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

Monday, 29 January 2018

70 years of the Land Rover

At the beginning of the year, we posted a blog listing all the major automotive anniversaries and celebrations that will be taking place over the course of 2018. However, there was one glaringly obvious one missing from the line up, and that's because we were saving it for its own, dedicated post ...

Of course, I'm talking about the 70th anniversary of the Land Rover! First launched at the Amsterdam motor show back in April 1948, the Series I Land Rover was created for no other reason than to provide a stop-gap model to aide sales in the post-war years. This vehicle was first intended to be just for agricultural purposes, and had a box section steel chassis, and aluminium body work – there was an abundance of aluminium surplus from aircraft manufacturing after the war. Over the years, the Land Rover has developed to become so much more than a farmer's mode of transport, becoming a mainstay for the British Army and utilised by a number of different services, from the Police force to the National Trust. Nowadays, there is a whole range of Land Rovers available, such as the Defender, Discovery, Freelander, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Range Rover Evoque. They are just as popular with the rich and famous as they are with your average country farmer – even the Duchess of Cambridge drives a Range Rover!

We have a number of books due to be released over the course of the year to help mark this landmark occasion, but the stand out book has got to be Land Rover Design – 70 years of success. Written by Nick Hull, author of Ford Design in the UK – 70 years of success – this book details the personalities involved in the various projects from the late 1940s up to today: the designers, modellers and studio engineers. It charts the development of Land Rover and Range Rover projects in the UK, particularly those designed in the Gaydon studio that opened in 1996, and is still a key part of Jaguar Land Rover's design resource. From the early days of chalk drawings and wooden models to today's digital renderings and milled clay for the latest Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover's designers and technicians have never been short of creativity. This book tells their story, in their own words, and is a fitting tribute to the spirit and ethos of Land Rover design and engineering.

To coincide with the marque's platinum anniversary, Land Rover are set to unveil a limited-edition high-performance version of the iconic Defender, with up to 150 V8-powered examples re-engineered.

The Defender Works V8 pays homage to the early high-powered engines in both the Series III Stage 1 V8 from 1979, and subsequent Defenders, including the 50th Anniversary Edition, which are highly sought after by enthusiasts and
collectors today. Defender Works V8 is the most powerful and fastest version that Land Rover has ever created. The 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol V8 powertrain produces 405PS and 515Nm of torque (the standard Defender delivered 122PS and 360Nm). The Defender Works V8 will accelerated from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds, while top speed is increased to 106mph.

Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classics Director, said: "It's fitting that we've been able to release the full potential of the iconic Defender, whose much-loved shape remains synonymous with Land Rover, 70 years since is was seen in public for the first time. The idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014, when we were still building the Defender in Solihull. We knew the demand was there for a powerful and fast Defender; the Land Rover authenticity is the ultimate finishing touch for discerning clients purchasing these collector's edition Defenders."

The V8 powertrain will be fitted to 150 specially-selected and re-engineered Defenders for the 70th Edition, complemented by an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with sport mode, uprated brakes, and handling kit (springs, dampers and anti-roll bars), plus exclusive 18-inch diamond-turned Sawtooth alloy wheels and 265/65 R18 all-terrain tyres. Eight standard body colours include two satin finishes – contrasting with Santorini Black roof, wheel arches and front grille – finished with machined aluminium door handles, fuel filler cap and Defender bonnet lettering. A comprehensive lighting upgrade includes bi-LED headlamps. Full Windsor Leather interior trim covers the dashboard, door panels, headlining and Recaro sports seats. Land Rover Classic's own Classic Infotainment System is also fitted. Both 90 and 110 wheelbase Defender Works V8 derivatives will be available to purchase soon from Land Rover Classic, including power upgrades for the TDCi diesel, fast-raid suspension, and braking kits.

There are a number of events that will be taking place, hosted by Land Rover and other motoring organisations, in order to celebrate 70 years of the marque. First on Land Rover's calendar is a unique restoration project, featuring one of the original launch vehicles from the 1940s!

For years the whereabouts of this particular launch car was a mystery. Last on the road in the 1960s, it went on to spend 20 years in a Welsh field, before being brought with every intention of a restoration that never happened. Having spent a fair amount of time sitting dilapidated in someone's garden, it turned up just a few miles outside of Solihull, where the Land Rover was first built – what a surprise to find it had made its way back home!

Image courtesy of Land Rover

The team at Jaguar Land Rover Classic will follow a dedicated process to restore the launch vehicle, which has lots of special features that are unique to the 48 pre-production Land Rovers that were made prior to the mass production run, which includes thicker aluminium body panels, a galvanised chassis and a removable rear tub. The patina of its components will be preserved, including the original Light Green paint applied in 1948.

Come summer time, this year's Classic & Supercars Show will have the Land Rover's 70th anniversary as the main focus of the event. Taking place on the 15th of July, this prestigious charity event will pay homage to this iconic piece of British history.

"Land Rovers, for me, signify the best of British and I'm looking forward to seeing the range from 1948 Series I to the very latest Range Rovers all on display," says Classic & Supercars Show Chairman, Nigel Young.

Needless to say, there will be plenty to keep Land Rover fans entertained over the course of 2018! And I'm sure we will be posting much more about this iconic marque through the year, so keep an eye out on our blog, Facebook, Twitter and On The Grid newsletter!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Here yesteryear, gone tomorrow ...

Now, I'm a 90's kid, so it's nice to see a resurgence of things that I grew up with, such as Blind Date, Nokia reissues, and of course, the revival of the much loved Tamagotchi. It's a shame that the same cannot be said for the cars of this, which are heading the same way as the dinosaurs from that famous 1993 film... 

New research from Honest John Classics shows that the cars we grew up with, that our mums and dads drove us around in, are dying out. To give you an idea, 2613 Rover 400s were taken off the road in 2016 – that's just over a fifth of the total number left. At this rate of decreased use, they will all be gone in five years.

It's a similar story for the Vauxhall Cavalier and the Citroen Saxo. Once beloved of sales reps everywhere, just over 10% of 1990s Cavaliers have been scrapped. While the Saxo, which defined modified motoring for the Max Power generation saw 2505 destroyed – almost a quarter of the total left!

Not even the youngest cars from the 'dot-com' decade are safe. The Ford Focus changed car design forever when it was launched in 1998, but examples are vanishing at the rate of 25% a year – meaning, if they continue to disappear at the current rate, there will be no 1990s Mk1 Focuses left in just four years. It's a similar story for the Ford KA, with 29% of examples disappearing every 12 months.

"Many people think of a classic car as an MGB or and E-type Jag, but the reality is that there's a huge amount of interest in cars from the 1990s. I'm not talking about the supercars that adorned posters on bedroom walls, I'm thinking about the cars that we grew up with. The cars that our dads had – that took us to school, to the cinema, on holiday. These cars were part of our lives every single day – and now they're nearly all gone," said editor of Honest John Classics, Keith Moody.

"The startling survival rates of the cars that you used to see on every street and at every service station means that demand for them is starting to outstrip supply. And while we've seen a lot of 1990s nostalgia in the past few years, with everything from Britpop to Blind Date making a comeback, it's shocking that the cars from this decade in automotive history are on the brink of extinction."

But why are many of the cars our dads used to drive on the endangered species' list? There are several reasons, but one of the biggest is that 2009-10 scrapage scheme. Here, the Government encouraged people to trade-in cars more than ten years old for £2000 off a new car – a discount that you could've got by haggling. In total, 392,227 future classics were taken off the road because of the scrapage scheme.

When does a car become a classic?

While some turn their nose up at 1990s 'bangers', such as the Ford Mondeo and the Vauxhall Cavalier, by saying that they will never be proper classics, research from Honest John Classics shows this simply isn't the case.

Honest John researchers looked at the most recent MoT data to find out when a car made the transformation from cheap runabout to cherished family member. Analysing the data, they were able to see when the rate of cars failing their annual roadworthiness test stopped declining and started to rise again. 

"This is the point at which a car crosses over from a banger that gets run into the ground to something that is appreciated and that the owner wants to invest both time and money in. This is the decisive moment – this is the point where values stop falling and prices start rising," says Keith Moody. 

Currently, cars from the year 2000 have the worst MoT pass rate with just over half failing. After this point, the figure improves for older cars as they find their way into he hands of enthusiastic owners. In fact, cars from 1993 have a better pass rate than cars from 2005, with 56.5% passing the annual roadworthiness test compared to 55.3%. A fact that underlines 1990s cars as emerging classics.

