While current Alvis photos profilerate thanks to the smart phone, finding a good period shot by a professional is something archivists enjoy. Even better is when someone sends us one. We can often identify the car but it isn’t always the case, especially if there is no registration number. In the last few days five such photos have come our way and the first came from the great grand daughter of the 1921 owner of a 10/30 who is researching the family history.
“I’m looking for an Alvis that was owned by my great grandfather. It was used in several speed trials and hill climbs in 1921. I know it’s probably long gone but I’d love to see if someone still loves it. His name was Captain GDF Keddie. he was a very keen racing driver. He also had a Silver Hawk (one of maybe a dozen made) which actually beat Raymond Mays’ Cordon Rouge Bugatti at the Southend Speed Trial of 1922. I’m also hunting down the chap who owns one of the only Silver Hawks left as I’d love to see the car in the flesh.“
The other four photos were sent by Tom Clarke, Rolls-Royce historian. They come from the Jack Barclay Collection and as JB was not an Alvis dealer, are of cars which we assume to have been sold secondhand. Two have registration numbers and the first, although now long gone, has an interesting history.
This car was mentioned in The Registrar’s Column, ‘Gilding the Lily’ in AOC Bulletin 521 Page 31.
“The car had first belonged to a Miss B. J. M. Streather, of Hendon, Middlesex. This was evidently not Miss Streather’s first Alvis. She had competed with a Speed Twenty SA in the 1933 RAC Rally, gaining a 3rd Class award and finishing 74 of 94. By the 1935 RAC Rally she had acquired the SC tourer, obtaining a 3rd Class award, and better still in 1936, with a 2nd Class award.
Alvis Works records tell us that Dr. Grocott acquired the car by November 1938 and kept it throughout the War, and certainly into the fifties.
No matter how perfect and iconic Alvis cars are and will continue to be, there have always been those who have modified particular examples with varying degrees of success. Examples abound of this practice, but perhaps none are more interesting than the modifications carried out on two Alvis cars by Dr. John Grocott of Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent. Grocott was by account a distinguished surgeon, and indeed his applications in the metal show such attention to detail as would have been required in the operating theatre. At some stage Grocott evidently decided to dispense with the Cross and Ellis tourer body and designed a semi-aerodynamic fixed head coupe body of his own, after the pattern of the Embiricos Bentley. Past President Ernest Shenton tells me that there were two other people instrumental in this car’s construction, these being Tom Byatt, of Trentham, together with Bob Bullard. Unfortunately no details have survived of the exact construction methods used, but the machine was certainly spectacular, as the photograph shows.
The other Alvis to receive the Grocott individual attention also had an RAC Rally provenance, being the VdP short chassis tourer chassis 14328 registered ELK 366, which had been entered by one R.A. Robertson in the 1938 event, finishing 19th of 38 in its Class.”
The second Jack Barclay photo looks like a Charlesworth drophead and shows registration number KV 9281 but we have no record of it.
The photographer was A E Nelson of 12A George Street, Hanover Square W.1
Chris Heyer also sent in some photos from the Freddy Lincoln Collection: