Make your 3-litre go faster

An occupational hazard of finding archive material is the diversion, “oh! that’s interesting….” and going down a different track. So it was when I found this…

Last year my 1959 TD21 had too much play in the throttle linkage and my attempts to remove it had the unfortunate side effect of sometimes causing the throttle to stick and giving an unwanted high idling speed. So I invested in a new one of those pictured above, a trifle expensive I thought, but it has lasted sixty years. Daunted by the prospect of fitting it in limited time before departing on a long trip, I carried it with me for the next 2,000 miles, just in case. All was OK(ish) until the last time I started it up, and the dreaded high idle has returned. So, finding the above article and spurred on by watching “Quest” and Ed China changing a throttle body on a Maserati that cost £400 needing a computer to set it up, I spent a happy couple of hours getting my hands dirty.

Now I have no lost motion in the throttle pedal and a correct idle, but best of all I have the full range of throttle openings available. It just seems more effortless.

What I was actually looking for were the reports of the 1991 Tour of Britain.The reports and photos not previously published are now on a new page 1991 Tour of Britain


Some new photos landed in the inbox his week including

BGD 283 is of special interest as it is one of very few Silver Crests despatched in chassis form only, 14147 / 14609 / 18993, left the factory 13th September 1937 for Galt’s of Glasgow. The maker is not known and it wasn’t registered until 11th December. It is the 19.82 hp version (much better for towing a caravan). Pictured around 1948 , the last Licence expired 30/12/55 in the name of W. Bolden, of Harefield – does it survive? (research by Dave Culshaw). The family of the earlier owner would be pleased to know.
11363 NJ 4348 Silver Eagle – where are you now?

A TD21 Graber coupe has a new custodian in the USA, after spending nearly thirty years in Germany.

The 2008 obituary of the first Swiss owner, Hans Diehl-Rietmann reads “Mr. Diehl-Rietmann, the legendary Swiss merchant, had prepared my internship in 1969 with Jules Chauvet, his old friend at the Chapelle de Guinchay. The trip was made in his special Alvis-Graber, a car beauty as we find more. At the wheel sat the driver, Mr. Glaus, in his blue Swissair livery. Mr. Diehl on his right controlled the timetable with a stopwatch. At the last petrol station before the border, a stop enabled Mr. Diehl to fasten his rosette of Agricultural Merit to his jacket. At the same time the driver refueled the magnificent Alvis which was equipped with a specially large tank. Mr. Diehl was a great lover of French wines, but he did not have much confidence in what was sold at the pumps of this country, and did not want his car to taste it. “

Red Triangle have found an old stock of “new” handbooks for the TD21 and are now available to buy. Reproduction reprints are also available.


One of the exhibits in the Frankfurt exhibition appears in the TD 21 brochure:

WRW 633 is the first Park Ward production TD21 saloon 18001, chassis 25946

To also have on show the final production car from Mulliner Park Ward, chassis 27472 is impressive, as it was shipped from the UK for the durationWhere is 5002 RU now?


John Speight has sent photos of his TD21 and Firefly in New Zealand and have been added to model pages  Firefly   TD21

26169 TD21 in New Zealand, sporting a secondary antenna for spotting speed cameras
9979 Firefly Cross & Ellis saloon – Photo John Speight
10788 Firefly SA Cross & Ellis Tourer re-bodied by Dick Brockman and road commissioned
by Barrie Gillies ca. 1982-1985. After a few years in Belgium I brought the car to
Northern California where it has been since 1988. – Bob Farrell

Bee post results

A pleasant surprise from Gavin’s bee story was a couple of responses which added to our Alvis knowledge. Gavin had called his Grey Lady Sybil, reasonable enough as the registration is SYL 434. However a previous owner responded, called Sylvie who was unknown to Gavin. What we had not known is that Sylvie is the daughter of the well respected Alvis expert Alf Brown who operated for many years in London servicing cars – ” it was lovely to see my old Grey Lady on the website today SYL 434 now affectionately known as Sybil – of course it used to be known as Sylvie’s… I told my father it was mine as soon as I saw the registration.” Gavin of course had added a “b” to the name……

Sylvie also mentioned her brother Doug who has owned his Firely since 1962 – is this a record?

She added ” I am proud to have been his daughter even though my MG TD is mostly Alvis parts! You have probably guessed that he left Doug and me an Alvis each… so Doug has two. He bought me my MG in 1965 saying an Alvis was too big for a student nurse to drive around London so after he died, I had to chose whether to keep that or the Grey Lady. The MG won..


