Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Think Bike!

A little change of pace now, as today's blog is all about motorcycles. 

Of course, we love all things motorcycle related here at Veloce – a number of the Velocisti regularly ride their bikes into work – so road safety is paramount to us. Sadly, a large number of motorcycle riders around the globe are involved in serious accidents annually, and with the weather getting warmer, it's even more crucial that we all THINK BIKE whilst out on the roads.

Locally, Dorset Police have launched a new campaign in order to encourage motorists to THINK BIKE on a more regular basis. This has involved putting up posters in 'hot spot' areas around the county where serious collisions have occurred involving motorcycle users. It is hoped that these signs will highlight that road users need to pay more attention to motorcycle users. You can see these posters on the following roads:

  • B3059 Somerford Road, Christchurch
  • A354 Weymouth Way
  • A354 Portland Beach Road
  • B3073 Christchurch Road between Dudbury and Wet Parley
  • A30 Babylon Hill
  • A31 just west of lake gates roundabout to just east of Merley roundabout
  • A348 Ringwood Road near Langham
  • A351 Sandford to Holten Heath



Further afield, Autotalks, the global leader in V2X (Vehicle to Everything) communication chipsets, has joined the Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC). Autotalks will work with other CMC members to help realise the vision of a uniform motorcycle platform for V2M (Vehicle-to-Motorcycle) communication. Specifically, Autotalks and other CMC members will work together to enhance Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) applications in motorcycles in a way that will help minimise motorcycle accidents.

Autotalks' V2M solution is based on a second generation V2X chipset developed by the company, which allows motorcyclists and other drivers to receive alerts on life threatening situations, in order to avoid road accidents. The V2M enables detection of motorcycles that are not visible to the human eye, cameras, or other sensors. 

To highlight the importance of being aware of motorcycle users on the road, Autotalks' CEO Hagai Zyss points out:
 "Motorcycles have higher chances of being involved in a road traffic accident, meaning motorcycle users are at a greater risk of fatality. Studies show that in approximately one third of motorcycle accidents, the motorbike is not visible to the car driver. Autotalks is committed to minimising motorcycle accidents until there will be zero accidents on our roadways."



Whether you are a motorcycle rider or not, be sure to Think Bike when you are out on the roads!


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

New MOT comes into effect

There are big changes coming to the MOT as of this Sunday, so are you aware of what these could mean for you and your vehicle?



There are three main areas where the MOT is changing, and these include:
  • New defect types, and new items to be tested
  • Stricter rules for diesel car emissions
  • Change of circumstances for certain cars over 40 years old

From the 20th of May, any defects found while the testing is being carried out will be classed as either dangerous, major, or minor. Any fault classed as dangerous or major will be an instant fail on the MOT, where as a minor fault would still be a pass. Further details on there faults are as follows.

Dangerous faults mean that there is a direct and immediate risk to road safety, or a serious impact on the environment. You will not be allowed to drive the vehicle until the fault has been repaired. 
Major faults mean that they may affect the vehicle's safety, put other road users at risk, or have an impact on the environment. You will be advised to repair a major fault immediately. 
Minor faults will be those that have no significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment. You will be advised to repair any minor faults as soon as possible.

MOT testers will also tell you of any advisory problems, which could become more serious in the future unless monitored and repaired when necessary. However, there have been concerns that this new way of classifying faults can be too confusing for motorists. Simon Williams, a spokesman for the RAC, said that the new classifications "will surely be open to interpretation which may lead to greater inconsistency from one test centre to another."

In addition to the new defect types, there will be a number of new items that will be tested for during the MOT. The main ones include:
  • If the tyres are obviously under inflated
  • If the brake fluid has been contaminated in any way
  • If there are any fluid leaks that pose an environmental risk
  • The brake pad warning light and if brake pads or discs are missing
  • The reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
  • The headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009, if they have them
  • The daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018; most of these vehicles won't have their MOT until 2021


Limits for emissions are getting stricter for diesel cars with diesel particulate filters (DPF). If your car's exhaust emits smoke of any colour, or if the tester finds evidence that the DPF has even tampered with, it will be classed as a major fault and will fail the MOT test. 

There is good news if you have a classic that was first registered in 1978, as cars, vans, motorcycles, and other light passenger vehicles that are 40 years old or more will no longer require an MOT – so long as they have not been substantially modified. However, each time you tax your historic vehicle, you will need to declare that it meets the rules for not needing an MOT certificate. 

So, what do you think of these changes? Do any of them work in your favour, or will it strike up a lot of confusion? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

What a race!

