BRM based timepieces launched.

The National Motor Museum Trust is offering enthusiasts a unique opportunity to support the ongoing restoration of its legendary chassis number one 1950 BRM V16 racing car, with the chance to own one of 14 limited edition timepieces constructed from its original pistons.

The historic pistons and their connecting rods originate from the BRM’s supercharged V16 engine, which made it famous during its heyday driven by motorsport aces Juan Manuel Fangio and Reg Parnell as one of the most advanced racing cars of its time.

However, the 68-year-old pistons had to be replaced during a complete restoration of the engine which was found to be necessary by the National Motor Museum Trust, a charitable organisation which has overseen a project raising funds to preserve the car for future generations.

To create the timepieces, a specially commissioned Christopher Ward Swiss-made clock will be mounted to the ‘big end’ where the connecting rod was once secured to the crankshaft, with the typeface and colours of its clock face and hands faithfully replicating those of the BRM’s oil pressure gauge. Marking the incredible engineering that made the car legendary, the piston will be set on a brass and polished hardwood base and fitted to its connecting rod by a specially-made brass gudgeon pin to create the unique keepsake. Each connecting rod is numbered from its original manufacture, highlighting its uniqueness.

The funds from the sale of the clocks will be dedicated to the preservation of the BRM. The limited edition timepieces offer an unmissable opportunity for discerning collectors and motorsport enthusiasts to own part of motor racing history.

The piston clock collection will be launched at the first start-up of the BRM since its engine rebuild in a celebration at Beaulieu’s Spring Autojumble on Saturday May 19th at 3pm. It will be the first time that the public have been able to hear the roar of the BRM’s engine since its last appearance four years ago. At the event, collectors will be able to pre-order their timepieces which are being hand-crafted by TMB Art Metal and BRM specialists Hall & Hall of Bourne in Lincolnshire.

To order one of the six initially released limited edition BRM timepieces on sale at £6,000 (incl VAT), or for more information, contact

Paul Owen, grandson of Sir Alfred Owen whose “Owen Organisation” owned and operated the British Racing Motors team from 1952-74, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the rebuild of this iconic racing car though our family trust and other activities, and the creation of these wonderfully unique timepieces is a fitting way to both recognise and preserve the integrity and ambition of a British engineering project that was way ahead of its time and laid the foundations for the successful British Motorsport sector that we have today.”

TMB Art Metal founder Christopher Bennett said: “We at TMB Art Metal are very proud to be working with the National Motor Museum Trust to create these exclusive BRM V16 desk clocks, utilising redundant original components from an incredibly important vehicle in British motor racing history. Meticulously made by hand, their design very effectively combines form with function, and these extremely exclusive items are certain to be highly sought after with motor racing enthusiasts from across the globe.”

National Motor Museum Trust Chief Executive Russell Bowman said: “It is highly appropriate that the history of our remarkable BRM V16 should be celebrated with the creation of such exquisite collectors’ items. Continuing to preserve and restore this historically important racing car is vital and the sale of the time pieces will help to fund this.”

Made possible by generous donations to the BRM Preservation Appeal, the essential rebuild of the BRM’s engine was boosted when the National Motor Museum Trust became the 2014 Goodwood Revival Beneficiary Charity. Specialist Hall & Hall was the only choice to tackle the complicated and fastidious restoration of the engine.

The car’s complex 1.5-litre engine has in the region of 2,300 moving parts and following its restoration has been tested at 8,400 rpm when it produced 485bhp. In the car’s heyday, it was capable of producing 606bhp at a staggering 12,000rpm, with even greater power outputs predicted. Now those same original components form the basis of the timepieces, with the unique distinction of having powered the BRM to fifth place in the 1951 British Grand Prix.

The BRM V16 was a ground-breaking racing car design with its immensely powerful supercharged 1.5-litre V16 engine amongst its cutting-edge features, while it was also the first car to use disc brakes in circuit racing. Only five examples of this pioneering British design were built, but its impressive pace and legendary roar made it a spectator favourite. The British Racing Motors company was founded by Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon, creators of the pre-war ERA car. Although the V16 was not a success on the track, it paved the way for other racing designs, with British Racing Motors gaining 17 Grand Prix victories from 1959 – 1972.

The BRM is a favourite exhibit with Beaulieu visitors and is on display as part of a collection of more than 250 vehicles on show at the National Motor Museum.

