Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Great Scott! Look at our new release!

We have a number of new Essential Buyer's Guides out this month, including the Range Rover First Generation, Mercedes Benz W123 and Mercedes Benz 190, but one in particular can be linked to an iconic movie ... 

Of course, I'm talking about the DeLorean DMC-12! The only model ever made by the DeLorean company, roughly 9000 DMC-12s were manufacturered between 1981 and 1983. Featuring a number of unusual construction details, such as gull-wing doors, a rear-mounted engine and unpainted, stainless-steel body panels, this car, though made in Ireland, was intended primarily for the US car market – though a small number were later converted post-production to be right-hand-drive, so they could be sold in other parts of the world. 

As of 2007, there were thought to be around 6500 left, and if you fancy trying to obtain one for yourself, Chris Williams' Essential Buyer's Guide is the perfect tool to help you get the best possible DMC-12 for the best possible price! Packed with good advice on everything you need to know when purchasing a second-hand DeLorean, from running costs, paperwork, vital statistics and valuation, to information on the DeLorean community, this is the complete guide to choosing, assessing, and buying the DeLorean of your dreams. 

"The way I see it, if you're going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?" – Doc Brown, Back To The Future, 1985.

Now, I may not have grown up in the '80s, but I love the Back To The Future film series! Though their prediction of the year 2015 wasn't exactly what we experienced, these films are still classics, and that is in part down to the futuristic car that made time travel possible!

As the most anticipated car of the decade, the DeLorean was gaining a lot of media attention, and teamed with its sleek, futuristic silver look, it seemed the obvious choice for Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale to have the car as the star in their time travel film.

Three models were purchased for modification, for each film in the trilogy, with a complete fibreglass replica being built for the flying scenes in Back To The Future Part II. Of these nine in total, only three survive: the original one can be seen at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angles, California; the remaining two are owned by Universal Studios, with one on display in their Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida.

Now, I've got a couple of behind-the-scenes mechanical facts about these iconic cars. The DeLoreans used in filming retained their original V6 engines, however the sound effects artists changed the sound in post-production to the sound of a Porsche 928 V8 engine. For the American West scenes seen in Back To The Future Part III, two DeLoreans were fitted with a special dune buggy chassis, and high performance Volkswagen engines, in order to help the cars navigate the Western terrain with ease.

Whether you want to fulfil your dream of owning a time machine – in style, not in essence! – or you just always fancied owning a rare and iconic car, then you need to get a copy of Chris Williams' guide to help you find the right DeLorean! This book, and many other Essential Buyer's Guides, are available to buy from our online store now. – Siân

Friday, 9 March 2018

The Ultimate Book of the air-cooled Porsche 911 – a review

Graham Robson is a name well known in the motoring world, and he has a few events coming up this month. Saturday will see him chatting to David Richards, CBE at Beaulieu National Motor Museum, and Monday the 12th will see him at Bristol Pegasus Motor Club, with Brian Culcheth, talking about the 1970 World Cup Rally

As if he's not busy enough, Graham has also been reviewing some of our books. Today, we bring you Graham's review of The Ultimate book of the air-cooled Porsche

"Note carefully that word – Ultimate – for it told us everything we needed to know about this monumental study of Porsche's iconic 911. But with 592 pages, well over 1250 illustrations, and enough detail to satisfy any enthusiast's memory banks, could it be anything else. We could, in fact, have expected nothing less from Brian Long, who is a totally addicted admirer of these cars. Not only has he owned 911s, driven 911s, and been involved in the restoration of 911s, but has clearly been totally besotted with these cars for the half-century in which they have been on the world's roads.

The very first 911, complete with its rear-mounted flat-six air-cooed engine, went on sale in 1964, and the last was assembled in 1998, when it was finally replaced by yet more 911s, but thereafter equipped with water-cooled engines. In those thirty-four years, Long has somehow managed to include a description of the myriad different specifications, engines, transmissions, colour schemes, specialised market types, coupes, convertibles and competition versions – and has somehow kept it all understandable to a casual reader (who will, we promise, become an avid reader shortly afterwards).

Because this is a huge, and bulky book, which comes in its own special slip-case, we expected to find beautifully-presented colour images on almost every page, and were not disappointed, but were also vastly impressed by the excellent picture quality, the variety of car, component, brochure and advertising reproductions and, amazingly, by the easy-to-follow way in which the book is laid out. This, of course, in not a volume which can be skimmed at a sitting, but needs careful study – and the enjoyment of reading a real tour de force.

Over the years, and because there were so many different engine sizes, power ratings, carburetted, fuel-injected and turbocharged models, all matched to rear-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive, different colour charts for every model year, and special specifications for special markets, a seemingly endless evolution of Porsche's dedication to their layout (and style) merges. You need to know the detail technical specification for each model year? It's there. You want to know what combination of body colour and trim layout was available for particular markets? How many cars were built in each model year? That's all there too.

Yet Long, somehow has given this monumental book a real theme from start to finish, of how the car which started out with handling and other shortcomings, but which gradually became the standard by which all its rivals measured themselves, developed. To decide whether this tome is worth £175, you need only remind yourself that nearly 457,000 air-cooled 911s were built, and you will see that the magic is truly world-wide."

Note: This book is a limited edition of just 911 copies and is only available directly from Veloce's website.

Be sure to check out the wide range of Graham Robson books we have in stock over on our website.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Classic Car Boot Sale dates

If you're a lover of classic, vintage, or retro cars, The Classic Car Boot Sale is probably already on your radar. A great place to celebrate music, food, fashion, design, and, of course, vehicles, this year's first dates have been announced …

The first Classic Car Boot Sale of 2018 falls over the weekend of 28th & 29th April, at King's Cross, London, and if you're in the area, we recommend a visit. Car and bike lovers are well catered for, of course, with a truly outstanding selection of vehicles, all driven to the event by the owners, who are more than happy to chat.

But this is no ordinary car boot. You'll certainly find a wealth of traders, selling everything from vintage clothing and accessories, to homewares, collectibles, and vinyl, but you can also grab yourself a classic vehicle.

If your budget doesn't stretch to vehicles, then you can browse the stalls, enjoy some of the finest street food in London, or simply enjoy the DJs playing vinyl-only sets … from the top of a Routemaster, of course! You can even apply for a stall, so you can sell your own goods.

Pencil the dates in your diary, and pop along to one of the finest car boot sales in the land. You can buy an advance ticket for just £4 … and you won't be disappointed.

The Classic Car Boot Sale
Sat 28th – Sun 29th April 2018, 10am-6pm
King's Cross, London

Buy advance tickets here

Find out more at or check Class Car Boot Sale's facebook, twitter, and other social media channels for more details.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

An Incredible Book Launch

At the end of last month, translator Alison Falls gave a talk on Austrian author and explorer Max Reisch. Having translated his book An Incredible Journey for us, it seemed only fitting that she should hold a book event and talk on Max and his numerous adventures. In today's blog post, we have the transcript from her talk, so it's over to you Alison.

I must confess that from the moment I started to put a few bits of India the Shimmering Dream into English for my brother, I was hooked. I am mostly an armchair traveller, but I would like to think that these books appeal to genuine long distance travellers as well. But why exactly was I hooked?

  • Because of the stories – one of the first books I remember asking for and reading when I was about 10 years old was The Kon Tiki Expedition by Thor Heyerdahl.
  • Because of the style. The language is direct, clear and personal, with not too many abstract nouns. It's no fun translating abstract nouns from german. No high-flown philosophy here, then.
  • Because of the history. In the aftermath of the First World War, as we know, German speaking lands were in a ghastly mess and Fascism was poised to pick up the pieces. Austria was scarcely a real country, just a rump of the old Habsburg empire. But, Max Reisch does not mention the political situation of his homeland in any of his books. Even in the war memoir Out of the Rat Trap he gets away with laconic allusions. It has been called the only war book in which not a single shot is fired. Not totally true, but Max's eyes are set on a wider world. And by his own confession, he is an optimist. We need a few optimists in 2018, as much as in 1935. So, who was he and what was his background?
Maximilian Felix Gottfried Reisch, to give him his full name, was born in Kufstein in 1912  – the same year, incidentally, as fellow Austrian Heinrich Harrer whom we know from Seven Years in Tibet, but while Harrer was a professional sportsman and mountaineer, Reisch's passion was motor travel, beginning, significantly with motorcycles.

His was a  family of business people going back many generations. They were formidable entrepreneurs. In the 18th century, for instance, they were candlemakers, but when towards the end of the 19th century it became evident that electric light was going to be the thing, they diversified into groceries and wines, and as railways opened up trading opportunities, they imported colonial goods – tea, coffee, cocoa, rice, spices etc. They were always on the look-out for an opportunity. They also had interests in hotels and winter sports. During the First World War, and in the face of a declining economy, Max Reisch's father Hans August Reisch decided to diversify and bought a vineyard in the South Tirol. He knew nothing about growing wine, but he soon learned, moved down to Bolzano (Bozen) for a few years and got involved in all the local business projects.

As a young man, before he worked in the family firm, he had already acquired a Puch, Modell B, Bj, 1904, 254ccm, 2.75hp, top speed 45km/h, with no clutch or gears. On this motorcycle, in 1905 Hans August rode from Kufstein, over the Alps to the Mediterranean (which was no mean feat), and, wrote it all up for a motorcycle magazine. The tradition was established. Max writes that, as a small boy he also got the bug, lying on the floor with his father under the bike, and learning the 'clever arrangements of wheels and levers.'

Max Reisch's older brother Hans Friedrich was the one destined to go into the family business, but old man Reisch decided that his second son, Max, who showed a gift for draughtsmanship, should be an architect. He was duly sent off to Vienna to study architecture, but it wasn't long before he decided that trade and transport geography was much more interesting, so he swapped courses. He somehow forgot to tell his father what he had done, and old Hans August was not best pleased. He promptly cut off his son's allowance and told him to make his own way. I think this was only a temporary measure, to see if Max would rise to the occasion. He certainly did. He got himself a job as a film courier, which involved riding a motorcycle round Vienna delivering film canisters to cinemas. He eventually acquired a motorcycle of his own and went off on some Alpine trips. These, like his father, he wrote up for the magazine. He was well on his way. 

But he was longing for the big adventure, the really big one. He wanted to be an explorer, like his hero the great Swedish/German geographer Sven Hedin (1865 - 1952), and he wanted to see wonderful, mythical places, straight out of The Arabian Nights, like in the adventure novels of the famous German writer Karl May (who, incidentally, never travelled anywhere except in his imagination!). These are the two great motives of Max's journeys: he wants to boldly go where none have gone before (not with a motor vehicle, anyway), and he wants, as he put it himself, to have tales to tell his grandchildren. 

The idea Max came up with was to go overland to India, as Alexander the Great had done with his armies. The great Sven Hedin had made his travels into Asia with camels and other pack animals. It seemed obvious to Max that it must be possible to travel to India overland by motorcycle. After all, the trade routes already existed on the ground. 

He was keen as mustard to have a go, but his university professor in Vienna, Bruno Dietrich, wisely persuaded him to do a trial run to the Sahara first. There's a lot of desert on the way to India, and so Max learned to ride in arid conditions and control his motor cycle in loose sand – all vital experience. As a pillion passenger, he found Alfred Schricker who was prepared to go halves on the expense. Max always travelled with a partner and he always found sponsorship for his trips. In true entrepreneurial fashion, his father insisted on it, and for Max it was a point of honour. He financed the trips further by journalism. The articles he wrote home for the India trip were not written up as a book until after World War II. The great India journey of 1933 is described in India The Shimmering Dream. He took a light motorcycle, an Austrian-built Puch 250cc, carrying luggage which included cameras and a typewriter, as well as tents, sleeping bags, water fuel etc, and a pillion passenger, Herbert Tichy, who went on to become a traveller and mountaineer in his own right. The India trip remains the most astounding achievement and the book has never been out of print in German. The two young men nearly died several times.

Once back in Vienna, Max had to catch up with his studies and pass exams. He was cock-a-hoop with the fame he had earned, but the university did not let him get away with it. An Incredible Journey opens with Max telling a tale against himself. To cheer himself up, he says, he began to plan a new trip, by motorcycle to China, but when he put his proposals to the Puch management, the Director suggested using the new Steyr 100 motor car, a modest domestic
model, but "The man in the street must feel he could drive his Steyr 100 to China too!" Puch stipulated that the engine and chassis must not be adapted in any way, but he had a free hand with designing the bodywork for the trip. Max's partner on this trip was Helmuth Hahmann, only 19 years old but already a gifted mechanic. He certainly had his work cut out. The car had its bodywork revised in Baghdad, and the gearbox fell apart at least three times, but the car got to Kolkata, then through the jungles of South East Asia, through China in the midst of a civil war, all the way to Shanghai, then through Japan, and finally from Seattle across the United States (with a brief and disastrous excursion into Mexico), to sail home in triumph from New York to Bremerhaven, and so to Vienna. This car still exists. So do all of Reisch's vehicles. They form part of the Reisch Collection, and if you contact his son Peter you can still see them. They are still garaged at the family home in Bolzano, South Tyrol, although Peter is hoping to find a permanent home for them in Austria one day. The trip took them 19 months, from late April 1935 to December 1936.

