Monthly Archives: October 2015

Help Restore a Vintage Swansea Tram …

Recently the Amman Valley Railway Society rescued a vintage Swansea tram from the Brecon Beacons National Park, and our aim is to restore this 135-year-old historic gem to its former glory for the benefit of generations to come.

However, we’re a small charity with insufficient resources to finance the restoration ourselves.

Consequently we’re launching a crowd funding website with Indiegogo to help raise the money we need.

The site will go live this coming Thursday October 8th, and I’m appealing to you for your support on that day. According to Indiegogo, the more we can raise on day one, the more likely we are to meet our target of £28,000.

And every donation will help, no matter how small.

find out more about our charity at, and more about our appeal at

The money we raise from this appeal will be spent on the tools and materials we need to carry out initial restoration work on the tram.

Please help us by spreading the word about our campaign via FaceBook, Twitter and and any other social media networks you use.

I’m looking forward to your support,

Mike Smith

The Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year Award 2015 …


Royal Automobile Club Announces Shortlist of Contenders for Motoring Book of the Year

The most spectacular sports cars – and two of Britain’s racing driver heroes – stand out among the subject matter for the Royal Automobile Club’s 2015 Motoring Book of the Year Award, which will be announced on Wednesday, 28 October.

Nominations for the Award have now all been received from the six independent judges, who review car-related books professionally for the most respected motoring publications in the country.

Major new works on the Porsche 917, the Jaguar Lightweight E-type 4WPD and Alfa Romeo’s Grand Prix cars are in contention amongst superb biographies of Sir Stirling Moss OBE, and the late Jim Clark – in what’s turned out to be a truly vintage year for new titles.

Five titles are currently vying for the Award following the judge’s submissions.

‘This is exactly the kind of debate and interest we wanted to encourage by establishing the Motoring Book of The Year Award in 2014,’ said chairman of the Royal Automobile Club’s Motoring Committee, Peter Read.

‘Our Club’s motoring heritage and its unique Library open to members and researchers, mean we are avid about car-related books, research and publishing. And publishers who target motoring enthusiasts seem to be thriving, because our judges nominated almost 40 new titles from the 2014/15 period’.

‘Our Clubhouse is the official home of the Guild of Motoring Writers and the venue for their own annual Awards. Our Motoring Book of the Year Award provides an additional accolade – one that we would hope any motoring author would be proud to receive.’

As in 2014, the judges are Mick Walsh, Editor-in-Chief of Classic & Sports Car magazine; Gordon Cruickshank, Deputy Editor of Motor Sport magazine; Keith Adams, Editor of Classic Car Weekly; Henry Willis, former Auto Express magazine writer; Henry Hope-Frost, Autosport magazine contributor; and Octane magazine reviewer and contributor Richard Heseltine.

Each has compiled a list of their 10 best books published between September 2014 and August 2015.

The five titles in contention for the Award include The Magnificent Monopostos: Alfa Romeo Grand Prix Cars 1923-51 by Simon Moore (Parkside Publications), My Racing Life by Stirling Moss with Simon Taylor (Evro), Porsche 917 – Autobiography of 917 023 by Ian Wagstaff (Porter Press), Jaguar Lightweight E-type 4WPD by Philip Porter (Porter Press) and Jim Clark – Racing Hero by Graham Gauld (McKlein).

The judges are full of praise for the quality of these works.

“Just one car, yet every driver is interviewed to augment immense detail on the car and its time, technical data, drawings and a studio shoot …Impressive in every respect,” said Gordon Cruickshank of the Porsche 917 book.

Gordon Cruickshank was also enthused by the Jim Clark Racing Hero book commenting “it’s a story we know, but with the added insight that the author was a friend of Clark and took many of the photos inside, all presented in a quality volume”.

Speaking of both the Jaguar Lightweight E-type 4WPD book and its sister title in the series Porsche 917, Judge Henry Willis said “An autobiography of a car is an odd concept, but both books pulled it off”.

Meanwhile, Mick Walsh expressed his admiration for Magnificent Monopostos: “Fanatical research and stunning selection of historic photographs all beautifully presented.”

The Award will remain a closely guarded secret until the evening of 28 October, when the presentation will take place in the Mountbatten Room at the Royal Automobile Club’s Pall Mall Clubhouse.

The handover will come as the climax to an evening which celebrates motoring books in all their forms. This year’s features will include a panel debate on motoring memoirs scheduled to include contributions from Perry McCarthy, Tony Dron and Martin Gurdon, and an interactive demonstration of the iBook, as the founder of Monza Books talks about its first two titles on the Ferrari 250 GTO and Porsche 917 by Doug Nye and Ray Hutton respectively.

The Royal Automobile Club:

The Royal Automobile Club was founded in 1897 and its distinguished history mirrors that of motoring itself. In 1907, the Club was awarded its Royal title by King Edward VII, sealing the Club’s status as Britain’s oldest and most influential motoring organisation.

The Club’s early years were focused on promoting the motor car and its place in society, which developed into motoring events such as the 1000 Mile Trial, first held in 1900. In 1905, the Club held the first Tourist Trophy, which remains the oldest continuously competed for motor sports event. The Club promoted the first pre-war and post-war Grands Prix at Brooklands in 1926 and Silverstone in 1948 respectively, whilst continuing to campaign for the rights of the motorist, including introducing the first driving licences.

Today, the Club continues to develop and support automobilism through representation on the Motor Sport Association (MSA), Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and RAC Foundation, while continuing to promote its own motoring events, such as the free-to-attend Regent Street Motor Show and the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which are two of the highlights of the Club’s London Motor Week, which this year runs from Monday 26 October to Sunday 1 November 2015.

The Royal Automobile Club also awards a series of historic trophies and medals celebrating motoring achievements. These include the Segrave Trophy, the Tourist Trophy, the Simms Medal, the Dewar Trophy and the Torrens Trophy.