One of our visitors on our Open Day on 30th November 2018 was an Alvis apprentice in the 1960s who had worked in the service department. He brought with him his apprentice agreement, a dinner menu and a photograph which he kindly let us copy.
Mike Dunn commented “I remember Ken Davies well even though it was over 52 years ago, so he must have been special!”
Tribute to Ken Davies, ex Alvis Apprentice.
In 1965 there was a friendly take-over of Alvis by Rover. At the time we had just started a design for the TA30 car to replace the Alvis TF21 3-litre of which production would end in May 1967. I met the Rover Engineering Director Peter Wilks and their Chief Engineer, Future Projects Spen King and was pleased when Spen involved us in the P6BS project. Spen and his designer Gordon Bashford had visualised a mid-engine 3-seat high performance car using the Rover 3.5 litre V8 and P6 rear suspension but otherwise all new. We were to design and build a prototype car using a new body (with electricals) to be designed by Rover Body Engineering. The car was to be the P6BS and Spen specified the weight target for the car. Rover Body and Alvis had their own targets and I felt that we had to be on our mettle to produce an efficient design. I guessed that the body might finish up overweight but Alvis engineers over the years had taken a pride in keeping our cars simple and respectably light. During my early career at Ford one of my assignments was as a Stress Engineer and I was confident that we had a good chance of beating our target after I had selected a young engineer, Ken Davies to be the stress engineer for the project. He had performed well in his HND exams and he was eager to take an active role as the only stressman on our components. I specified the dynamic loadings and told him to monitor the component designs and report any the he considered either over-stressed or overweight.
We started the project on the first of January 1966 and I drove the completed car on August 12 just over 7 months later.
Ken set to work and we were delighted when we beat our target by more than 12lbs. Fortune smiled on one component, a pulley for the toothed belt primary drive on which a dimensioning error made the pulley much thinner than had been recommended. However the resulting pulley proved to fully up to the job.
It was good to read about Ken and I am sure that he has fulfilled his early promise.