Further information from:

Jane Riddiford

Public Relations Manager

Tel: 01590 614603


Ben Wanklyn

PR Executive

Tel: 01590 614641


Christopher Macgowan


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Loughborough Uni develops technology to reduce real-world diesel emissions.




New technology that could dramatically reduce real-world emissions of diesel engines could be just two years away. Researchers at Loughborough University have created a world-first technology, and they claim to have had interest from a number of manufacturers who want to fit it to their diesel cars.

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions are higher from diesel engines than from petrol engines, and have required vehicle manufacturers to introduce exhaust after-treatment systems to clean up the level of pollutants from diesel to comply with European legislation.

While all new vehicles sold comply with the latest emissions requirements in the official tests, they have been criticised for producing much higher amounts of NOx in real-world driving that exceed EU limits.

They came under greater scrutiny in 2015 after it was revealed Volkswagen had included a so-called ‘defeat device’ on its diesel cars in the US to produce lower NOx emissions for official tests than were achievable in real-world driving. The problem of NOx on local air pollution has prompted London to introduce a supplementary fee for older vehicles in the congestion charge zone, while other cities and urban areas have been considering their own strategies to improve air quality (see page 36).

Now, almost all new diesel vehicles are fitted with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to try to remove NOx produced by combustion. This system uses AdBlue, or diesel exhaust fluid, to safely provide the ammonia required to reduce NOx to harmless nitrogen and water.

One problem with AdBlue is it functions best at high exhaust temperatures, typically in excess of 250ºC. Therefore, the SCR does not necessarily operate at all engine conditions, for example, during short, stop-start commutes in urban areas or on construction sites.

And the use of AdBlue at these problematic lower temperatures can result in severe exhaust blockages and subsequent engine damage, which means it’s often deployed in lower quantities and NOx emissions are increased.

Ammonia creation and conversion technology (ACCT) has been created by academics from Loughborough University’s School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering. It effectively increases the capacity of existing after-treatment systems.

ACCT is an AdBlue conversion technology that uses waste energy to modify AdBlue to work effectively at these lower exhaust temperatures.

By greatly extending the temperature range at which SCR systems can operate, the new technology significantly enhances existing NOx reduction systems. It is the only technology of its kind, according to Loughborough University.

Loughborough professor Graham Hargrave, an internationally acclaimed expert on the optimisation of combustion engines, developed the technology with research associate Jonathan Wilson.

“We are all familiar with the ‘cold start’, where diesel vehicles spew out plumes of toxic emissions before their catalytic systems are up to temperature and able to work effectively,” said Hargrave. “Unfortunately, with many vehicles doing short, stop-start journeys, such as buses and construction vehicles, many engines never reach the optimal temperature required for the SCR systems to operate efficiently. The result is excessive NOx being released into the urban environment, especially in large cities.

“Our system enables the SCR systems to work at much lower temperatures – as low as 60ºC. This means the NOx reduction system remains active through the whole driving cycle, leading to significant reductions in tailpipe emissions.”

Initially meant for HGVs, Wilson said the technology is applicable to any diesel engine, and a number of car manufacturers have been in touch to investigate adopting ACCT.

On cold and wet days, many cars’ current SCR systems are also challenged by surface water preventing them reaching optimum temperature, meaning that NOx emissions could be higher than the prescribed limits.

Wilson said: “We would prefer to see ACCT given widespread use rather than being exclusive to one vehicle manufacturer. The cost of the system would be relatively inexpensive.”

He added that it could also make diesel-hybrid powertrains more feasible, with those facing a particular challenge from reduced opportunity to reach high temperatures in urban driving, as the electric motor is programmed to run alone for short distances.

The development from Loughborough University comes as Bosch claims it has achieved a “breakthrough” in diesel technology by dramtically cutting NOx emissions.

Author:  Simon Harris

Christopher Macgowan


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This is where it all began.

I’m having a reflective moment having spotted this sign at the National Motor Museum this afternoon

On leaving school I joined Aveling Barford in Grantham which subsequently became part of the British Leyland Motor Corporation and Leyland Motors featured large in my life. The Leyland factory has for many years been owned by Paccar and goes from strength to strength.

Very strong memories.

Christopher Macgowan


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Fleet News Awards 2018

Excellent evening last night at the Grosvenor House on Park Lane, London with 1400 fleet industry professionals and hosted by BBC News lead presenter Huw Edwards.