For me, the personality of Max as a writer is vivid. He has a youthful enthusiasm that leaps out over more than 80 years and makes me feel I was there. Helene Hanff, in that book of books 84 Charing Cross Road, says she is a great fan of 'I was there' stories. So am I. 

There is also the rather ambivalent pleasure of being seen as other see us. On the round-the-world trip, Max spends a longish time in British India, including Burma and the Shan States. He's really quite a fan of the British, and quite well aware that when he is invited for a drink, or even a cup of tea, he is being gently interrogated. From the British sphere of influence, they continue into French Indo-China, and then into China which is really in a state of civil war. Even so, they begin to learn a lot about daily life and culture. They often stay with missionaries deep in the country. Max was advised to grow a beard in order to gain respect in China as an 'old' man. This works pretty well, except for being sometimes mistaken for a Christian missionary and begged for a blessing. However, things are different when they get to Shanghai and experience the dazzling international social life. We are certainly not told all that goes on, but it is here that the beard meets its fate. 

I could go on with descriptions of staying in a traditional guest house in Japan (the attention of geisha girls of the the hotel staff, scalding hot baths), the novelty of auto camps in America, breaking down in the Mexican desert, getting a new differential cage built by a backwoodsman in Laredo, driving 2100km in 40 hours non-stop.

Then, of course, the big question: what happened to Max Reisch in World War II? And for that, you must read Out of the Rat Trap, where the Libyan desert under Rommel becomes Max's next big adventure. When the Axis troops surrendered in Tunisia in May 1943, he got hold of a fishing boat, never having sailed before, and eventually escaped over the Mediterranean to Sicily, with six other men – and a dog. Jerome K. Jerome could not have told it better. However, this was war. Here is what happened as Reisch and his engineer Stempian are taking the boat down the coast to a hideaway to fit it out. It is a maiden voyage. Suddenly a flight of Italian troop transport planes roars over-head. Reisch and Stempian turn around and rescue as many men as they can from the water. It is a genuinely harrowing experience. 

Reisch died at the age of only 72, in 1985. His outlook was optimistic to the last. When told that he was terminally ill, he is reported as saying, "Well, I'm not really 72, I'm 102, because the years in the desert count double."

An Incredible Journey is available now, and India The Shimmering Dream will be arriving in the summer. 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Happy Birthday Enzo Ferrari!

This Sunday just gone would have seen the 120th birthday of one of the most influential men in automotive history ... 

Enzo Anselmo Ferrari, son of Alfredo and Adalgisa, was born in Modena on the 18th of February, 1898. As a child, he showed an unbridled passion for cars (his father, after all, had a workshop ... ), and as an adult he went on to become not only a great car manufacturer, but one of the world's greatest representatives of Italian spirit. He was also one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century.

To celebrate his 120th birthday, a photographic exhibition has been organised at Enzo's birthplace, within the complex that now houses the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena. It includes images taken throughout his life: from childhood to adulthood, from his career as a driver, to that of a manager and manufacturer, alongside unforgettable motor racing champions such as Nuvolari, Castellotti, and Villeneuve.

The museum also houses the former workshop of Enzo Ferrari's father, which has been meticulously restored and now contains the Museum of Ferrari Engines, where visitors can see the Prancing Horse's most experimental power units as well as the perfect engines that equip the track and race cars that have given such satisfaction to both Ferrari and its fans.

"It seems incredible to think that Enzo Ferrari was born in the 19th century," says Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne. "His lesson is more relevant than ever and his modernity unquestionable. He was a man with extraordinary vision and ability to manage people and resources, as well as a strong entrepreneurial spirit and exceptional courage. One wonders what he could have achieved if he had had access to today's technical resources and knowledge. The mark that he left on the world remains a source of pride for all of us at Ferrari, and for the whole of Italy."

We have a variety of books on all things Ferrari, available on our website, and if you fancy finding out more motoring history tidbits, This Day in Automotive History is the book for you!  

Thursday, 15 February 2018

A Jaguar fit for a Princess

Today sees the start of this year's London Classic Car Show. Held at the ExCeL London, this grand event features a wide variety of displays, talks, sales stands, and an indoor driving runway, making it a must do for all classic car enthusiasts. 

