When you spot an Alvis, you may want to know more about it, especially if it for sale. Where has it been for the last 60 years? Is it genuine, original and “matching numbers”? What do matching numbers actually mean?
Alvis numbered their cars when they were built. The unique identifier is the chassis number. Alvis never built complete cars, the chassis went to a coachbuilder to be completed so there is also a body number. Engines were also numbered. To confuse matters further there was also a Car Number on pre war models which was different from the chassis and engine numbers. To find out any of these numbers you need to lift the bonnet.
The next most important number is the registration. Most Alvis were registered new in the UK but many were exported. Alvis car production ceased in 1967 and the UK registration system in place up until then makes it possible to detect both where the car was registered and when. After 1963 a suffix letter indicated the year of registration so B, C, D, E and F are common suffixes on TE and TF21s indicating registration in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967. Prior to 1964 you need a Glass’s Guide to find the date. You can also download www.cvpg.co.uk/REG.pdf which summarises what you need.
Personal number plates were prevalent when Alvis were new so an Alvis may have had several registration numbers in its life because of number retention. It may also have been exported and imported. This is where the AOC Model Registers (for a list click AOC Model Registers) can be very useful as they record owners and numbers that have been notified to the Club. Together with the archive of the Alvis Company it is usually possible to build a history file of a particular Alvis. So, as archivists we can help provide any owner, or prospective owner, with a history of an Alvis. That’s what we do. We can also help reclaim an original registration number that has been lost.
If you have any questions about numbers or have spotted an Alvis, please leave a comment below. All comments are moderated. You can also notify the purchase or sale of an Alvis by leaving a comment.
Our web hosts, WordPress, produce annual reports to show how much traffic we have generated. On average we have had 28 callers every day who each look at 12 items. This is how they put it ….
Crunchy numbers 2014
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.
There were 889 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 397 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per day.
The busiest day of the year was March 6th with 5,041 views. The most popular post that day was Album 1.
Crunchy numbers 2013
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 41,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 15 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
In 2013, there were 17 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 19 posts.
The busiest day of the year was December 26th with 3,195 views. The most popular post that day was Album 2.
In UK election year here’s a period photo from George Butlin, Speed 25 Model Secretary.
Can you name the driver and the car? Another gem from George Butlin.
Answer at the end of the post…..
Winter Rally, 30th January 1955 (Bulletin 20 Report)
– Sunday turned out to be a fine day, providing no snow or other hazards to assist the organisers. As a result, a body of very competent competitors wiped the floor with the former, who had to resort to the doubtful subterfuge of re-calculating the results to very close time limits in order to find the winners.
The entry of eighteen cars was sent off at two minute intervals from the start at Badger’s Cafe on A21 near Tonbridge, the first car leaving at l p.m. A distance of 12 miles to the first control had to be covered at an average speed between 21 and 28 m.p.h., and competitors were then required to cover the rest of the route through four check points, involving about 60 miles of by-roads and lanes, at the same average speed as they had recorded in the first section.
One or two competitors spoilt their chances by misreading the route card, while another was forced to retire after the misfortune of running a bearing at the end of a fast stretch of road.
As the cars were booked in at the finish at Badger’s Cafe, the general opinion seemed to be that the route was enjoyable but too easy at the set speeds, and dark threats were issued by the organisers to the effect that there would be no complaints of this kind at the next event.
After an excellent tea, the results were announced and prizes were presented by Mrs James.
lst – Miss E.J. Chapman TB 14.
2nd – C.G. Fincken Speed 20
3rd – R.E. Spain Firebird.
Best new comer – M. White Speed 20.
Best navigator – for Miss E.J. Chapman.
BULLETIN 423 FEBRUARY 1995 (click to download) – an enjoyable read from cover to cover. Would you prefer a monthly Bulletin with fewer pages?
Answer: Firefly chassis 10472 AXE 246 open two seater with dickey seat by John Charles, with “Ranalah” coachwork. The driver is the then young actor, Jack Warner, who later starred in “Dixon of Dock Green”. At the time the photo was taken he was a part-time salesman for Charles Follett.
Looking back fifty years it’s interesting to see what was written when Alvis Ltd. provided parts and service and you could buy a new TE21. Perhaps not too much changed except that owners are rarely choosing an old Alvis to drive as their only means of transport as a viable alternative to a more modern machine. Just click to download BULLETIN 137 JANUARY 1965
Derek Bradbury has added to the appreciations of Mike Cummins on the Alvis People page and Ken Day has updated his summary of the life on the T G John page.