"Petrolheads in their 30s and 40s grew up with these 1990s cars. They learnt to drive in them. They went on family holidays in them. They are the next-generation of classic cars – and they're being bought by enthusiasts who want to be reminded of their connection to times, people, and places who might no longer be with them," adds Keith Moody.

The best selling cars from 25 years ago

A quarter of a century ago, the Mk5 Ford Escort was Britain's best-selling car. It sold 122,002 units that year – but now there are just about 460 of those left on the road. That's a survival rate of 0.37%. It's a similar story with the Mk3 Fiesta, which was second in the best-sellers list with 110,449 finding new homes in 1993. Now just 435 of those are still on the road – a survival rate of 0.39%. In fact, non of the best selling cars from 1993 have a survival rate of more than 1% – that means 99% have been crushed.

Maybe it's time to do your bit for the classic car scene of the future, and start nurturing these soon-to-be-forgotten models! And if any of you want to try your hand at writing an Essential Buyer's Guide to one of these future classics, then get in touch, as we'd love to do our bit to help preserve classic cars! – Siân

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Here's to 2018!

First of all, a very Happy New Year to all of our readers! It's hard to believe that it is already 2018, but there is plenty to look forward to in the motoring world this year – not to mention a fair few milestone anniversaries to celebrate. 

First, let's take a look at some iconic events that will be celebrating big birthdays this year. Goodwood's annual Festival of Speed will be marking its 25th anniversary this July. Over the weekend of the 12th to the 15th, along with the usual incredible displays, the Duke of Richmond (formerly Lord March) will choose his top 25 moments from the event's history.

Next month sees 70 years since the meetings that led to the official formation of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). To celebrate this, Darlington Raceway, in South Carolina, will be celebrating 'Seven Decades of NASCAR' for its 2018 season, with a specific nod to the landmark birthday with the Official Throwback weekend of NASCAR, which will be held from the 31st of August to the 2nd of September. 

This summer's Silverstone Classics show will see a number of birthdays in its midst. The Jaguar XJ and the Jaguar XK120 will be celebrating their 50th and 70th anniversaries respectively, whilst the Austin Healey Sprite will be turning 60. Also, marking their diamond jubilee, will be the MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), with many events taking place over the weekend of the 20th to the 22nd of July. The celebrations for BTCC's 60th birthday kicks off this weekend at Autosport International, with a stand enabling fans to get up close to the drivers and a selection of the latest machinery, as well as a number of historic cars from the championship's distinguished past.  

Car Celebrations

Hot Wheels and Chevrolet – 50 years

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the brands' collaboration, and to commemorate the occasion, Chevrolet is releasing a special edition Hot Wheels Edition Camaro. Since the debut of the custom Camaro back in 1968, every generation, and nigh-on every variation, of this model has been replicated in 1:64 scale by Hot Wheels – one variation is even included in our book Diecast Toy Cars of the 1950s and 1960s. This car looks to be ideal for automobile fans, and avid toy collectors!

Photo from

The first Lamborghini – 55 years

Marking its first appearance at the Turin Motor Show in October 1963, this year sees the 55th anniversary of the original Lamborghini, the 350GTV. Since then, countless models of the Lamborghini have rolled off the production line, such as the fabulous Urraco and the Murciélago.

Lotus Joins F1 – 60 years

In the Monaco Grand Prix of 1958, Team Lotus made its Formula 1 debut, entering two Type 12s, driven by Cliff Allison and Graham Hill. After placing 6th and 26th respectively, the team took their notes from the race and redesigned the cars based on the success of rival competitors. Two years later, the team entered a Type 18 Lotus, driven by Stirling Moss. Not only is it 60 years since Team Lotus first entered, but it is 55 years since they won their first World Drivers' Championship. Fancy widening your scope of F1 knowledge? Brian Harvey's book Formula One – The Real Score? is just the tome to help you see the sport in a new light. 

Corvette – 65 years

Designed by Harley Earl, this American car was the first all-fibreglass-bodied sports car built in the United States. There have been many changes to the Corvette over the past 65 years, and they are still as popular today as ever. If you're considering purchasing a classic Corvette for yourself, make sure you have to hand a copy of Tom Falconer's Corvette C2 Sting Ray 1963-1967 Essential Buyer's Guide – a model which is, coincidentally, turning 55 this year!

