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Thread: Richard Oakes Autobiography

  1. #1
    Senior Member Phill's Avatar
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    Richard Oakes Autobiography

    A new book has been written by Douglas Anderson which is an autobiography of Richard Oakes. Should be a fascinating read. Details are as follows:-

    “This illustrated biography tells the story of one of Britain’s most prolificcar designers. Using a range of images, previously unpublishedphotographs and drawings and an engaging text, it is compulsive readingand visually stunning “Richard Oakes Master of Design “ ….. is a fascinating way of showingRichard's very wide range of skills and talents.” Peter StevensHardback coffee table book, printed on quality paper and printed to a highstandard. 176 pages (£30) 10% discount available for car club members.Orders to andersonandclarkpublishing@gmail.com with postal address.
    "The most beautiful kit car in the world - Motor"

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  2. #2
    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** BlueNova's Avatar
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    Interesting! Thanks for sharing Phill

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    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    Thanks Phill - let's hope it doesn't skimp on the important details!

    (I know, the Nova is just one of Richard's many projects, and perhaps not his most fondly-remembered work, but I can't help being biased )

    Lauren
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

  4. #4
    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    Not the most prolific writer, or publisher, based on a quick Internet search...
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Phill's Avatar
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    Douglas Anderson called in to see me at my work unit today on his way to Edinburgh and presented me with a signed copy of his book. We chatted for a while and I was gutted that my own Nova was back home and not in my work unit where I normally keep it as I would love to have shown him my car. He has had an interesting life and is passionate about automotive design. In fact he is currently involved in a project to launch a new styling kit to transform the MG Midget into a car called the ADO Auto which was also designed by Richard Oakes and is covered in great depth as the last chapter.

    Having now had a chance to read his book I have to say I found it fascinating. Not just the story of how Richard Oakes developed as a car designer, bur also the many sketches and photos that are included in the book. Of particular interest to Nova owners is a series of photos showing the development of the original 1/5 scale prototype that was the precursor to the full scale buck (also shown in photos) that was then used to produce the first set of moulds which in turn led to the first prototype Nova - FOW718L

    (If you do a search on the DVLA website you will find that FOW718L is registered as a NovaVW. Some time ago I wrote to the DVLA asking for information on the last registered keeper but they turned down my request for information due to data protection, which is a great shame as I would love to establish if this car still exists in any form).

    It's astonishing to think that Richard Oakes produced such an amazing design so early in his career. It was a few years later (after the Nova project had moved on to other manufacturers) that Richard studied for and obtained a masters degree at the Royal College of Art in London. It was while he was undertaking his studies there that he produced the Midas Kit car as part of his portfolio that earned him his masters degree. But you have to ask yourself, did he really need to be taught anything when he had such a natural ability. Anyone who studies the Nova and it's construction will appreciate the solid engineering that went into the design. The way the body forms a solid rigid structure when combined with the VW floorpan. And of course the genius idea to do away with side opening doors which would have weakened the shell and create an opening canopy instead that allows the deep side sills to give the Nova it's structural rigidity.

    I give the book a 5 star review. Why not ask your partner to buy you a copy for Christmas?
    "The most beautiful kit car in the world - Motor"

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  6. #6
    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** BlueNova's Avatar
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    What a brilliant review Phill .... even after owning my Nova for 35 years I'm still learning new things about it.

    Dear Santa, ........

  7. #7
    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Spacenut's Avatar
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    Of course, now I remember, the ADO Auto guy.

    I think what you have to remember is that the Nova is memorable for all the wrong reasons - cramped inside yet very large for a 2-seater, hopelessly impractical etc. Richard disliked the canopy idea almost from the very start, but the money to make such a fundamental change just wasn't there to start with, so the car that we know and love happened by accident.

    But I completely agree with everything you say about structural integrity

    Now look at everything Richard did after he got his design degree - Midas, Dutton Sierra (and the Phaeton and Melos, if we must), GTM Rossa, Pimlico HT, the list goes on and on and on. In terms of practicality (OK, maybe not the Phaeton and Melos), all without peer. They really are good cars, but unfortunately less remarkable for being so.

    The Nova has become very much like one of the cars that inspired it - the Lamborghini Miura - conceived without practical consideration by young men obsessed with style and engineering. Both fundamentally flawed, in their own way, but sooooo cool

    I will definitely look into getting a copy.

    Lauren

    PS - FOW 718L was not the prototype, but was one of the ADD demonstrators from 1972. The original blue prototype was registered BOW 178K I believe, and no longer appears on the DVLA register, unfortunately. I would love to know what happened to that car, and the special wheels that were made for it
    only Pythagoras can save me now!

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