Here's hoping we aren't in for a Bank Holiday washout, as this year's Donington Historic Festival will be celebrating an iconic Formula 1 race ...

One of the most memorable events in the history of Donington Park, the rain-soaked 1993 European Grand Prix will be celebrated at this year's Donington Historic Festival – which runs from the 4th to the 6th of May – with on-track F1 car demonstrations on the Saturday and Sunday, plus static displays on all three days. In addition, DHF visitors will be invited to get involved by sharing their own memories of the race before and during the Festival.

The 25th anniversary activities add a further exciting dimension to the event, where visitors can enjoy three days of world-class historic motorsport from an outstanding line-up of grids featuring an incredibly diverse range of racing machines spanning nine decades!

The Festival's anniversary theme celebrates that unforgettable day in April 1993, when the crowds flocked to Donington Park as the circuit played host to its first Grand Prix in 55 years – and the first European Grand Prix in eight years. Torrential rain made the track treacherous, as, starting from 4th position, Ayrton Senna battled it out with Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher to win by an incredible 80 seconds.

The F1 cars on show pay tribute in particular to Ayrton Senna, and were either driven by him or against him during his career up to 1993. They include:
  • The Toleman TG-184-01 Hart Turbo in which Senna caused a sensation for Friday practice at the 1984 British GP
  • A Camel Lotus/Judd 101/3 campaigned in 1989 by Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima
  • Gerhard Berger's 1992 Canadian GP-winning McLaren MP4/7A-8 (courtesy of the Donington Collection museum)
  • A 1993 Benetton B193B raced that year by Michael Schumacher and Riccardo Patrese
  • The McLaren MP4/8 was Senna's test car for the 1993 Donington Park race (courtesy of the Donington Collection museum)

The McLaren MP4/8


DHF visitors will be invited to share their memories of that famous race on display boards at the Festival and, prior to the event, motorsport fans will be invited to send in their own images and memories of the race, which will be printed out and put up on a 'scrapbook' board for everyone to enjoy. 

Do you have fond memories of that race on Easter Sunday, 1993? Be sure to share them with us in the comments below!


Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The end of the diesel Porsche ...

Porsche news always grabs our attention here at Veloce, as you know how much we love the marque, but this news story got our attention for a different reason than normal ... 

It has been announced that Porsche will axe all diesel engine options from its range of cars with immediate effect, with the reason behind the decision being a "cultural shift" by the brand's customers which caused the demand for diesel models to fall. Instead, the marque is switching its attention to petrol and hybrid models. 

The decision was made the same week that Germany's top court ruled that cities have the right to ban diesel motors in an effort to improve air quality levels. The cities of Stuttgart – home of Porsche  – and Leipzig had wanted to stop older diesel vehicles entering the city limits, and now this can be possible. Similar proposals are being discussed by governments around the world, in order to reduce pollution in major cities. 

Last year, bosses at Porsche said that they would consider killing diesel altogether by the end of 2018. A reason this decision may have been brought forward is due to the new round of economy and pollution testing regimes (known as RDE and WLTP) which arrive in the autumn. Older-generation diesel engines could struggle to meet these new tests, so it makes sense for Porsche to halt diesel car production for the time being.



Further to this news, Porsche has announced its desire to reduce CO2 emissions by fuelling internal combustion engines with sustainably sourced fuels. The German company says advances in fuel technology means it is already possible to create petrol and diesel substitutes that do not use crude oil, and that such fuels can make a 'significant contribution' in the battle to reduce global warming.

"In the foreseeable future, powertrains featuring combustion engines that operate using sustainably produced fuels will be offered as an optimum solution for sports cars in terms of performance, vehicle weight and range – key considerations from the perspective of Porsche customer," detailed a statement from Porsche.

With diesel absent from the Porsche line-up for the time being, and the use of sustainably sourced fuels still in the early stages, electrification will step into the foreground. Further hybrid models – including a hybrid version of the next 911 – are in the pipeline, while Porsche will release a pure EV next year in the form of the production Mission E.

So what do you think of the, albeit temporary, absence of diesel Porsches? We'll have more on the changes for diesel cars in general in the coming weeks. 


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Drive-It Day 2018

Who doesn't love a classic car? Drive-It Day 2018 is taking place this Sunday, April 22nd, and although many of the popular events to celebrate the day have sold out, there are plenty of ways to participate.


Drive-It Day takes place every year to help raise awareness of the classic vehicle movement in the UK and encourages classic vehicle owners to show off their classics as much as possible. Organised by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC), Drive-It Day celebrates the UK's rich transport heritage.

