 350+ manufacturers
  • Save images, location information, and supplemental notes on each spot
  • Create custom tags for spots to group them together however you want
  • Work through themed lists of over 240 curated cars
  • Earn points and level up with older and more prestigious spots, or spotting cars on supplied lists
  • Entirely free! No in-app purchases or upfront costs. Just download and get spotting

CarSpotter also lets you choose a colour theme to match your mood.

Veloce CarSpotter is currently only available for iOS devices, and you can find out more over on our website: take a look at Veloce CarSpotter … and start your car spotting adventure today!

Find out more at Veloce:

Get it direct from the App store:

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Thinking outside the (Glass)boxx

We’ve always looked at ways to get our books known to as many enthusiasts and automotive fans as we can, which is why we began a programme of converting our printed titles into digital formats nearly ten years ago, and have been quietly converting and updating our catalogue ever since. 

With a big catalogue of almost 1000 books to assess, it's no surprise that we're still working away to improve and increase our digital offerings, and that's not limited to the books themselves.

If you're new to eBooks and digital publications, take a look at our eBook FAQs page, which answers the most common questions, including what you need to access ebooks and apps, and how to buy.

The big names in the eBook world – Apple, Amazon, and Google – unsurprisingly have the lion’s share of the market. But, in this age of big data, marketing algorithms, and digital footpritnts, some people prefer to avoid the big names, where possible.

Say hello to Glassboxx

With that in mind, we've added Glassboxx to our list of eBook vendors. Glassboxx, from the clever people at Firsty, provides a great new channel for all readers looking to avoid the 'Big Three,' or hoping to encourage a more diverse consumer environment.

Glassboxx is your one-stop app for eBooks and audio books, and is available – for FREE, of course – for iOS and Android devices. Plus, Glassboxx will soon have a Desktop reader available, so you can read your purchases on your laptop or PC.

Just like other vendors, Glassboxx lets us serve you digital content with built-in copy protection, so your purchases can only be read by you, and are safe and secure in the cloud and on your devices.

Buying with Glassboxx

Buying with Glassboxx is easy. Click the Glassboxx link on any product page, make a purchase, and you'll be directed to the app store for your device, so you can downloaded the reader app: enter the email you used when you bought your book, and you’ll have access to all your Glassboxx purchases!
You can find links to eBook versions (if available)
 beneath the book's specifications.

The app clearly labels publications to show the format, and, because all your books are stored in the cloud, once you've downloaded a book to a device, to quote Glassboxx:

Your books can be enjoyed to your heart’s content in the remotest, furthest-flung corners of the earth, where internet penetration is a mere pipe-dream

… or Dorset, as we call it. It doesn't matter if you change your e-reader: you can read your eBooks on any device and platform with the Glassboxx app installed.

Discover all of our eBooks directly from
within the Glassboxx app …
The app is super-easy to use, and fully featured, allowing you to make full text searches, bookmark pages, change the font size, use a dyslexic-friendly font, and change background colours for easier reading. There's also a fully featured audio player for when you'd rather listen than read.

Adjust your view for easier reading.

If you like getting your Veloce fix in bytes and bandwidth, rather than paper and ink, check out Glassboxx!

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, 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 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: