Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Blast from the past... Albar Sonic



With the National Kit Car Show 2017 in Stoneleigh fast approaching and plans to film the first Episode of The Alternative Car Show from there I thought I'd post something from the golden age of kit cars.

Back in the 1970's the kit car industry mainly consisted of designs surviving from the 1960's, beach buggies, a few 1930 style roadsters and the lightweight Caterham Seven and its cheaper impersonators from the likes of Dutton with the B-Plus and Malaga, which merged to become the Phaeton. 

It was also an era when some pretty wild designs stood out like concept cars on the road. They may not have been as polished as the concepts from the Italian design houses, but stood out on the road even if their performance flattered to deceive with VW Beetles and Mini's providing the running gear for most of these weird and wonderful machines.

King of these exotics was the Nova designed by Richard Oaks which found it's way around the World in various guises and is till on sale in a much developed form as the Sterling in the USA, but that is a story for another day.

What set Alois Barmettler and his Albar company apart was that he didn't produce kits in the UK or USA but in Switzerland. This is a land of mystery so far as the car enthusiast is concerned and they have form when it comes to outrageous specialist designs with that other bastion of automotive madness Sbarro.

Albar started out as a VW specialist offering dune buggies and other performance off road kits and parts, but in 1978 he launched an attractive coupe design called the Jet, with styling cues giving a hint of Lamborghini Espada about it he had an entry into the exotic kit arena.



If the Jet wasn't exotic enough the company went all out concept crazy with their next product. Launched in 1982 the Sonic looked mid engined and was guaranteed to get the owner noticed. The front was a wedge with a flap in early examples in the middle flipped down to reveal a bank of headlamps while the rear

 featured light units from the Porsche 928. Exotic stuff! The VW running gear of early examples meant the wheels sat well within the wheel arches giving a strange top heavy aspect to the proportions. Yet no-one could deny 

that it was striking and it came to the UK via an importer alongside the Jet to an excited reception from the kit car press.

In time the spaceframe chassis became available with VW inline four cylinder engines or Renault 25 alternatives, but it never became the Countach rival the looks promised, although a fixed head coupe version became available as well to add year round practicality.

I have no idea, unfortunately, how many were produced or if any examples still survive. If there is at least one still out there the World is a better place for the addition of such a wonderfully wacky design bringing pleasure to anyone who claps eyes on it.

If anyone who reads this knows where there is one still on the road we;d love to hear from you in the comments below and we'll definitely come and film the car for The Alternative Car Show. In fact we want to hear from anyone with a unique car, be it a kit, custom or low volume car.

Meantime go onto Youtube and subscribe to our Enwin's Motors channel to see more cars that will surprise and delight you. Also check out www.patreon.com/Enwin where you can help be part of our adventure and get to see new features and programmes before anyone else as well as some extras as well.

There's more on Twitter @EnwinsMotors and Facebook and there will be lots of news including the most glamorous, gorgeous presenters joining us.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Enwin's Motors

First of all, apologies for neglecting my blog for way too long. There's a lot to catch up on.

Fist up I have created not one but two youtube channels, but work has begun on posting videos for the first, Enwin's Motors which focuses mainly on motoring and travel programmes.

The videos will be split into four main series. Enwin's Motors will focus on our cars. Updates on our motors and project cars.

We will also go on road trips and post videos on those, and a future blog will cover last years road trip to Sweden. There will be many more road trips to come for travel fans.

The other main new series will be The Alternative Car Show which will be as alternative as it sounds. Featuring specialist cars, low volume cars, kit cars, hot rods, and even the specialist cars from major manufacturers such as BMW's i3 and i8, Nissan's Leaf... well you get the picture. We'll also bring lifestyle features such as off-roading, green laning, track days... So all the fun stuff, basically. Also all the stuff the mainstream motoring programmes won't do.

Anyway, never mind me TELLING you about the programmes why not click on the link below.

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCYRT4HuKXl5eEtpyVq9IwpQ

In case you're wondering where the Alternative Car Show is we're filming the first episode at the Stoneleigh Kit Car Show on May 1st. We even have a super glamorous presenter coming and there's more... but we'll come back to that in a bit.

If you want to see the latest public episodes subscribe clicking the box below the videos saying... subscribe. Click on the like button too and leave a little comment and let us know what you think.

There is an even quicker way to see the videos first... but I'll come to that a little later...

Those wishing to keep up to date can like our new Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/EnwinsMotors where I'll also post the links to all the videos I post, as I will on the Twitter page @EnwinsMotors

We are going to fund all this using crowd funding. In order to invest in better cameras, presenters and to make more programmes we are relying on enough people to support us through www.patreon.com/Enwin and please click on the link and take a look.

There are three levels of support that people can offer, $1 a month, $3 a month or $10 a month. There are special rewards to thank our supporters. All patrons can see the videos a few weeks before they go public. $3 a month supporters get the above plus a few exclusive short features. $10 patrons get all that plus an occasional exclusive programme, which could be an extended version of The Alternative Car Show or a completely unique programme.

Every so often we will have an exclusive additional thank you. For example right now we have some Enwin's Motors pens for $3 patrons and Mugs plus pens for $10. First come first served while stocks last. Just leave a message on Facebook or Twitter to claim once you've made your pledge.

Plus we have an even more exclusive thank you for the first 5 patrons who say hi to me at Stoneleigh we'll have goody bags including a T-Shirt, pen and mug. First come first served, but you must complete your pledge before April 30th so I can take a list of patrons with me for verification.

Enjoy the programmes and please, please, please check out www.patreon.com/Enwin you really can make a massive difference and be part of something very special.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Long Time

I thought I ought to post something to prove I'm still alive.

Fear not dear friends, I have just been having computor problems, but I shall return with news and other wonders very shortly

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Book Update 2015

2015 promises to be a great year and an important one for me. Some of you may have noticed that my previous high output of books has tailed off a little bit of late. This isn’t anything to worry about. It is all part of the plan, and there are two very good reasons for the tail off.

I always intended to get a few different books out there to give new readers something else to come back to if they enjoy one of my books. It’s a little lighter on the comedy titles than intended, but these are the more complicated and difficult to write.

However, the plan was always to pause and concentrate for a while on marketing to get my books known. This isn’t just using social media, although you will have noticed more activity from me, but also by getting involved in book signings, for which I am also arranging merchandise, including these Eva T-Shirts.

So what about the books?

Religious Pursuits

My first title and dedicated to my little Emily, is Religious Pursuits. A comedy novel very much in the Tom Sharpe mould which tells the story of a village policeman who sees his world fall apart after an accident and the village change forever as incompetent detectives, the paparazzi and even the army descend upon them with hilarious results.

Wicked Perspectives (Red Edition and Black Edition)

This was my first erotic title, and the eagle eyed among you will notice that the two versions have different authors and slightly different prices. It IS the same book, but there are subtle differences inside. The black edition has links and samples from other erotic authors, as do all the I. T. Heurtze books. All my future self published erotic titles will be I.T Heurtze books by the way to differentiate my titles more.

Wicked Perspectives is a collection of erotic short stories based either on real events, or in the majority of cases story requests from girls about their fantasies. This book puts you in the role of the lead lady and you experience everything she does in delicious detail!

I am looking now at story ideas to start work on Volume Two, and if any of you are brave enough to tell me your fantasies you might find you influence the contents.

Ages of Sin

The clue is in the title, but again is an anthology of short stories focusing on the theme of age differences. Not just older guys with younger girls, but more imaginative and there is a cougar on the loose here too!

The Young Wife

This novella came about after a brief but very strange chat with a bloke on a chatroom when I couldn’t sleep and boredom had kicked in. What if the guy got what he was looking for? Well I make sure there are a few surprising twists along the way to keep you turning the pages.

Bollywood Nights

This is my first novella published by a publisher, and thanks to House of Erotica for having faith in me. Currently only available as an ebook, but if enough people say they want me to I shall get it released as a paperback in time for summer.

It is a completely made up story, but came after I promised my friend and real Bollywood Star Bhairavi Goswami a story set in India, and behind the scenes in Bollywood. Thus the book is dedicated to my gorgeous friend, and you should take time to check out her films and comedy sketches posted on her Youtube channel BhaGoTV.

Bollywood Nights tells the story of Prya a rising star in Bollywood and her adventures of a passionate nature after meeting a mysterious English man.

So that’s most of my books and you will find all the above except Bollywood Nights at my first book signing event of the year in March, The Orchard Book Club #PeterboroughAuthorEvent2015

You can find links to all my Neil Winnington books on my Twitter page @NeilWinnington or using the following link...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neil-Winnington/e/B00CMRJZ46/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1383043887&sr=1-2-ent

...and the I.T. Heurtze books on the following link...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00FILVC8U

Of course I will be taking some books, but if you want to ensure a copy of your favourite title let me know by pre-ordering using the link below…

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1QlhcXwLuWxM87mVT7LqzHlHvb3PQo-A47C9FlBPRE5U/viewform?usp=send_form

To round things off, there will be announcements to follow about other book signing events I shall be attending. All to be confirmed, but the other reason I alluded to earlier for the reduction in output is that I am helping a very special lady called Amanda China to write her own first novella called Bruna.


It is a very steamy erotic story and I don’t need to give any plot away to convince you just how sexy this tale of a lustful Brazilian girl who uses men as disposable pleasure toys will be. Amanda isn’t disappointing, and she just sent this pic of Ipanema Beach which features in chapter two to give you a flavour of the locations.

So 2015 will be a major year and I hope to meet as many of you as possible at book signings in the coming couple of years or so.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Living with a Quantum Saloon Part One

Back at the end of the last Millennium (come on... It wasn't THAT long ago!) I produced the Worlds first TV series dedicated to kit cars or custom cars, pre-dating The Cars the Star by a year, and we're STILL the only magazine show to drive and review them.

The kit car market has been squeezed from its diverse heights in the 1980's back to it's strongest sales areas of track day cars and replicas as the major manufacturers have entered more and more niches. So what has become of the practical alternatives the industry used to offer up?

Recently I decided to look at how some of the cars we covered have held up in second hand values, and was shocked when I visited the Quantum Owners Club website to find how cheap the Saloons have become.





Before I go on, you can see our report on the car in part two of this episode (and all the Kits 'n' Cruisin episodes can be found on the Men and Motors youtube channel) http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bq55oBbYyJg

To put this in perspective, Quantum were (and are) at the zenith of the high quality kits lifting the industry reputation and designed with real engineering flair. The saloon was a composite monocoque, essentially replacing the bodyshell of a Mk2 Ford Fiesta with a more stylish and stronger shell that wouldn't rust.

Most saloons benefitted from XR2 running gear, making them quicker than their donors, and a combination of lighter weight and subtle changes to the suspension geometry meant better handling too, while losing none of the practicality of the donor car... In fact the interior re-used the dashboard, seats and door panels from the Fiesta, so you were essentially sitting in a production car interior.




The saloon body added even more strength as well as a bigger boot, so if anything a Quantum is even more practical than the donor Fiesta.

It's aged well too! Look at the car in these photo's... Does it look 19 years old? Most people I have asked in a non scientific straw pole also thought it is worth £5000, £6000 or £7000 yet this engineer built example, with a factory fitted sunroof and interior was for sale on the Quantum Owners Club website for £1,200!



At the same time Robin Hoods, Dutton Pheatons and other two seaters, which don't match the Quantum for quality are selling for £3-5000 because people are looking to kits for track day use, and ignoring the more practical designs.

I was so shocked I told my Father, cursing my luck for not having the funds to buy the car before it probably gets sold, but he too thought it was ridiculously cheap and decided to buy it for himself.

It was always our intention to do running reports on the kits we were building as the series went on, but it wasn't to be, so this I suppose is my chance to put that right, and we really are putting our money where our mouths are... or at least the old fella is.... For now, I am an interested if slightly guilty bystander.

The club put us in touch with the owners son, who was very concerned about finding the right owner for the car. Once satisfied with my Kits 'n' Cruisin credentials, he put me in touch with his father and I in turn introduced my father and they arranged a test drive.

It was then that Alan, who built this excellent example explained that recently some younger car "enthusiasts" had started buying these rare kit cars to scrap them and use the mechanicles to restore Fiestas!!! I commented along the lines of they probably go into art galleries with Stanley knives too!

He also seemed relieved that we genuinely loved the car, and the deal was done, and today I went back to collect the car for the old man.

First impressions back up my memories of the car. These things are much stronger than most steel monocoque cars due to their composite construction (70% stiffer per KG than steel) and you can feel that rigidity on the road. It's hard to explain, but you just feel it.



The CVH engine, which was always a gruff little engine growls through a sports exhaust, and compared to a modern hatch with so much sound deadening material you can barely hear anything you do realise you're in a car from another era. The same applies to the gearbox and non assisted steering, but I prefer the latter anyway because this car really does communicate through the helm like no modern hatch does.

You can still hold a conversation inside, and if you wanted you could always fit sound deadening material yourself. I like the car as it is personally.

It feels completely stable in cross winds, and trucks fail to blow this featherweight off line too, so you really could enjoy a long run, although adults would feel a bit claustrophobic in the back.

I was under strict instructions from owners old and new to take it easy as the car had not been run much recently, so I really did take it easy, and stuck to motorways. I rarely ventured past 65 miles an hour except to overtake fueding artic's, and I noticed the car came together and settled down even more around 70-ish. As time goes on I could comment more, but all the signs are good for this rust free classic kit to last another 19+ years with us!



So every so often I will post an update on living with the Quantum, to show that there really is no reason why it wouldn't make a good alternative to a family wanting a strong, safe and distinctive car. I have also asked Alan, who built the car to write a guest blog on what it had been like living with it for the first 19 years.

Watch this space and you never know there may be more announcements to come... The number of looks the car got driving back... IF I put my Amazon author page on the side.... Hmmm I need to think carefully how I could sell that idea to the old fella haha!

Follow me
@NeilWinnington on Twitter

Thursday, November 27, 2014

News... Press release... Law Commission recommendation to criminalise parental unlawful retention

Unfortunately the British media failed to pick up on this extremely important piece of news, which comes too late to save Emily, but would have made a huge difference at the time...

Here's the press release from Reunite International. After you read it I shall explain how it might have helped bring Emily home, it may even have changed the perceptions during the court case where I failed to prevent Emily's mother from taking her from the UK...

Press Release

Reunite International Child Abduction Centre welcomes the Law Commission’s recommendation to criminalise parental child abduction by retention.

Over the last 18 months, reunite, our Legal Working Group and our All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Abduction, have been consulting with the government to make wrongful retention a criminal offence, prosecutable and punishable on the same basis as abduction by removal, and the Law Commission's recommendations are a huge step forward in bringing about a change to legislation.

reunite's statistics indicate that approximately 40 per cent of all abduction cases are in fact wrongful retentions; ie where a parent takes a child overseas with the other parent's consent (or in accordance with a court order) but subsequently refuses to allow the child to return home at the end of the agreed or authorised period.

Whilst abduction by removal is a criminal offence, abduction by retention is not and so a large number of left-behind parents have no recourse to the criminal process or the assistance of the police, and statutory authorities are not necessarily empowered to act as they can in abduction cases.

reunite believes the impact on children and left-behind parents in a retention case is no less, nor any less deserving of criminal process, than where there is a removal.  Parental child abduction, whether by removal or retention, is recognised as a form of child abuse and causes real harm to children who potentially suffer great emotional trauma by suddenly being ripped away from all they know and being denied contact with their left-behind parent and extended family.  As the law stands at present, children who are retained outside of the UK are not offered the level of protection afforded to children in other abusive situations.


So how would this have changed things in Emily's case...?

Emily's mother strung the court along for months after the deadline of December 2008 for Emily's return to the UK with letters claiming either she or Emily were too ill to travel, and kept me from going to Russia to collect Emily and bring her home by saying "I can't guarantee Emily will be here when you come..." and "I won't sign a letter giving you permission to take Emily out of Russia..." and "I won't give you copies of our Marriage certificate and Emily's birth certificate so you cannot get a British passport for her, and I won't give you her Russian passport!"

Yet in April 2009 I got a phone call from her, saying she was coming to the house I was renting to collect possessions with the boyfriend soldier who broke us up (She later told me he had been terrified I'd found out he'd been given a promotion ban by the army and re-posted abroad for targeting married women for sport) so I rushed home and immediately called the police... refusing them entry to the house, after having received threats from him and because they'd abducted Emily.

The police arrived after they did, and she said her boyfriend had paid for her to travel for a two week holiday with him alone as a birthday present (I'll let you draw your own conclusions why and what he wanted) but that Emily couldn't come because she was "...too sick in hospital!"

Obviously my first reaction was that she was lying, and the second that if Emily was in Hospital what the hell was she doing coming for a sex holiday with him???

Anyway the police accepted their claim and told me they couldn't arrest her or her boyfriend (Who'd driven them to the airport and contributed to and encouraged the abduction) because she'd been given permission to take Emily on "Holiday" and that it was a case of unlawful retention and not a clear cut abduction...



They escorted her into the house, which I was to shortly lose having just been made redundant, which I'd explained to her, but when I wasn't looking she not only took clothes for her and Emily, but also went into a draw and took one of my old payslips, which she later used to claim in a Russian court that she should get half my wages. My claim that I'd lost my job fell on closed ears and they not only stopped me being allowed access, but stripped me of my parental rights, after which there has been no contact and no help from the FCO or anyone other than Reunite International.

You can see for yourself how if this change comes into law it would save another child, or at least allow prosecution of the perpetrators...


Chief Executive Officer of reunite, Alison Shalaby, said:

"In the interests of children, left-behind parents, and of justice, there could and should be a change to legislation so that all left-behind parents have access to the assistance of the police, the criminal process and statutory authorities to ensure the swift resolution of cases of wrongful retention.  

"We would like to thank Sir John Stanley MP and Stephen Timms MP, Co-Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Abduction, for supporting our efforts to change legislation.  We will continue working together to ensure the Law Commission's recommendations are advanced by the government and legislation is changed to better support abducted children and left-behind parents."

Stephen Timms MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Abduction said:

"Our concern around this anomaly in legislation comes in the context of a very marked increase in the number of cases of international parental child abduction in recent years.  There should be equality of treatment for what is essentially a serious criminal offence striking at the heart of family life, and in the individual interest of the left-behind parents and abducted children who are victims of retention."

I would like to thank Alison and the Reunite team for their tireless efforts to help we parents going through this nightmare, and more importantly our children who suffer so much. I would also like to thank Stephen Timms MP and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Abduction, and ask, PLEASE let this be but a first step. There is a long way still to go!

Please share links to this blog to everyone you know, and please support Reunite International, and write by all means to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Abduction to show that these children matter. They are our most vulnerable citizens yet our most forgotten.

Send your support
I have been working to leave a paper trail for Emily as well as trying to raise money for Reunite International. There are several ways to support both these endevours...

Please visit http://www.reverbnation.com/reunitecharitycampaignfeaturingemilyssongbysamblue listen to Emily's song and watch the videos to find out more... The song can be bought from Amazon or I-Tunes by simply searching for Emily's Song by Sam Blue, and with enough dowloads we can start raising money at last for Reunite...

During December 2014 I will donate 50p for every paperback copy of my comedy novel Religious Pursuits bought during the month... here's a link to order your copy. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Religious-Pursuits-Neil-Winnington/dp/1470071347/ref=la_B00CMRJZ46_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392932071&sr=1-4

Every single share of these links, visit and download makes a huge difference
Thank You

Neil Winnington
@reuniteemily on Twitter 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Secret Santa's Indie Book Giveaway and Orchard Book Club Authors Event




Now here's something I am very proud to be part of... 70 Authors (So far) have donated 79 titles as a free giveaway to some very lucky readers, and a copy of my very own Religious Pursuits is part of the package...


Here is a list of the authors contributing so far...
Taylor Ann Bunker - Witch In The Woods
Donald Wilson II - Cross Roads
Rose Montague - Jade
Colleen Gareau - Sam(uel) and My Mother's Summer Vacations
Mika Jolie - The Scale (Martha's Way Series)
C.K. Dawn - Cloak of Shadows
Wesley Morrison - Let No False Angels
D.M. Cain - A Chronicle of Chaos
Suzanne McKenna Link - Saving Toby
Ash Krafton - Bleeding Hearts
Peggy M. McAloon - Elle Burton and the Secret Portals
Ksenia Anske - Irkadura
Dylan J. Morgan - The Dead Lands
Kristen Mott - Odie the Stray Kitten
A.S. Washington & De'Quan Foster's - The Twelve
Adam Dreece - The Yellow Hoods: Along Came a Wolf (Book 1)
Lori Crane - Oaktibbee Creek
Lori Lesko - Copyright
Johanna Harness - Spillworthy
J.S. Snow - Redemption
Mikey Campling - Trespass The Darkeningstone
M.J. Fahy - The Magpie King
Neil Winnington - Religious Pursuits
C.J. Morrow - The Finder
Danielle Prophet - The Opposite Of Gravity
Robin MartinDuttmann - Zoo on the Moon
Rochelle Campbell - Fury From Hell
Christina McMullen - Going Green
Paul David Chambers - Manners Cost Everything
Clara Grace Walker - Gratification, Gossip and Redemption
W.M. Calloway - The Xenton Chronicles
Christy Heron - Unrequited
Josephine O'Brien - Shared Skies
Mark Victor Young - Once Were Friends
Patrena Miller - She's Not Worthy and The Road
M.E. Walker - The Finding
HJ Lawson - War Kids
Elizabeth Guizzetti - Other Systems
Jo Bissell - Beyond the Reach of Judgement
Suzette Brown - Alzheimer's Through My Mothers Eyes
Kirby Howell - Autumn In The City Of Angels
Michelle A.Picarella - Livian
Jessica Keller - Saving Yesterday
Elena Sandovici - Dogs With Bagels
K. M. Herkes - Controlled Descent
A.T. Russell - Sacred Puppies
David P Perlmutter - Wrong Place Wrong Time
Jennifer Gibson - Sway, Compass and Destiny
Kory M. Shrum - Dying for a Living and Dying by the Hour
Adrienne Thompson - Your Love is King
Pete Buckley - The Colonel of Krasnoyarsk
Chess Desalls - Travel Glasses
Ed Ireland - The Last Ranger of Sarn & Blood Moon Sacrifice


Not a bad list, I am sure you'll agree and sure to rise...
How do you enter? Easy. Just click on this link, log on using your Facebook account and you're entered...
https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/eb7d555f2/


As if the spirit of good cheer wasn't enough, I will also be attending the Orchard book Club's author event in March, along with 30 other authors ready to sign copies of our books and in the evening there is a meal and a ball. I shall have copies of my books on my table of course, as well as these T-Shirts and other merchandise...
...There's a version of the t-shirt without the red hearts too haha...

Links to buy tickets are here http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/orchard-book-club-author-event-ball-tickets-11853288505

If you bring a copy of any of my books (or those by I. T. Heurtze) I will sign your book and give you a 10% discount on all the other books on my table as well as the T-Shirts.

I look forward to seeing you all and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @NeilWinnington