While we are being bombarded with statistics these days, the survival ones are the most interesting. How many members of the Alvis Owner Club do you think have been members for over fifty years? The answer is at the end of this post.


Manfred Fleischmann has confirmed that his Centenary Frankfurt exhibition  at Central Garage, Bad Homburg will open on May 13th, next Wednesday. He has sent some photos of the display which looks very professional, including detailed Alvis company history, such as:

Following the bee post Mike Dunn wrote “My father was Willie Dunn, the Alvis Chief Engineer for many years until 1959 when he retired. Alvis asked my father to return as they were missing his guidance and leadership as they needed to land the first production contract for 125 Stalwart high mobility load-carriers. In 1962 they asked me to take over from him as chief engineer for cars and fighting vehicles. My father was a life-long beekeeper and taught me a little of his craft.
In today’s Times newspaper there is a disturbing article about the disease Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV) which has spread over the last decade to most English and Welsh counties There is a possible link to the importing of too many queen honey bees.

William Marshall Dunn was born on August 12 1893 in Annan, Dumfries. He was apprenticed in the shipbuilding industry at J Milburn Ltd, Engineers and Iron Founders in Workington. Cumberland from 1908 to 1914 where he qualified as a Mechanical Engineer. During the war he worked as a marine engineer. He married Amy Margaret Nelson In 1918 and moved to Coventry in 1919 to work at Daimler Ltd (the British company).
He moved in 1922 to Alvis Car & Engineering Co Ltd (formerly T.G. John Ltd). He retired in 1962.
He died on 22 January 1969 in Coventry and was buried at Canley, Coventry.

This photo was taken from a brochure issued by the company around 1960 which gives a snapshot of the company’s history….

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Since the April 1970 AOC Bulletin proved to be a popular download, this May edition is equally interesting, previewing the joint Register and AOC 1970 Tour of Britain. Click on May 1970 Bulletin 200

Perhaps some Club members will be inspired to organise a joint event once again in 2021?


Tail piece..From our records there are over 50 AOC members who have 50 years or more of membership, from about 4200 members who joined between 1951 and 1970. Another 18 are known to be following the website but no longer members.

Sybil and the bee swarm in April

This April was the first for some years that I have not driven the Alvis on the open road to meet fellow Alvis owners. However, there is some consolation in knowing that if I pick up the phone to call one, they are likely to be home, answer the call and have time to chat. It is also the first time for some years that I have been able to observe the garden in spring on a daily basis, hear the birds sing, and see a blue sky with no planes (except the Red Arrows, but I don’t mind that). So for something completely different….
From Gavin Wiggins-Davies
Dear Alvisarchive,

No I haven’t quite gone off my trolley after 5 weeks of isolated lockdown !  You asked for ‘Drive Day photographs’ and as I was not able to drive old Sybil out anywhere I thought I could try to share with you all my other weekend activity and some photographs and two videos!

25800 TC21/100 – Sybil
I keep a bee and was told of a swarm last Thursday nearby so drove down , no not in Sybil, & collected the big swarm and brought them home and popped them into a spare old hive that evening.
Next day my new hive arrived (only ordered it 5 days earlier) & I rehoused them into their new des res on Friday.  I went into my original hive on Saturday to make sure that the swarm had not come from that hive but I was relieved to find only 6 newly started Queen cells in it so no chance that they had ‘buzzed orf’ !  In fact I thought it unlikely as the new colony of bees are much larger and darker, a little more like the old English Black bee which is somewhat in decline.
I collected a full honey super* out of my original hive a week before the swarm arrived and I have never had honey ready for collection in April before nor have I ever seen a swarm before May !!
Apologies for breaking the Club trend and sharing activities other than Alvis related but as I was unable to drive anywhere but I was able to do something worthwhile with my time I thought I could try to share it with you all.
I only hope that you don’t ‘blackball’ me for some sort of Alvis heresy ?
Thank you all for the email posts which are helping to keep me and I expect all the other AOC members keen and raring to get going.
With my best wishes to you all and do stay safe,
Gavin
* a bee super is a container the super frames into which the bees put/store their honey. Bees live in a larger box at the bottom of the hive called a Brood box & make & store their honey in a Super positioned just above the Brood box.( I have 3 x Supers on my original hive as they are working very busily and with the early season and a full super already I am giving them lots of room to work in, They are already working in all 3 supers ! )

A new page has been added on a small run of Alvis by Offord


Some more photos have been added to the previous post Your Drive __ Day photos



 


Your Drive __ Day photos

Thanks for sending these photos which span 1924 – 1965 and the globe….

from Tasmania, Gary Guiver’s 1924 12/40, chassis 2817

from Scotland, Chris Chilcott’s 1926 12/50, a field not a drive….