Fifty years on we can still look forward to exercising our cars in the coming year with a vast choice of events all over the world.
and of course, International Alvis Weekend see
Clive Taylor has an article in the December Bulletin with some period photos and compliments for our DVD of Bulletins. What he overlooked, and we have failed to promote, is that the DVD includes most of the Alvis Day Programmes from 1956 to date. The answers to Clive’s question are contained in…
You can download this one as an early Christmas present but if you are looking for the perfect seasonal gift for the person who hasn’t got a Bulletin DVD or a copy of The Story of the Red Triangle just send an email to
email@example.com with your order!
The NEC show gave us the incentive to find more 1930s Alvis photos to display and the results can be seen on the Speed Models page where there is now a gallery of the 2014 Show pictures and another group of three that needed identifying. Just click on any of them to see more detail and to make a comment.
Nick Simpson has spotted a promotional film which uses a rather nice Series 2 TD21 Dhc but does anyone know which one it is….
Nick has also helped identify some more photos from the 1930s and his comments are on a new page Engines if you can add any detail or comment please do. Just click on any one of them in the gallery and make a comment.
Dave Culshaw is pursuing the Celebrity Owners theme is his latest P P S which appears on his page, and another new page, T G John, has been added.
Swiss Tours for Alvis cars have been organised every ten years since 1985 and for 2015 the FIVA World Rally fits the bill nicely particularly as Equipe Fischlin and Neuchatel Classic are once again behind the organisation.
The maximum entry is 50 cars and the number of UK and Alvis will be limited.
The 41st Graber Treffen will be held on the weekend of May 30-31 in the Lake Zurich area.
The 60th International Alvis Weekend will be in Stratford upon Avon on 21-23 August so watch out for booking details in the New Year and probably a few plays on words and words on plays.
From the archives….
8th December, 1954. Bulletin 17
I should like to take this opportunity of sending you the season’s greetings and best wishes for the New Year and also to thank you for supporting the Club during the past year. The growth of the Club continues and membership now stands at a total of 306.
Our Patron .. As a result of a resolution put forward by the Southern Section a decision was taken at the General Meeting on October 31st, Mr. S.C.H. Davis was invited to become the first Patron of this Club. l am pleased to say that Mr. Davis has accepted our invitation and in replying to my letter writes “I accept with the greatest pleasure because the Alvis was the car with which l won my first race”.
The December 1964 Bulletin 136 included period reports of Sammy Davis at Le Mans with several racing photos.
The December 1974 Bulletin 251 featured a report on the Graber Treffen 1974 in Unterwasser and recorded new members now numbered up to 5246.
A gallery of photos by Steve Horne now appears on the Speed Models page.
The trustees met in October at Brooklands and Gaydon (see the Trustees meet page), visited the Herbert in Coventry and a couple of former officials of the AOC who have donated some archive material. This prompted us to revisit the list of museums with Alvis material which was compiled some time ago and to update the list of Alvis vehicles that are on public show.
There are exciting changes at both the Coventry Transport Museum and Gaydon which both have Alvis exhibits and expansion plans currently underway.
News of the loss of two former AOC General Secretaries this year is recorded on the Alvis People page.
Another article is published on the PPS by Dave Culshaw page with musical connections.
The AOC is exhibiting again at the NEC Classic Car Show (Friday 14th November for three days) with a Speed Models theme put together by Steve Horne using some of the material from the archives.
One of the Brooklands exhibits
Most of the three-litre cars’ factory records show the original colour of the car as it was delivered. The Chairman of Alvis, J J Parkes, was said to prefer seal grey for his cars while the Sales Director insisted on more striking colours. So white was often chosen for show cars, as it was by Graber, and once sold they were repainted in more subtle shades of grey. So, here is the choice offered by the factory:
Earlier this year we asked if anyone had owned their Alvis longer than Walter Williamson, member 589 who joined the AOC in 1955 with a 1935 Firebird 17514, KY 4727. Walter has owned his Speed 20 SB AYN 15 since 1961. Both he, his wife and the Speed 20 were born in 1934 so they celebrated 240 years together, with a few Alvis friends.
At IAW we offered both our DVD of Bulletins and Ken Day’s fourth edition of “The Story of the Red Triangle” at a take away price of £50. We can extend this offer now to those who were unable to find time to visit Yellow Birch and to those unable to attend the weekend. See the Publications page to find out how to order.