Palace chairman takes on classic car market

Octane: aims to shake up market

A group of former Emap staff have joined forces with business tycoon and Crystal Palace Football Club chairman Simon Jordan to launch publishing company Octane Media.

The company is hoping to take a slice of the motoring market this month with the launch of Octane – a monthly dedicated to classic cars with contributions from former racing drivers Damon Hill and Sir Stirling Moss.

Octane will feature top performance and prestige classic cars. Managing director Geoff Love said: “There has not been a new launch in the upper end of the classic car market for over 20 years and I think the market is right for a bit of a shake-up. We think the classic car magazines have become a little bit complacent and aren’t responding to how the market has changed.”

He added: “The whole classic car market is about enjoying the cars and less about just looking at them. We are trying to reflect the lifestyle of the people involved.”

Octane will have a print run of 80,000 and be distributed in more than 50 countries. Love said there was a lot of potential in the US, where there were a large number of “exotic” European cars, and in Australia.

He is hoping to attract readers from Emap’s Classic Cars and Classic and Sports Car owned by Haymarket.

Robert Coucher, former editor of Classic Cars, is editor. Love was previously publishing director at Emap and responsible for Classic Cars, Practical Classics, Classic Car Weekly and Land Rover International.

Advertising director Sanjay Seetanah also worked at Emap and managing editor David Lillywhite was deputy editor and acting editor on the Emap titles Bike and Classic Cars.

Octane Media is based in Peterborough, where its office is a stone’s throw away from Emap. The company employs 10 full-time staff, including four in editorial. Jordan, who has a vast collection of cars, has taken a 50 per cent stake.

Love said there were plans to break into contract publishing as well as launching further magazines.

He stressed the company’s expertise was in motoring and he hoped to have secured up to five contract titles in the next three years.

“We have good contacts in the industry and one of the appeals of this company is the opportunity to work in a small publishing house. It gives you more flexibility to move and respond quickly to the market,” he said.

By Ruth Addicott

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