Memorable highlights at this year's show include a homage to Getaway Cars, curated by actor Phillip Glenister, and The Grand Avenue will play host to a number of Specials – so expect to see the likes of Ford Sierra RS Cosworth Ex BTTC car, Lancia Stratos, Jaguar XJ220, Ian Walker Lotus Elan Coupe2, Abarth Porsche, Alfa Romeo Montreal, and many more! However, the jewel in the crown of this year's show might just be a car fit for a Princess ... 

A notable Jaguar XJ-S Cabriolet with royal connections will be one of a record number of stunning retro cars from the halcyon days of motoring appearing at this weekend's show. 

While many of the 700+ wonderful automotive icons on display will have their own incredible histories, few, if any, will have better stories to tell than this totally one-off 150mph Jaguar – a sportscar fashioned especially for Diana, Princess of Wales.

Dating back to 1983, this famous XJ-SC was not only one of the most photographed cars of its era, but it was totally unique, built to the Princess' bespoke specification.

While the other 5012 cabriolets created in Coventry between 1983 and 1988 were all hedonistic two-seater speedsters, this stately XJ-SC (reg E763KYX) was uniquely fitted with two small rear seats, just so the young Princes, William and Harry, could ride along with their mother and her bodyguard. It is generally accepted that the Princess enjoyed driving her custom-made Jag so much that her protection officer was often relegated to the front passenger seat!

Additionally, the V12–powered regal cabriolet features an individually made, and permanently fixed, rear hard top to ensure that the two Princes would not hit their heads on the solid targa roof bar in the event of an accident. 

Also, unlike any other XJS, the once royal roadster is fitted with personalised leather and Harris Tweed seat trims, chosen by Princess Diana. What's more, the exterior bodywork came with four round headlights similar to those seen on the US export model, and was finished in British Racing Green to match the Aston Martin that husband Prince Charles had acquired around the same time. 

The Princess was regularly seen driving this majestic model from 1987 to 1991. Then, when the two Princes outgrew its small rear seats, she sold it to the Jaguar Heritage Trust, an educational charity established to preserve the legacy of Jaguar for the nation, in exchange for a contribution to one of her own charitable causes. 

The following year, Diana replaced the British-made XJ-SC with a German-made Mercedes 500SL – a controversial decision that caused quite a commotion at the time, as no member of the Royal Family had purchased a foreign car in memory. 

"The London Classic Car Show is littered with cars boasting their own remarkable histories," said Bas Bungish, Event Director. "There are F1 single-seaters raced in period by world champions such as Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher and getaway cars involved in staking out The Great Train Robbery. Princess Diana's very own Jaguar is another of these evocative exhibits which will certainly conjure up many fond recollections among our visitors who really appreciate nostalgia. Seeing the two Princes today, it's hard to remember that they were once a pair of little boys strapped into those special passenger seats behind their mother. How time flies!"

If you are heading to this year's show, be sure to let us know what you are looking forward to the most, and have a fantastic time!


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Dan Gurney

Veloce were saddened to hear news of the passing of a another motorsport legend, Dan Gurney, on the 14th January, aged 86.

Dan Gurney, Netherlands GP, 1970
By Joost Evers / Anefo (Nationaal Archief)
via Wikimedia Commons
Daniel Sexton Gurney was born in Port Jefferson, New Jersey, on April 13 1931. He moved to California with his family when he was 16, and by the time he was just 19 years old, he built and ran a car that attained 138mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. His interests quickly moved-on to dragsters and sports cars.

With the ability to wrest even less-than-competitive, pre aero-era cars to a podium finish, he was said to be the only driver that Jim Clark feared on track. Gurney’s racing record reads like a hall of fame of championship series and cars, and he leaves a legacy that future drivers, constructors, and team owners alike, may never again attain. His career saw a string of high-profile wins and podium places in the world’s top racing series, from F1 and Le Mans, to Indy and NASCAR.

But it wasn't only racing where Gurney made his considerable mark. Constructor and team owner are also prominent on his CV, and his Eagle-Weslake cars are still considered as one of the most visually stunning F1 cars of all time.

A comprehensive look at Dan Gurney’s life and career in motorsport appears in Motor Racing Heroes – The Stories of 100 Greats, by Robert Newman.

Daniel Sexton Gurney, 13 April 1931 – 14 January 2018