The Doug Woodrow Collection

We have received copies of a fine collection of 60s photos take by the late Doug Woodrow from Sue Woodrow. This one poses some questions…

Can you name the people, the car, the place and the date? At least one current AOC official is in the picure.
Can you name the people, the car, the place and the date? At least one current AOC official is in the picture.



Sue says:

“I think the car TWX 266 in the photo is probably the ‘Special’ belonging to Norman Routledge who had a garage at Seacroft near Leeds.  It is a long time ago but I think that is Norman at the wheel; Doug and I used to frequent his garage and on one occasion he offered the car to Doug for £200 as he was selling up and going to live in the Isle of Man.  We often came home with Alvis bits in the boot of our car which we had not actually bought but Norman thought Doug would like!  The car was very much ‘lightened’ but unfortunately Doug was too big/tall and could not get in to drive it consequently had to turn the offer down.  It was sold to John Wiggins near Thirsk and is now owned, I believe, by his son. The photo I believe was taken at Northern Alvis Day at Riccal in 1964/5.”

Now we all agree it is the Routledge Special, a search through the Bulletins shows that Norman appeared in 101 Bulletins with 156 mentions, several of these as adverts.

DVD search Routledge


Author: alvisarchive

Driving Alvis cars since 1964 and the website since 2012

15 thoughts on “The Doug Woodrow Collection”

  1. I don’t know much about it but it is an Alvis Special known as the Routledge. The late Norman Routledge was an ‘Alvis Garagist’ in Leeds. I believe the car has a Crested Eagle engine but more information would be interesting. I was wondering if the chassis came from an extinct SA Speed Twenty and if so, does anyone know the Chassis Number??

  2. Hi John

    The tall guy at the back of the car looks suspiciously like Jim Pearce, ex treasurer. I think I also spy a very young John Fox covering his ears. I recognise the car but cannot put a name to it at the moment.



  3. It is the Routledge special made from a Firefly Chassis we think it is one Norman owned and used during the war to do a secret run to Scotland to deliver documents, part of the body is from a late 20s Marendaz special she is still going strong currently is in the Rutland area.

  4. Agree, looks like a young Jim Oakman – wearing the Alvis sweater and possibly his brother Tom with the camera standing over on the right.

  5. Norman Routledge built the car in 1960/61 at his premises, Rosedene Garage, York Road, Leeds.and I watched the car being built. It has a short stroke Speed 20 engine & is on a Firefly Chassis. I was offered the car when Norman was selling his business in the late 60’s, but my legs were too long & it was then bought by the late John Wiggins. The location is almost certainly Sherburn- in- Elmete airfield at a Northern Alvis Day in 1961 or ’62, and Norman is sat in the car.

    1. Hello Frank
      The Special was built late 40 early 50s as there are pictures of it racing at Silverstone in 1954 on the archive albums and I know the engine is from a mixture of sp 20 crested Eagle and I forget what the head is from but it has cluster valve springs , the car is registered to Mrs Wiggins snr but out of the family I am the only that fits in it to drive it unlucky I know!

      1. Dave Culshaw writes: TWX 266 was the fourth of Norman’s Alvis Specials, hence the RA4 declared chassis number. The anachronistic registration mark ( West Riding ) tells us he must have finished it in May 1957. The engine 11494, is a Crested Eagle unit out of chassis 11041 originally sent to the Huddersfield agent. The chassis is undoubtedly Firefly but in the conversion to the six cylinder engine, the tubular cross member which bears the chassis number must have been jettisoned. As has been said, NDR ran a Firefly tourer during the war in the course of his reserved occupation, and wrote up his experiences with the car in ” The Motor ” of 10th November 1943, page 267. We know from Glasgow City Archive records that this car was 10787 / US 2938. Whilst it is possible that it later formed the basis of RA4, NDR had a number of other Fireflies,, including 10509 and 10531 , and one of these ( with engine 10982) is known to have been RA1, registered GWT 905 25/9/ 1947. thus any of these, or indeed another, might be candidates. Norman’s was an example of the oft quoted maxim : “Simplicate , then add lightness “, as numerous holes were drilled in parts not subject to stress, and these perforations caused RA4 to be occasionally referred to as ” Tea Bag”. Worth mentioning too that NDR ( along with Lytton Jarman ) was a major guru on the subject of the Bullnose Morris Oxford. I am sure that somewhere there is cine footage of him conducting RA4 in a typically spirited fashion at either Heston or Crystal Palace.

  6. This is indeed my father, Norman Routledge in a car I knew so well when growing up in Yorkshire. I have a number of photographs of it, and some AOC trophies that I think were won with it. For example a tankard “1958 FIRST DRIVING TEST ALVIS DAY”. A few years ago I saw the car in an edition of “Heartbeat”, I am thrilled to think that it is still around and in use. Fond memories…

    1. Hello Alan if you would like to see the special please get in touch I would be pleased to see the pictures you have and to get some early days history …

  7. As a young schoolboy barely in my teens I used to cycle to NDR’s garage ,which if I’m not mistaken was originally in Barwick in Elmet . That was where I first saw the gradual creation of the Bullnose MG replica which Norman was building .I believe it had a Hotchkiss engine.
    After his move to Rosedene my parents were very concerned for my safety on the York Rd which was notorious for accidents even then, 55+ years ago,but I used to sneak there all the same.
    I recall his Firefly spl and the assortment of Alvis oddities which used to pass through his hands . He once had a coachbuilt TA14 estate car , but not of the Woody variety ,being plainly panelled in aluminium,more like a van with windows, and painted an awful pea green .He offered it to me for seven pounds , but my father firmly put his foot down ….
    I also recall the 1919 Richardson Cyclecar ,pushed up a dark corner in Rosedene , .Norman asserted it was the sole survivor , which may have been true at the time ,but I believe one more has since come to light .
    Happy innocent days !
    Mike Day
    Thailand .

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