From Monaco, Guido Cantele’s Speed 20 SA chasis 9878 (but not yesterday)From New Zealand, Doug Dickson’s SB Speed 20 VDP chassis 11154From Australia, Jonathan Gill’s 13686 Speed 25 Charlesworth…and Max Houston’s 14314 4.3

 

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while Tim Perks is getting there with his 4.3 Charlesworth 14327

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From Switzerland, Dieter Schaetti’s McMullen Woody 14

20750 1946 TA14 McMullen

Norman Blundell’s TA14 chassis 23308

 

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From Scotland, Peter Martin’s TA21 Tickford “KAA went to the local Morrisons to pick up a click and collect order. PongoNo the new hound went also and was admired almost as much as the car which looks a bit butch as temporarily without a front bumper .Bruce Cunningham’s 25272 TC21 Mulliners saloon taken in 2019 at the Campbelltown Steam and Machinery Open Day (coinciding with Australian National Motoring Heritage Day). The actual location is in Menangle, a little village about 12,000 miles from UK, approx. 5 miles from Campbelltown, NSW, AUST. Here it won a “lucky door” prize.Doug Dickson’s TC21/100 25676Lottie’s Graber 26081

Petwood 2019 (5)
Lottie is missing her rides in the Graber, complete with original fitment chain restraint

Peter Brown’s TD21 26107

From California, Andres Martinez TD21 26294

Robin Willmott’s 26295 TD21 Dhc…

Doug Dickson’s TD21 26670

Deborah Gold’s TE21 Dhc 27034

From Germany, Frank Nestmann’s TE21 27022Nick Wells’  27134 TE21 which was far too grumpy to emerge from its den despite a promise to attend the Kop Hill Climb in September!

Never grumpy, Mark Seligman’s fine TE21 Dhc…  27242It’s not too late to send your photo.


Coen van der Weiden wrote to say “today is King’s Day in Holland so we have an extra long weekend.
A certain Mr. Paul Wouters created an extra link on Alvis in his website.
Until December 19th, 2019 he didn’t know much about Alvis, but with the help of the Dutch Centenary book and his camera he created a nice impression. The text is from the book, but then in his own words.
Some very good photos – worth a browse.

Drive __ Day

The FBHVC have created a new website for Drive it Day memories and invite photos of past events, click here.

In the spirit of isolation, why not send us your Alvis photo in your drive, a sort of Drive _ Day event? Here is mine anyway…Send yours attached to an email to alvisarchive@btinternet.com


An update on the exhibition in Frankfurt is that it will be extended when it eventually opens – Central Garage


 

Firebirds are go!

The lockdown has encouraged some restoration activity and correspondence on regaining original registration numbers. Brian Davies sent his photos of DRF 437, a Cross & Ellis tourer he has owned for a very long time.“I thought you might like some before and (almost) after pictures of the Firebird.  As you can see, the before pictures give an idea of the state of the car when it eventually arrived in Southsea, Portsmouth in late 2007 after around 40+ years being stored in garages, barns, warehouses etc.  This pic is the current state shortly before the start-up of the engine after around 50 years of inaction.  By the way it runs beautifully after having started almost with the first press of the ignition switch – all very gratifying and a great relief!