Christopher Macgowan


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Rolls-Royces come to Beaulieu.

Two of the most exclusive Rolls-Royces of modern times have joined new display The Luxury of Motoring at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu with a Wraith built in tribute to Beatles record producer Sir George Martin and a brand new Dawn Black Badge.

The 2017 Rolls-Royce Wraith is a one-off tribute to the legendary Sir George Martin, known as ‘the fifth Beatle’. Commissioned by Sir George’s son, songwriter and producer Giles Martin, the beautifully hand-crafted Wraith is packed with details that pay homage to this giant of the music world.

The titles of Sir George’s 30 number-one hit singles are embroidered into the upholstery between the rear seats, with his signature stitched on each head-rest. Other details include Sir George’s name engraved into the base of the Spirit of Ectsasy mascot. Joining the display courtesy of Rodger Dudding classic vehicle collection at Studio 434, this unique Rolls-Royce is one of nine Wraiths ‘Inspired by British Music’, built to celebrate some of Britain’s most remarkable musical artists, including The Who frontman Roger Daltrey CBE, Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks, Dame Shirley Bassey and Status Quo.

Fresh from the Rolls-Royce factory is the 2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge. The bespoke and contemporary Black Badge range has attracted a new generation to the Rolls-Royce marque. Already a huge hit with Beaulieu visitors, the glamorous open-top on display has a deeply intense and hand-polished black paintwork, with threads of aircraft grade aluminium woven and bonded in carbon fibre, a high-gloss vamp Spirit of Ecstasy with black chrome finish and bold mandarin orange interior highlights.

Though what really makes the car special is beneath its skin. Tighter and more responsive thanks to revisions to its steering, suspension and eight-speed gearbox, the Dawn Black Badge’s 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine is even more powerful than that of the original Dawn, producing 593bhp. An entirely new exhaust system announces the car’s arrival with a menacing bass baritone.

Beaulieu has an unparalleled collection of Rolls-Royces by virtue of the Montagu family connection with its founders. Motoring pioneer John, 2nd Baron Montagu opened the first Rolls-Royce factory and his personal secretary and secret mistress Eleanor Thornton was a muse for Charles Sykes, who designed the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy mascot.

A third car has also joined The Luxury of Motoring display. Just back from Retromobile in Paris is the 1913 Argyll 15/30hp. Although over a century older than the Rolls-Royces, it was just as cutting-edge in its heyday. An exceptionally well-engineered machine, the Scottish-built Argyll was notable for sophisticated features such as brakes on all four wheels and its 4084cc sleeve-valve engine. Inside, its sumptuous interior ensured that rear seat passengers rode in comfort as they were chauffeured to their destination.

This privately-owned car was originally a wedding gift from a husband to his wife and has remained in the same family ever since. Many decades later, it became one of the first historic vehicles to be restored in the National Motor Museum’s restoration workshop.

The Luxury of Motoring not only showcases a selection of the most luxurious cars ever built but tells the story of their design, the people who owned them and the chauffeurs who drove them. Spanning the golden age of luxury motoring to today’s aspirational cars, perceptions of taste and class are themes that are explored through a range of fascinating objects, films and rarely seen images from the National Motor Museum Trust’s archives.

At the glittering heart of the display is a centrepiece of 28 Lalique glass car mascots on show together for the first time. The owner of the private collection chose the National Motor Museum as the home of motoring and therefore the perfect setting to showcase his treasures. From the light radiating, delicate veined wings of a dragonfly to the heartiest falcon mascot with its thick, tapered neck which fits tightly into the mount, the collection includes majestic animals and human forms that bring art into everyday life. The collection is on loan courtesy of Dawson’s Auctioneers & Valuers at Maidenhead.

To celebrate the new gallery, why not enter a competition to say What makes your car luxury? Whether it’s fluffy dice and cushions or a must-have Mercedes, share pictures of what makes your car special. To enter, share your pictures and suggestions on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum, Instagram @national_motor_museum or on email to See for more details. The winner will be invited for a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of Beaulieu with exclusive access to areas of the National Motor Museum not usually open to visitors.

The Luxury of Motoring display can be seen as part of a visit to Beaulieu. A ticket to Beaulieu includes entry to the National Motor Museum with its collection of more than 250 vehicles from throughout motoring history, the new-look World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the ancestral Montagu family home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens. Tickets can be bought in advance online. For tickets or more information see or call 01590 612345.

