Some cars were specials when they were made - although in Graber's case this probably meant it was unique
Some cars were specials when they were made – although in Graber’s case this probably meant it was unique

As a number of other marques come to terms with allegations of criminal behaviour in relation to the building of “Specials” purporting to be original cars the question of provenance (as mentioned in the August 2015 post) has raised its head again in the Alvis world.

Chris Taylor, our senior Concours Judge, asks in his latest newsletter “This brings me to seek your opinion regarding this year’s judging at International where Mick Fletcher and I were judging the pre-war entries for concours. However there were not enough cars to field full entries for all sections so, in line with standard practice, entry classes were amalgamated but that meant this year specials were put with standard cars causing a newly re-bodied special to take the top pre-war prize for concours. This has led to quite a lot of emails and I would be interested in any opinions you may have on the subject for us to get it right next year.”

So the dilemma facing the judges and organisers of events is the classification of cars. The Preservation Class introduced a couple of years ago did not attract many entries and was intended to encourage those with original cars nicely presented but not in top condition to enter the competition. This year’s criteria for judging did not include “originality”. So Alvis owners, what do you think?

Meanwhile cars are still being advertised as original or as a particular model when examination of the archives database show they are not as described. A quiet word with the advertiser will hopefully ensure that a potential buyer will not be duped. Hopefully any potential buyer will enquire of the Model Secretary before parting with large sums. We know from experience that often buyers ask us about a car after they have bought it. So, is it incumbent on publishers of adverts to insist on accurate descriptions, including chassis number, Model Type and the actual body builder if the original body on the chassis has been changed?

The standard rear lights in this case on a Series II TD21
The standard rear lights in this case on a Series II TD21

Alvis and their coachbuilders always used proprietary brands of light units, to their own specification, usually Lucas such as on the Park Ward cars (also used on Humber Hawks and Aston Martins). These recently acquired photos show an experiment with another contemporary car’s unit – can you name the car?

Three views of a proposed use of ????? lights which, thankfully, did not replace the standard units used since 1958
Three views of a proposed use of  ****** *** lights which, thankfully, did not replace the standard units used since 1958

Author: alvisarchive

Driving Alvis cars since 1964 and the website since 2012

8 thoughts on “Specials”

  1. I believe originality/provenance should remain a category in all the concours assessments – this would ensure that when cars are restored, wherever possible such restoration should be done to retain original specifications and the car should have original details (matching numbers etc). We should still keep the preservation class which focusses on cars which have had little restoration, so condition is less important.

    In addition, to encourage members to enter their cars, we should have a “masterclass” so if a car wins for (say) 3 years in any category, it has to enter the “masterclass” in future years.

  2. I do see a place for specials .Well I would as I own one which was built in the 1960s and was very active at Alvis meetings at Brooklands. We all know the reasons why specials exist but I don’t think they should be judged alongside standard cars . There is nothing to stop the club having a separate class for judging purposes. If I had a standard original car I would be striving to maintain originality which can be quite tough compared with the freedom of specials allowing substitution of hard to obtain bits . Best regards John worrell

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Those lamps are as fitted to the Austin A40 Farina and (in a different pressed steel ‘shell’) to the Wolseley 1500/Riley 1.5.

  4. Good evening, about the Specials concours, I agree with Philip and John.

    I think there will always be a class for original/concours restored cars with prove of originality/provenance, etc. Furthermore I support a class for Preserved cars, and, maybe there is room for an extra class, Specials. Best regards, Chris

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