Morris Minor – 70 years

As mentioned back in November, Veloce will be marking the 70th anniversary of the iconic Morris Minor with a new book by Ray Newell, Morris Minor – 70 years on the road, which looks in detail at
the development of the wide range of models during a production run that spanned 22 years in the UK. If you're looking to join those who have a Minor in time to celebrate its platinum anniversary, grab a copy of Morris Minor & 1000 Essential Buyer's Guide, also by Ray Newell, to help you find the perfect example!

Porsche 356 – 70 years

Porsche's first production vehicle will also be turning 70 this year, and Brian Long's The Book of the Porsche 356 will tell you all you need to know about the coupé that helped launch the marque. 

24 Hours Le Mans – 95 years

May marks 95 years since the first 24 hours of Le Mans. Known as the ultimate endurance race, this event is a true test of man and machine, and has been held every year since 1932, except for the war years. 

Ford Model T – 110 years

110 years ago saw a revolutionary event in the motoring world, with the release of the Ford Model T. Generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, and one that helped to get a large number of people on the road, it's not really surprising that it was name the Car of the Century back in 1999. Veloce publishes Ford Model T – The Essential Buyers Guide for those who want to take the plunge today. 

Ford Motor Company – 115 years

Not only will Ford be celebrating the anniversary of the Model T, the company as a whole will also celebrate it's 115th birthday.
On June 16th, 1903, Henry Ford and 12 stockholders met in Detroit, Michigan to sign and notarise the legal documents, which would help to create the Ford Motor Company. We have many great books relating to all things Ford, but a stand out one is Ford Design in the UK, which details the design work undertaken in the UK, with a focus on the Dunton studio in particular. 

For more great facts from motoring days past, make sure you check out This Day in Automotive History. Author Brian Corey has found a fact or two for each day of the year, which will be fascinating for trivia buffs and general motoring fans alike. 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The Oliver Winterbottom Diaries – October and November

It's that time of the year when we all start winding down in time for Christmas. But not Oliver Winterbottom! After a slower end to the summer, things picked up and he has been incredibly busy. Today we have a bumper post, to get you up to speed. You can catch up on May, June, July, August and September's entries here. 

3 October – Siân at Veloce sends three book reviews from September. Quite a detailed and pretty good one from Big End. Graham Robson also wrote one, as did New Zealand Classic Car. Getting fairly widespread coverage now.

6 October – Visit Alexander Boswell, son of Ian, who encouraged me to design cars when I was young. He and his sisters were family friends. I gladly sign his copy of my book.

9 October – Give talk at East Anglia Lotus Club at Tivetshall Old Ram. Capacity crowd and signed a number of books. Message from the Club Chairman: "Thank you very much for your talk and presentation last night. All comments were very favourable, a few members were disappointed that your book was not available to purchase last night, and perhaps you could recommend the most suitable source please." Note: Need to think about the book supply before future events, but don't want to become a 'bookseller.'

10 October – Book air mailed to China reaches its destination.
Discussing presenting a copy to the library of my old school Denstone College.
Create a book 'flyer' with quotes from reviews to help promote the book prior to Christmas. A4 sheet which can be folded for carrying.

11 October – My latest book flyer put on display at the Barnham Broom Bell.

12 October – Lunch at the Larling Angel, they put my book flyer on display. 
Contact Angus Marshall at to discuss pre-Christmas promotional possibilities. 

16 October – Find Jarrolds, Norwich bookseller review dated 1st of August on the web.

17 October – Richard Bond, Hethersett Queens Head, would like a book signed as a special gift. Suggest evening of Tuesday the 24th.

21 October – Go to BRM Association Evening in Bourne. Take a number of book flyers and distribute among potential purchasers. I catch up with various acquaintances and receive some praise from my book readers – much appreciated. Dick Salmon (BRM – A Mechanics Tale), Colin Crabb and Frans van de Camp were fellow authors attending. 

24 October – Another five-star review on Amazon USA.

27 October – Book TVR 1946-1982 by Matthew Vale arrives. Matthew has sent it as a thanks for my co-opertaion with his writing. First impressions are that he has done a first-class job, and the book is a significant addition to TVR history.
Visited Omicron (Lancia specialist) to meet Roger Constable who is in the book. He was away, but Martyn Cliffe (ex-Lotus) proprietor has book, which I happily sign.
Visited the Larling Angel. Two books bought after my last visit – blimey, how about the gift of the gab! Another copy in the offing as well.