The car is now awaiting bodywork which is, of course, somewhat on hold as a result of Covid-19.
It was very interesting talking to you this morning and great to hear that you already have some background info on the car and its owners.  I will, of course, be delighted to hear/receive any additional info you have on the car.
Many thanks for your help in this matter.”
            With the help of DC and WB we were able to piece together the history of the car, the first owner in Staffordshire and the story of how Brian and his friend acquired the car from Ron Harrison who had been a neighbour of the late Apsley in Cornwall. Tony had published a photo of Ron in the AOC Calendar in 1999.AOC Calendar, April 1999, Page 11, photo of Ron Harrison in Firebird DRF 437 circa 1954 or ‘55 & comments by Tony Phillips-Smith:  My next-door-neighbour (1/4 mile across the field!) Ron Harrison lent me the photograph below which shows him, just out of the RAF, with two jolly ladies, in the summer of 1954 or 5, probably in Droitwich, Worcestershire, at the wheel of Alvis Firebird Cross and Ellis Tourer, reg. no. DRF 437 (Chassis 13466), then painted metallic silver (!) with black wheels. The indefatigable Dave Culshaw can trace the car as far as Gosport in 1977. Does anyone have any later news? Ron (and Dave, and I) would love to know. Incidentally, Ron “sold” the car at the time of the first Suez crisis, for four pints of beer. Those were the days when men were men, and a pint was really worth something!
“Again, your photo of Ron Harrison at the wheel of the Firebird has really sparked off much interest from friends, neighbours and relations.  For many years they’ve been hearing about this mystery car locked away in a garage that has long been keeping me busy, and short of ready cash, so, to see a picture of the car “in the flesh” is a real treat for all of us.
As I may have mentioned, my friend Mike and I were given the car by Ron, (probably around 1961/2) when Ron was living in Clevedon, Somerset, in exchange for some DIY/gardening work that we were doing for him.  For the next few years Mike and I did a complete demolition job on the car in the mistaken view that we were conducting a restoration.
You say in the email that you last had news of the car in Gosport in 1977 but, although I moved to Gosport in ’72 when I joined the Royal Navy, as I recall I never actually moved the car to Gosport but that it was eventually moved from the Clevedon area, where it was languishing in a barn, directly to a furniture storage company in Chard in South Somerset in the late 70s when I was firstly appointed to Devonport based ships, then BRNC Dartmouth and later with the Royal Marines at CTCRM Lympstone.  I then moved back to the Portsmouth area and it wasn’t until 2007 that I finally managed to obtain a suitable lock-up garage and moved the car from its long term home in store in Chard to the garage in Southsea.
Work on the car started shortly thereafter and, as of today, it awaits clothing in bodywork as much of the original has, over the years, been lost, stolen or deteriorated. The car has been restored from the barest chassis up and the engine, brakes, rear axle etc. refurbished, replaced or renewed and the ash framing completely replaced as the original Cross and Ellis woodwork was either rotten or eaten away by woodworm. The engine, however, having been silent for around 60 years, started last August and runs beautifully.
That, in summary, is the history of the later years of the “Firebird” as I know it and, prior to this, the Duplicate Registration Book (RF 60A) shows details of 2 previous owners in the Midlands before Ron Harrison comes on the scene in the mid 50’s.
I hope this fills in some of the detail of the “missing years” but if there is any further information you think I may have please let me know.  Also, if there is any chance of contacting Ron Harrison I would be delighted.
Again, many thanks for your help in this matter,
Regards
Brian
As Apsley is no longer with us does anyone know if Ron Harrison is contactable? Please leave a comment if you have any information

Dave Culshaw has also been sent an old Firebird picture:and written another PPS –  click on The Saint and the Sleuth

We have also updated the Firebird page with a new listing, click Firebird

Robin’s TF with special antenna

Robin Willmott wrote:

With the sun shining the Alvis all polished up and the Waxoil removed from the  chrome the TF 21 was all ready for a drive, but with Covid 19 preventing all events, Bar meals or social meet-ups we were left with only one alternative, a run to our local Supermarket for a bit of social isolation.  Whilst l waited reading the paper a BMW Mini owner drove by giving the thumbs up which which was most uplifting . So if the sun is shining in ten days time when we do our next shop we will definitely be travelling by Alvis.

Motor 100

When the Century of World Motoring was celebrated at Silverstone in 1985, Alvis were there in force.The moment I remember most vividly of this display was when Mike Smith asked for some information on the Grey Lady so he could so a piece to camera. He listened and looked and then without hesitation, in one take, did a superb description of the car to camera. A true professional.


In this year of the centenary of the first Alvis car, it is also fifty years since the death of Hermann Graber. It was he who was largely instrumental in extending the then life of Alvis car production of 35 years by a further 12 years.

35 years ago we took some twenty or so Alvis to visit Wichtrach where Graber had lived and built his cars. A new page which includes the contemporary report and previously unpublished photos is now available – click 1985 Swiss Tour


A TA21 radiator assembly seeks a new home, currently in Scotland…….leave a reply if you are interested.