Now into its 13th year, Drive-It Day commemorates The Thousand Mile Trial, which took place on April 23rd, 1900. Organised by the Automobile Club, a gathering of 65 cars embarked on a highly ambitious voyage around the country. Starting in London, the Trial went through Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Derby, Kendal, Carlisle, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, and back to London.



Events around the country

Drive your classic to the British Motor Museum, Warwickshire and receive discounted entry to the world's largest collection of British-built vehicles – including the vehicle that won The Thousand Mile Trial, an 1899 Wolseley Voiturette. Many other classics sure to be in attendance will be on display out front of the museum, and free guided tours will be taking place throughout the day.

The Classic Motor Hub in Gloucestershire will be expecting large crowds to attend a special opening of its historic collection at RAF Bibury, where visitors can also see the arrival of a special Drive-It Day rally from Chateau Impney. Highlights include the Hub's superb display of around 70 cars, which currently includes Bentley and Aston Martin Le Mans racers from the 1920s, and the 1924 V12 Delage DH land speed record-holder. Still a fairly new venue, this place is well worth a visit in you are in the area!

It's estimated that around 100 classics will descend upon the Lakeland Motor Museum in Cumbria, joining a display of classics outside the museum. If you arrive in your classic, you'll get discounted entry into the museum!

Since it's first Drive-It Day 'Sunday Scramble' back in 2014, the event at Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire has become bigger and better every year. This unique venue combines wartime heritage with a fascinating assortment of businesses furnishing the classic car industry. Another attraction on the day us the launch of a new photography exhibition by Amy Shore.

So if you're up for a museum visit, a leisurely drive around the countryside, or fancy watching any number of the convoys happening up and down the country, there is something for everyone this Drive-It Day!



Friday, 13 April 2018

Abingdon's Finest

MG has always played a prominent role in British social history, and its cars have always been enthusiastically praised. A home-grown concept, MG became internationally successful, largely due to the uniqueness of the factory; a family unit that supported innovation, race craft, had a talented design team, and provided opportunities for it's employees. The success of the factory propelled the small market town of Abingdon, in Oxfordshire, onto the global map, and made MG into an international brand that has survived almost a century of change. 


We have a number of books on MG at Abingdon, such as MG's Abingdon Factory and Don Hayter's MGB Story, but the real stand out has to be our newest book MG, Made in Abingdon. An active volunteer of Abingdon County Hall Museum, author Bob Frampton has collected the memories of many of the men and women who worked at Abingdon, to provide an intimate and unique account of what it was like to work in MG's Abingdon factory. 

 This book is proving to be a popular buy, and with reviews like these, its easy to see why!

"This is social history at its best,  [it's] as much about skilled trades, shop floor romances and lower-league football as making cars." – Classic Cars



"We are used to reading about the big names in MG's history, but this book gives voice to some thousands who worked in the Abingdon factory, helping to create the cars we love ... it opens a window on aspects of MG life that rarely get an airing in public." – MG Enthusiast

It's Bob recognition that the most important aspect of MG's success was its team – tea-boys and girls, the shop floor workers, the engineers and racers, the apprentices and management – that makes this book such an interesting read. Factory life is often overlooked and unremarked on, but the story of MG's factory is an important reflection of the British motor industry from the perspective of the shop floor work force.

From memories of the production line, to recollections of racing incidents, the previously untold story of MG from the men and women who worked in the Abingdon factory is revealed for the first time. Yes, it's certainly a nostalgic look at an historic marque, but more than that, it's an historically important record of a unique period in social history.

Image credit British Motor Heritage Museum


From the 14th of April until the 24th of June, Abingdon County Hall Museum will house a new exhibition entitled "Automotive Design: Innovations at MG Abingdon". Using recent donations from MGB lead designer Don Hayter, the museum will celebrate the importance and practice of good design in automotive production, and how MG made innovative steps forward in this industry.

This weekend sees the exhibition opening, and to market he occasion, Abingdon County Hall Museum will be hosting a book signing event with Bob Frampton this Sunday (April 15th)! For more information, you can contact the museum directly.


So, if you are local to Abingdon, or are an MG enthusiast, make sure you check out the Automotive Design exhibition, and don't forget to get your copy of MG, Made in Abingdon from our website 


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – December, January and February

It's been quite a while since we last heard from Oliver, author of, A Life in Car Design. However, Oliver has still been vigilant in keeping track of all he does, so let's catch up with him ... 