28 October – Classic Team Lotus now have my book available from their online shop. Many thanks Team.

31 October – Arrange to present a copy of my book to the library of my old school Denstone College on Friday 10 November. 

Oliver's book flyer

1 November – Receive email from Miss Wu, an ex-enigeering colleague at Wanxiang EV, Xiaoshan, China, giving her latest address.

2 November – Air mail a copy of the book to Miss Wu, who is now working at Geely Automobile Research Institute, Hangzhou Bay New District, Ningbo, P.R. China. I noted that it is ironic that Geely now hold 52% of Lotus, so the book may give her more background that most of Geely management!

4 November – Get a copy of Auto Express with a brief review. God words, but the last comment on wanting more high-quality shots is rather pushing one's luck. The book goes back to 1961, so the pictures are chosen from whatever is available. 
Postman delivers Lotus Letters, the magazine of the Lotus Club of Holland. I met Jan-Bart Broertjies when I visited Clive Chapman at Classic Team Lotus. He has devoted a whole page to the book with four photos. I guess the words are good, but I don't read Dutch! Thanks Jan-Bart. 

7 November – Richard Bond, Queens Head Hethersett, wants a book signed as a gift, but will not get it before we both go away. Shame, it's for a famous person! See November 21 for a change of plan!

10 November – I return to my old school Denstone College, near Uttoxeter, to present a copy of my book to their library. My return was 56 years after I left, and 98 years since my father arrived there. 
Mrs Teather had arranged for me to present the book to the librarian Dr Ireland. I signed a brief message inside the front of the book: "Presented to Denstone College, Threlfall Library, by the author in recognition of the start in life that the college gave him. It is hoped this book will encourage young people to consider careers in the creative world. Oliver Winterbottom. Selwyn House, Denstone College, September 1958 - July 1961."
The Threlfall Library covers a large area that, in my day, included my house Common Room. It was therefore fitting that the shelf assigned to A life in car design was actually within the original room's space. 
Following this, I was invited to attend the school Remembrance Chapel Service. This was supported by the pupils, many parents, staff, and a few old boys, completely filling the large school chapel. The whole service was dignified and very moving. I was privileged to attend. 

11 November – I visit the Lancaster Classic Car Show at the NEC Birmingham. I am a guest of Angus Marshall, principal of the Lotus Elite/Eclat/Excel Owners Clubs ( We meet at the entrance and are joined by Barrie Wills, a contemporary ex-Jaguar apprentice and the last CEO of DeLorean. I was delighted to see so many familiar faces who are so loyal to these cars. The exhibition stand had a full complement of vehicles from the 1970's front engine range. 
Once in the exhibition, I had a superb day meeting lots of people. Starting with the famous, I was delighted to find Martin Lilley, one time owner of TVR Sports Car Ltd, on their club stand. He was with John Bailie – who I had not seen for quite a few years – the famous Bailie who designed the TVR logo! I also saw the redoubtable Andy who provided a Tasmin for the Classic Car shoot in Norfolk last year. On the way to their stand, I called at a Jaguar stand and had a chat with Roger Kemp, who does great works for the clubs associated with the Coventry company.

14 November – Meet John Morgan, ex-Lotus, in the Queens Head. Agree to sign book on a Tuesday, as that is the day I usually visit.

15 November – Send video and flyer to James at Octane Magazine.
Lizzie, the lady who edited and corrected my book, tells me she is leaving Veloce at the end of November. It will be a huge loss for Veloce and myself, as she was a joy to work with. Good Luck Lizzie!

16 November – Angus Marshall, of, sends me a Via Retro Classic Car Show report: "This weekend saw the UK's biggest indoor classic car exhibition, the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show 2017, held at the NEC in Birmingham. With five big halls and a smidgen above 70,000 visitors during the three days, 257 car clubs took part and 650 trade stand."

Contact "Andy" at TVR Car Club to remark that my book is not listed on the Club web shop!

17 November – James, of Octane Magazine, replied to my message with thanks.
Supply a copy of my book to Brian Stammers, the senior family member at the Larling Angel. 

18 November – Book air mailed to Miss Wu at Geely Automobile Research Institute in China arrives, having taken 15 days. Miss Wu and her husband worked for me at Wanxiang EV in Xiaoshan, China, in 2006-7.

