The following article by B. TULBAK was published in the Bulletin of the day but there were no photographs. We can now put that right:
Despite a cloudy start to the day the weather forecast proved accurate and by the time I had bypassed the queue of those driving lesser cars waiting to pay to enter the Knebworth grounds, the sun was out as it was to remain for the rest of the day. Fears of interference from the crowd attending the Carter Auction proved unfounded, for although some Alvis owners filled in the odd lull in our proceedings by browsing amongst the ‘lots’ the only noticeable effect-on Alvis Day was the extra spectators who, presumably disillusioned by the other event, drifted across to absorb some of the family atmosphere which characterises ‘all Alvis occasions.
Alvis Day always proves an unparalleled opportunity to meet old friends (both mechanical and human) and this year was no exception, although it must be said that many familiar faces were absent (perhaps I missed some in the crowd). However, there were many new faces and cars making their first appearance at this the Alvis principal event of the year. Browsing around the car park it was again evident that the Club still caters for old and young, rich and not so rich, male and female; the 250 or so cars present ranged from 1923 to 1967, many having just had magnificent rebuilds and others in daily use, but with evidence of much time and effort having been spent to gradually bring them back to top condition.
Gleaming paint stood side by side with filler and undercoat providing an interesting contrast of before. during and after treatment — and a chance for those who are currently battling with the problems to exchange views and notes with those who have finished and gain valuable hints and cost-saving advice. No matter how long we have owned our cars we can always learn and a word or two with an expert at Knebworth will, I hope, have saved me an expensive gearbox rebuild and makes me realise afresh how fortunate we are to have two clubs, and Red Triangle, plus a host of willing, helpful officials to help in ways no ordinary garage can. I hope we all continue to repay these for their efforts by using our Alvis cars as often as we are able.
The first event of the day was, as usual, the Concours d’Etat which was well supported, apart from a disappointing entry in Class A. though even there what was lacking in quantity was made up in quality — the post-war standards were just as high although there were many cars in the car park which in my view could have won a prize, particularly in the Graber class had they been entered; perhaps the owners concerned are kicking themselves and will have a go next year.
It is perhaps wrong to name names and single out airs for a special mention but my salute must go to Hank Van Der Weiden who brought his Speed 25 from Holland to win a prize — the salute is all the more richly deserved since I saw him and his wife in the car in the heart of the City of London the following day. prior to their motoring to Cardiff and on to North Wales to continue their holiday.
If their example makes you feel ashamed for leaving your car in the garage, I can only say, dear reader — ‘Good — the remedy to a twinge of conscience is in your hands’. But I digress (not for the first time) and must comment on the driving tests, which being carried out in ideal weather conditions were at their best; complicated enough to ensure interest (and error!) yet with two runs at the first two even the novice entrant was able to produce good times the second time round. Whilst, therefore, the gap between the experts and the novice was great on the first runs, the second added excitement by forcing the experts to speed up at the cost of errors and produced an exciting and open competition. Frankly I cannot remember enjoying spectating more and I know at least one ‘first timer’ to whom I spoke who is now hooked and waiting for next year!
The final event before the prize giving was the cavalcade — and what a cavalcade run in a different manner this year with the 20 or so cars involved circulating round the arena together for several laps which was a wonderful spectacle. Missing marques — a deficit of TA21s this year and only one Firefly (that I could see) though that a beautiful example from Cornwall and a real credit to its owner and the Club. No front wheel drive cars — a sad omission. Moments of shame — an Alvis being loaded on to a trailer for the homeward journey, not a special or a one-off racing machine, but a perfectly roadworthy mechanically sound running car — surely this has to be plumbing the very depths of degradation for the marque — it spoiled the end of a super day and I hope never to see it hap-pen again; Austin and similar yes, but an Alvis on a trailer — what are things coming to!