2 December – Find speedreaders.info (USA) online review, which is very positive.

4 December – The Jaguar ex-Apprentice newsletter arrives. They have done me proud under 'Things to put on your Christmas list.' Many thanks Mr Benton.

5 December – Travel to Old Sudbury, Gloucestershire and give a talk on the book to Club Lotus Avon at The Bull, in Hinton. The venue was full to capacity, plus a couple of standing audience. Sign at least six books, and a very good pub! My thanks to Rob Ford for organising it.



11 December – Doug Weal of North Yorkshire Lotus Owners Club contacts me regarding giving a talk for them next March or April. He says there would be a wide-based audience, so I suggest adding a TVR slide to the presentation.

Meet Andrew Walmsley at Barnham Broom Bell and sign a book – the second he has done – for a Christmas gift. 

13 December – Brian Llewellyn email RE:contact.
'Hello Oliver, I forwarded your letter to a friend of mine ... Shaun Beadsworth. He emailed back saying "You never told me you're a friend of Oliver Winterbottom?!" I remember visiting Hethel with my Dad when he had a job there, not long after Colin Chapman had passed away. I would be very pleased if you could organise a book ... ' 
I explained how to buy from the publisher. 

14 December – Travel to Bourne, Lincolnshire for the Bourne Motor Racing Club BRM Evening. I manage to distribute a number of book leaflets. John Sismey, ex-BRM engineer tells me he enjoyed reading my book. My old buddy Dick Salmon (ex-BRM and Lotus) was busy singing his re-printed book. I had a very good dinner at the Nags Head (owned by my great, great, grandparents in the 1890s) and stayed at The Angel. 

24 December – While enjoying a pint of Tiger at the Heathcote Arms, Croft, Leicestershire with a gentleman who organises the Hinckley Concours each summer, he wished to buy the book there and then! Sadly, I had none with me, so here's hoping he can get one elsewhere.

31 December – I need to start thinking about how to increase promoting this wonderful book in 2018! Wishing everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2018


4 January – Kevin Atkins of Veloce sends a trial 'book flyer' design. I approve the second option, and ask for a minor change on the right hand side in order to increase the impact of the book cover. Result below:



5 January – Sign a book for Jonathan who will be moving into the old Team Lotus race workshops at Kettering Hall in February. They have been converted into modern offices. I also take some history of the Team at the Hall, which he may use to decorate it. 

8 January – Print Veloce flyer – looks good to me! Barnham Broom Bell put one on display. 

9 January – Amazon Germany customer review (Google translated): 
A life for the automobile led Oliver Winterbottom in many different companies and countries of the world. It was the wish of the young Oliver reality to take care of the design of automobiles. From time to time some of the side war scenes also played a role, which he filled with just as much devotion. The biography is a great and interesting journey through the history of the automobile, especially English, of course. Most of the lines are very entertaining and you almost feel like talking directly to Winterbottom. In addition, some barely published drawings and pictures are shown, which underline the work with emphasis. Again and again, the people around him are presented and the financial situation is assessed.
For the equivalent of just over 40 euros, the reader can travel through the past with Winterbottom and clearly understand his way of doing business. The working life of the automotive designer provides a great template for a book and is very worth reading, especially since it is always first-hand information, which makes it all the more valuable. 

Deliver two Veloce flyers to Hethersett Queens Head. Eye-catching display with one in the entrance lobby. 

11 January – Friend and ex-Lotus colleague John Elwin has a possible contact with Club Team Lotus Belgium for the book. 

Jonathan, a friend in Barnham Broom Bell, reading my book tells me he particularly liked my design for the Jaguar E Type 2+2. It dates from 1968, so I have nearly forgotten it!

15 January – Richard Bond (Hethersett Queens Head) reports the copy of my book he gifted in November was enjoyed immensely. 

17 January – Doug Weal of North Yorkshire Lotus Owners Club contacts to say likely time for me to give a talk would be late this year. I send my diary for September and October, as it currently stands.

18 January – John Elwin, ex-Lotus, Team Lotus, and now a journalist living in France, enters my book on the Ten Tenths Motorsport website. Post generates a fair bit of interest!:
Anyone interested in Britain's sports car industry will find Oliver Winterbottom's biography A Life in Car Design a fascinating read. Oliver's career began as a Jaguar apprentice in the 1960s, where he graduated to the drawing office. From there he moved to Lotus, where he was responsible for design of the Elite/Eclat range. He was to return to Lotus (more than once!) but after that he was responsible for the wedge-era TVR's, followed by spells in the US and China. 

Contact Club Team Lotus Belgium and offer to give a presentation on my career and book if they would like me to. 