20 November – Denstone College request copies of the library presentation photographs for an article they are preparing. 

21 November – Richard Bond, Hethersett Queens Head, asks me to sign a copy of the book which he is giving as a gift to a VIP classic car collector. We thought we may have missed the opportunity, but his plans were delayed. 

25 November – Visited Kettereingham Hall Piano Tea Room with my daughter Anne. She was born in the Garden Cottage, and I worked in the Hall for Colin Chapman. I left a document explaining my connection, and a copy of my book flyer. After lunch, we visited Garden Cottage and I delivered a flyer to Roger Pestle, who has lived there for 30 years. He does still work for Classic Team Lotus and Lotus Cars. He worked for my projects when at the Hall.

28 November – Lunch with Mike Kimberly and Matthew Vale at Eaton Red Lion. Matthew is writing a book on the Lotus Europe Twin Cam, so we were helping his research. I understand the book will be published by Veloce! Later, I sign Matthew's copy of my book with thanks. 

30 November – Pack the next completed notes and slides for my talk on the book to Club Lotus Avon next Tuesday, 5 December. 

What a great way to round off a very exciting year! You can buy your copy of A life in car design here. 

Friday, 8 December 2017

Return of the Romeo!

The prestigious Italian brand, owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), just last week signed a multi-year technical and commercial partnership agreement with Swiss Sauber F1 Team for participation in the Formula 1 world championship beginning with the 2018 season.

The single-seaters will sport the distinctive colours and logo of Alfa Romeo, the team's Title Sponsor, and will be equipped with 2018 Ferrari power units.

The scope of the agreement includes strategic, commercial and technological cooperation in all applicable areas of development, including access to engineering know-how and the expertise of Alfa Romeo technical staff. This partnership will provide additional opportunities for the two organisations, in both Formula 1 and the automotive sector in general . 

The official name will be Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.

Sergio Marchiane, CEO of FCA, said: "This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula 1 after an absence of more than 30 years. A storied marque that has helped make the history of this sport, Alfa Romeo will join other major automakers that participate in Formula 1. The brand itself will also benefit from the sharing of technology and strategic know-how with a partner of the Sauber F1 Team's undisputed experience. The Alfa Romeo engineers and technicians, who have already demonstrated their capabilities with the newly-launched models, Giulia and Stelio, will have the opportunity to make that experience available to the Sauber F1 Team. At the same time, Alfa Romeo fans will once again have the opportunity to support an automaker that is determined to begin writing an exciting new chapter in its unique, legendary sporting history."

Pascal Picci, Chairman of Sauber Holding AG, commented: "We are very pleased to welcome Alfa Romeo to the Sauber F1 Team. Alfa Romeo has a long history of success in Grand Prix racing, and we are very proud that this internationally renowned company has chosen to work with us for its return to the pinnacle of motorsport. Working closely with a car manufacturer is a great opportunity for the Sauber Group to further develop its technology and engineering projects. We are confident that together we can bring the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team great success, and look forward to a long and successful partnership."

The return of Alfa Romeo, one of the major protagonists in Formula 1 history, is expected to contribute significantly to the appeal and future development of the sport. Alfa Romeo brings with it technological know-how and a large and passionate fan base, while participation in the championship also offers benefits for the brand in areas such as technology transfer and road safety. 

Alfa Romeo is known around the world for its racing heritage and technological excellence. The undisputed champion of the pre-war Grand Prix (in 1925, the GP Tipo 2 dominated the first World Championship), Alfa Romeo participated in Formula 1 from 1950 to 1988, both as a constructor and engine supplier. Immediately upon its debut, Alfa Romeo won the first two drivers' world championships, in 1950 and 1951, with drivers Nino Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio. From 1961 to 1979, Alfa Romeo participated as engine supplier to several F1 teams. Following its return as a constructor in 1979, Alfa Romeo achieved its best result in 1983, taking sixth place in the constructors' championship. More than 30 years after withdrawing as a competitor from Formula 1 (1985), the brand is returning with the clear intention to make its mark.

If you're a fan of Formula 1, and fancy reading more about the times when Alfa Romeo originally competed in races, then why not take a look at Brian Harvey's book Formula One – The Real Score?, a rewriting of the records of Formula One and its best drivers to include every race of equivalent standard to the official World Championship rounds. And for the Alfa Aficionado, we have Johnny Tipler's recently reprinted Alfa Romeo Giulia GT & GTA, now in paperback!