1993 International Weekend

Based in Cheshire the 1993 weekend was attended by Graber Three Litre owners travelling from Switzerland and was reported by Jon Pressnell in the March 1994 Classic & Sportscar magazine. The contemporary report from the AOC Bulletin by Tony Hayes is reproduced here together with more colour photos recently acquired by the Trust.


The weather forecast for International Alvis day, indeed the whole weekend, was pretty grim, by UK standards. The TV news was showing floods, in various parts of North West England, with firemen and policemen rescuing people by boat from their homes, which must have brought the event organisers close to despair. Indeed, but for Alvis owners in general being a fairly dedicated bunch of car users, rather than polishers. the field could well have been rather thin.

WG 2268 (1934 Firefly) departed for the “North”, (in relative terms, as Knutsford is no more than halfway up England and perhaps a quarter of the way up the UK) in the continuing heavy rain. One thing about pre war open cars even with hoods erected is that they are not necessarily waterproof. A day and a half of miserable motoring followed! However, eventually locating the superb hotel on Friday evening, there occurred a rather “wet” evening of the other type, with other like-minded Alvis aficionados. Cars from Norway, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and of course all parts of the UK were already in residence. The “continentals” were led, during the evening, on a voyage of discovery, Boddingtons, Tetleys and John Smith’s proving to be a little more subtle than ice cold lager with lots of thin froth on top!

Saturday …. the Buxton (and return) tour! Superb contrasts -pleasant rural Cheshire … farmhouses, meadows and trees … then up to the bleak open moorland of the Peak District, via Wildboarclough and the Cat & Fiddle pub (eventually discovered in horizontal driving sleet and thick cloud! – thank goodness it was open – and warm!). Thence to Buxton, sometime spa town, and an Alvis rendez-vous at the Palace Hotel. A most elegant example of fading Victoriana. After a few libations it was observed to be raining again! As the Firefly crew were still visibly steaming from the morning’s soaking WG was pointed directly at the Lord Daresbury Hotel, eschewing the “visual” delights of Dovedale etc for hot baths to restore the human circulation. Our Norwegian friends, however, thought it quite warm and summery in their Speed 20 Special!

Saturday evening dinner – split into two dining rooms (120 in one, 60+ in the other) was a marvellous social occasion – lots of hilarity, very noisy, including a lively welcome from the organisers, and the precursor to some very late bed times!

Sunday.    The weather  gods relented, having tested the mettle of  all  Alvis chauffeurs who had made it to Warrington over the last couple of days. Pulling the  curtains revealed not a cloud in the sky and with the gentlest of breezes rippling the leaves. This was definitely more like it. After availing oneself of a traditional “full English Breakfast”, a somewhat daunting undertaking for those feeling slightly under the weather, bonnets were pointed in the direction of Tatton Park, where, on arrival, one was met by the usual seamless organisation. After locating the Secretary’s tent, (amongst the many) one’s Alvis was directed to a fairly easily discovered parking place. By half past ten the arena was populated with Alvis whose drivers were proving that the location of the rear nearside wheel was something of a mystery to them, that motorway traffic cones were apparently 4 inches (20cm) high, i.e. would pass under all Alvis without penalty points, and that driving against the clock on a bumpy meadow can be hard on the heads of saloon car drivers.

Meanwhile the Concours judges were aprowl, discreetly shielding their marking sheets (new format) from proud owners, and holding muttering conversations at similarly discreet distances before agreeing their “final” totals. Many beautiful cars, from all eras. Particularly attractive, in this scribe’s eyes, were a dark blue over grey TC 21/100 DHC, a 4.3 Mayfair razor edge saloon, the Raine TA14, a maroon TE 21 DHC, a red TB 21 and a pair of Speed 25’s, one from Norway, the other from Belgium. Of particular interest to everybody, however, was a delightfully original Speed 25 saloon, sometime black, from the West Country!

In addition to this array of automotive excellence there was a further display of world class beauties … the Grabers! Nine Swiss built cars were assembled for our enjoyment, from the earliest TC 108G to the most elegant and sensual bodies of the mid 60’s. None of them were cosseted museum pieces either – one had been driven from Holland and two from Switzerland. However, the Brit based Grabers are also well known for their high mileages per year, and have joined in with Graber gatherings in Switzerland.

Bernard Manning’s “voice alike” was again on the Public Address system and as amusing, abusing, and observant as last year. His heartfelt cry for assistance to repel “vandals” at the ladies loo was heeded by several fools, starting handles or large spanners in hand, until the current lady occupants, shaken by the arrival of several out of breath “Knights”, advised that all was well!! Thanks, Barry – I and several others really loved sprinting (?) 200 yards to see off the “invaders” !!

The Driving Tests (sorry – Gymkhana Events) having been completed and the Concours judges also having rendered their marking sheets to the Secretariat, some light hearted non-motoring competition, of the school sports variety, was indulged in by both volunteers and the volunteered, whilst in the Secretary’s tent the calculators were running red hot! The customary draw for the multitude of raffle prizes was carried out with exemplary speed and the distribution amongst the various ticket colours was well balanced. Thence to the masses of silverware dispensed gracefully by our new President, Norman Whitton, to a very wide cross section of worthy winners. It was particularly pleasing to see the two Speed 25’s attending from “over the water” claiming first and second place in the PVT category.

Last year International Alvis Day had featured in the holiday plans of a member and his family from South Island, New Zealand. This year Tony Hannam and his family from Australia followed a similar holiday pattern. Perhaps if he gets to read this Tony might report on the status of his three Alvis and on Alvis happenings in his part of the world.

So ended another superb gathering, with 156 Alvis cars in attendance and another hundred or so models bringing AOC members and their families from far and wide. Back at the remnants of the weekend visitors had a rather more relaxed evening, than the previous two, before setting of for home the next morning. Monday however was awful! Continuous driving rain all day and by mid afternoon this Alvis chauffeur was not only suffering a severe sense of humour failure but was also doubting his sanity. How do you explain to “normal” people that driving an old car, soaked through and cold is really great fun?


The nine Grabers spanned 1953 to 1966 and included TA21, TC21, TD21, TE21 and TF21.

25089 TA21 coupe from 1953 overshadows the sleek and low 1966 TF21

26001 1959 TD21 Panoramic cabriolet with an earlier 1953 chassis with cabriolet coachwork

The vertical electric rear window provides excellent visibility with the hood up

Rear quarter windows are included

1962 TD21 Series II with overdrive gearbox and conventional hood

TF21, TE21, TD21, TC21/100 and TA21

1955 prototype, 1959 TD21 Special, 1962 Series II cabriolet at Tatton Park 1993

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