19 January – Contacted by Only Motors TV with regards to potentially do a profile on me for their show, #Petrolheads.
"#Petrolheads is one of our most views programmes, with an average viewership of 1 million per month, it is a half an hour show on an individual with a personal history and interesting story around their love and use of motors and would stream on our Only Motors TV site." 

22 January – Only Motors TV confirm they expect to contact with dates around the end of February. 

24 January – Sign a copy of my book for Stuart at The Heathcote Arms, Croft, Leicestershire. Stuart Elliot is a leading organiser of the Hinckley annual Classic Car Show which now fills the town with interesting vehicles. This years event is on Sunday 16 September.

26 January – Tom Willis (Barnham Broom Bell) says he will bring a copy of the book for signature. He has connections with Mick McIsaac who features in the book as a superb pattern and model maker. 

27 January – Surprise, surprise – Amazon advertise the book for its published price of £37.50 with 14 in stock and (more on the way) – That may be a "First"!

29 January – Tom Willis brings book for signature which he will gift to Mick McIsaac.

30 January – Amazon email me offering my book to myself. Full published price but now only 13 in stock (more on the way). So thats another one gone!

2 February – Find a site on Google offering a download of my book. As I am concerned this may be breaching copyright, I contact Veloce who respond quickly: The explain that this is a very common scam of the 'phishing' variety – an attempt to gain personal details. Sometimes it's only to gain an email (for spamming), but such sites require that you 'sign up' or login (as this one does), and will then usually ask for credit or payment details for 'security.' This is usually what the scammer is ultimately after ... Fortunately for us, the site is hosted by Google, using it's 'Sites' features. Google Sites gives companies a quick and easy way to create a web presence – and a quick way for scammers to try and fool people. However, because it's a Google Site, the options for reporting and flagging issues are top notch, so I've filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint, directly with Google. 

The whole business reinforces my view that the internet is a totally uncontrolled system. No one knows who says what/where/when! Half of the information available is fictitious and unsubstantiated. That's what I think!

3 February – The Google site offering a download on the book has been removed from the internet by 11am this morning. 

4 February – Although Google have removed the "download" facility, they still are on the internet with a "box" advert and a website offering a preview of my book. I am not very happy and have sent my thoughts to Veloce for comment. My thoughts are: In my opinion the preview is excessive. To show the first three chapters absolutely complete with illustrations is way beyond what I would call a preview. Veloce have responded that this is not unusual and indeed, in a bookshop one can browse the whole book. In addition, the Google website has a number of incorrect items of information. Veloce explained that this is not unusual and doubt it would do any harm. I will therefore accept the position. 

6 February – Get a nice email from Amazon offering me my book at £24.37. Seems to have been reduced again since 27 January!

7 February – So a Tesla electric sports car is launched into space. By my reckoning, that really makes Lotus the first car in space, as the Tesla was based on the Elise and built by Lotus. Where will my old projects end up? Mars?

9 February – Amazon email me to offer the book at £21.91 with free delivery. Such a nice world the internet has brought. 

10 February – Yet another website offering free download of the book. Forwarded to Veloce (again!)

12 February – Reply: Once Google have been informed of one infringement, its algorithms will remember the 'issue' and keep an eye open for similar scams, alerting Google's operatives (yes, they still have actual people working for them) to check them. This is usually all that's needed, and whilst Google isn't the only search provider, it is the biggest, and many others follow its lead in malware and intellectual rights issues. If you visit the URL you last sent, for example, you'll see that it's already gone ... 

So now I need to keep calm!

13 February – Amazon email me again offering my book to me for £21.91.

A search on the internet shows Amazon Japan offering the book for 3459 Yen, Amazon Italy and Amazon Brazil also advertising it. Hopefully this will sell a few.         

16 February – Amazon obviously upset that I haven't bought my book from them. Emailed me again today with the price £21.91.

23 February – Phil Clarke (Barnham Broom Bell customer) who restores old caravans has bought my book and will bring it for a signature in the evening. 

Visit my podiatrist who was aware of my local radio show last year and knows some people at Lotus. Suggested she and as many others should get a copy of my book, and I will sign at my next appointment. 

25 February – Enjoying a pint of Tiger in my sister's local pub and discuss with Stuart Elliot the possibility attending the Hinckley Classic Car Show (Sunday 16 September) with a book signing. Will definitely consider this. 

26 February – Staying with my sister who has friends for dinner. I sign two copies of my book.

You can purchase your own copy of A Life in Car Design here, and make sure to check back on the Veloce blog for the next instalment!