A stream of welcome visitors to Bowcliffe during the last few weeks has inspired further progress in cataloguing and organising our material. Michael Edwards had a brief visit to the Drivers Club to see the motoring art on show and leave some copies of his new book “Apsley and Old Cars” with us for sale to visitors. Having now had the chance to touch and read it in detail we can only heartily recommend it for leaving a smile on your face. Visitors to Bowcliffe can buy a copy while stocks last or otherwise order direct from here where you can also buy individual prints of your favourite cartoon.
Fourteen owners might like this one, and if you have not visited the Fourteen website lately Eileen has updated her blog with much useful information.
The following week we spent the morning sorting out our brochure collection in readiness for a visit from Alice Salter, a graphic designer engaged by the AOC for their Centenary publications. She particularly liked the late 1920s brochures. During the half hour visit we were able to show her father David Salter our new picture collection of Alvis vehicles, often overlooked by car owners as the major contributor to the Alvis company profits and sustainability as car makers in the later years.To help those searching for Centenary material we have added a new page with Press cuttings of company news.
Our next meeting included two regular visitors of Chris Bluer who has been scanning records and photographs to continue our major project of digitising everything, and Chris Taylor, long standing AOC member, master locksmith and expert on most things Alvis, who has agreed to join us as a Trustee of AAT and lower the average age of the trustees slightly. We were also joined at lunch by one of our patrons, Albert Ainsworth, who was celebrating his 90th birthday and an inspiration to us all.
Yesterday, a visitor to Bowcliffe’s Garden Tour overheard us talking Alvis at lunch and confided his ownership of a Silver Eagle, a Speed 25 in the past and the fact that his father designed the 12/70 for Mulliners of Birmingham. A new page has been added to the Coachwork section reproducing the 1992 AOC Bulletin article by Stuart Peck.
As a vintage Sunbeam owner, he discussed the problems of old car clubs, the ageing and declining membership and the lack of committed volunteers which we also observe. All this was in the context of a changing future at Bowcliffe where Audi were holding the press launch event of the e-Tron (all electric) and we were able to study the plans for the expansion of the Drivers Club facilities to include “The Wheel” convention centre and the replacement of our building by “The Gatehouse”, a new two storey office block.
Meanwhile encouraging news of cars being restored comes our way, including pre-war saloons such as this 4.3.
The coachbuilder had recommended a replica Vanden Plas tourer, but the owner has resisted the quick profit and is undertaking a proper restoration which will no doubt cost more than the car is worth.
How much will the £72k Audi e-Tron be worth in ten years’ time?
Here is another saloon that was restored recently and is now for sale in New Zealand. Ian Sykes sent pictures during restoration and when completed in 2016 of a Speed 20 Charlesworth saloon he was asked to purchase for a New Zealander at Brightwells auction in 2009.
The car was then shipped to NZ and restored for the owner by a very experienced engineer in his private garage.
News from Switzerland includes the announcement of a winter 2019 exhibition of “Graber” at the Pantheon in Basel from October. This sounds like a good reason to organise another coach trip and to visit the Swiss Car Register Archives.