Christopher Macgowan


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UK car finance continues to defy gravity.

Household expenditure on vehicle ownership defied the negative narrative surrounding PCP car finance products with an increase of 47.7% in spending on “hire loan purchase agreements” during 2017.

As the Office of National Statistics reported that total average weekly household spending rose to £554.20 in 2017 – its highest level since 2006 – during the year, it also revealed that the largest increases in spending had been seen in the purchase of new and used vehicles.

In its Family Spending report, the ONS revealed that expenditure on the purchase of new vehicles increased by £1.80 when compared with the previous year, whilst spending on the purchase of second-hand vehicles increased by £3.10, in figures not adjusted for inflation.

The percentage of households that own a car or van has increased by 3ppts over the last three years to reach 79% in 2017, it said, adding that this had been driven by an increase in spending on cars bought outright and cars bought on a hire loan purchase scheme, commonly referred to as PCPs.

It noted that PCPs had resulted in higher spending in the used car sector, in particular, with expenditure on hire loan purchase agreements for second-hand cars increasing from an average of £4.40 per week to £6.50 when compared with the previous year (figures not adjusted for inflation).

Motor finance expert Graham Hill noted that the increased spending on car finance products in 2017 had come “despite the mixed messaging around PCPs”. “It’s certainly encouraging that the negative narrative didn’t drive away punters altogether but next year’s report will be more revealing about how closely the fate of PCPs are tied to the recent downturn in the car market,” he said. “Having said that, consumers still need to be mindful about what they are getting into when buying new or used cars. “While PCPs themselves can be appropriate solutions for many car owners – as they reduce the monthly payments quite significantly – it’s the way they are being sold that saw PPI lawyers start to circle in 2016.”

Earlier this month Simon Hill, managing director of Leicester-based fleet management business Total Motion, warned that 2018 could see car retailers fall foul of FCA investigations into the mis-selling of finance products and PCPs in particular.

Despite Bank of England tests of the sector’s resilience which saw all major banks prove their ability to overcome an extreme slump in vehicles’ residual values, and assertions from the FCA that the sector was more resilient than first thought, the FCA is scrutinising the industry’s sales practices and procedures and will publish an update on its findings in the first quarter of 2018.

AM’s sister publication, Fleet News, reported how Hill believes that the investigation will result in leasing companies, dealers and brokers facing huge fines and even going out of business.

However, Andrew Smith, consumer credit director at FCA compliance consultancy Compliancy Services, told delegates at Automotive Management Live that the likelihood of a mis-selling scandal in motor finance was unlikely as a result of the investigation.

He said: “The FCA recently said that they don’t see the risk as being as high in motor finance as they originally perceived. That goes on to support what I presently believe, that the press really are clutching at straws to get a story. Largely the reports are inaccurate, the terminology is wrong and the figures just don’t stack up.”

SOURCE is am-online

Author:  Tom Sharpe

Christopher Macgowan


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French President Macron says UK needs to do more.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Calais today (16.01.18) and called on the UK to take in more migrants and spend more on border security.

Responding, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “I am baffled by President Macron’s comments. What does ‘more’ mean exactly?

“We already have it on very good authority that the heartbeat monitors at the French border are not working. So why should the UK be asked to provide more funding when the equipment currently in place is not even being used? The bottom line is that the French authorities do not want migrants in Northern France.”

Following the closure of the migrant ‘Jungle’ in October 2016, the UK funded a four-metre high, 1 km-long ‘anti-migrant’ wall – the Great Wall of Calais – which cost British taxpayers around £2 million.

“The wall hasn’t stopped migrants attacking UK-bound hauliers, in fact it hasn’t even scratched the surface of the problem,” Richard Burnett continued. “What is needed is a proper migrant processing system. At the moment, the refusal of asylum just increases their determination to reach the UK by whatever means possible and regardless of the safety of themselves or others.

“We’re concerned that this crisis is being used as a political football and we urge the two governments to work together to achieve some lasting solutions to this long running problem.

“The French authorities are not doing enough to get a grip of the problem and UK-bound hauliers continue to run the gauntlet of violence and intimidation from people-traffickers and migrants. Of course, we are happy to play our part in resolving the situation, but the authorities on both sides of the Channel must do everything within their power to prevent UK-bound hauliers having to face another year of cross-Channel migrant misery.”

Christopher Macgowan


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