31st March 1920

On this day one hundred years ago the first experimental Alvis 10/30 car was completed. To celebrate this as best we can, here are some of the photos and messages received in the last few days…

From Hans van Tongeren in the Netherlands a small gathering at Galerie Aaldering in Brummen after the Louwman exhibition:

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14468 BTM 509

From Mark Jenkinson news that the restoration of his Speed 25 Charlesworth saloon 14468 BTM 509 will soon be completed.

 

 

From Harry Hawkins in Cumbria

9843 Speed 20 SA Charlesworth
I sent this photograph of OJ 690 some years ago and I received back in reply a photograph of the car rebuilt as an open tourer. At that time it belonged to a person living near Halstead in Essex, this would have been around 2010.
I lived at Gosfield which is 3 miles from Halstead from 1970 to 1980 and was never aware that OJ690 had been rebuilt and kept nearby! I sold the car in 1964 when I became unable to store it securely following a timing fault which I could not repair despite taking the engine out and resetting the timing several times, I was single and itinerant at the time.
9843 Alvis and Chum

I had the Austin Seven ‘Chummy’ for about a year having found it in an orchard and paying £10 for it.


From Rick Graham in Cornwall

11939 Speed 20 SC BUV 276

This photo is from your collection -owned by a person I don’t know.

11939 Speed 20 SC Vanden Plas BUV 276

I owned this car but you can see the body has been considerably modified from when I owned the car in 1965- This pic was taken at Rycotewood college in Thame where I was studying engineering.

I was about 19 here – sitting on the bonnet of my Alvis Speed 20. I come from Henley on Thames. One of my friends father worked on a farm there, and lived in a tied cottage on a remote area of the farm, and because he had a workshop we used to go down there to build motorbikes and cars, and generally cause mayhem.

One day, he mentioned an old wreck of a car that had been stored in a tumble-down barn on the place for years, so I being a fan of wrecks- usually 30’s American (My first car- at age 15, was a 1939 Hudson 112!) went and had a peer through the door. I saw the headlights, and that was it!

I found the owner through the rent he paid to the farmer, and visited him. He’d not even seen the car for years, so I got the key and had a look- you couldn’t see it for dust- about 1 inch thick, and the bonnet was open with the head off and stripped down – piles of springs everywhere, and covered in rust!

I gave him what he wanted -30 quid, and we towed it into the daylight, took it to the farm I lived on, and started on it. My main memory of that was chasing the valve springs all over when the spring clamp slipped off a couple of times – I’d never seen the 9 spring valve setup before!

Actually managed – after changing oil, stripping the carbs and distributor, and generally cleaning everything up – to get it going!! Wonderful noise!

Next thing, of course, the clutch was seized! This was freed the easy way by towing the car with a tractor around the field with the clutch in until it let go with a bang – and it was all fine from then on.

The seats were shot – so I put a couple in from some other car which happened to fit, and off I went!

I used the car for a while, without too many problems as I recall, but the fearsome fuel consumption got the better of my apprentice wage, and I was forced to retire it, then sell it. Someone had given me a spare gearbox he happened to have laying in his garage, and I sold the lot as a runner, for £110, and thought I’d made a fortune!

Went out and bought a triumph TR3, and a Triumph Tiger 110, and still had change! Never thought I’d see it again, until I came across the photo in your archive! If you could pass this to the present owner – please do. [Can do – the owner is a Follower in Sheffield]

Not that long after I got the car, the barn was pulled down, and had I not had it it would most likely been scrapped- so I’m glad I saved part of our heritage!

I’ve been doing much the same with motorbikes more recently, as they are easier to store! I recently sold my 1937 Rudge to fund a divorce and house move! I would love another Alvis – or maybe a Bristol- had 4 of those as well- 400/401s because I want a car with no computers on to see me out!!

Thanks, Rick


From David Hobbis 

Hi, in an idle moment I came across your web site and located a reasonably recent photograph of this Speed 20 which I owned in around 1962/63 having purchased her for the grand sum of £65 from a dealer who granted a discount for the ‘poor synchro’.

10083 Alvis Speed 20 SA Vanden Plas

I thought you and the current owner may be interested in this grainy photo (poorly scanned from a 35mm slide) whilst she was in my ownership. Sadly I only owned the car for about 6-8 months at the time, as a lad at the tender age of 17 years, I was interested in something modern.

10083 Vanden Plas FG 8357 1-6-1

Kind regards


From Robert Marsden

10157 KG 2417 Speed 20 SA Vanden Plas
10157 KG 2417 Speed 20 SA Vanden Plas

From Didier Katz


From George Zaidmann

14671 CUS 5

In long term ownership, and participated in the 1991 Tour of Britain, this car was first used by the Police:

Part of an impressive Glasgow Force order for FIVE Speed 25 Tourers, CUS 5 (14671), 6 (14658), 7, 8 and 9.
14671 Speed 25 CUS 5

From Tim Perks progress on the restoration of his 4.3 Charlesworth saloon


From Paul Chasney, memories of recent outings

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Tailpiece…

from a friend in the USA

and nothing to do with Alvis…

What can you see here?

Please send your photos

Seen at 2020 Antwerp Classic car (before confinement…). Congratulations with the “Alvis 100 Years” stand, it was great. I especially liked this sober yet elegant TC 21.

Kind regards

Luc Nys

25211 TC21

Thank you Luc!

We love receiving photos of Alvis both old and new. If you are sorting yours out during isolation do drop us a line at

alvisarchive@btinternet.com

and attach them in good resolution (preferably one per email).

Whether or not you have a handbook for your car, a digital version is often useful to have on a tablet or phone to refer to. If you would like one click on Handbooks.

While you are possibly spending more time at home, please think of the Trust and perhaps write the story of your Alvis.  Even more usefully, now is a good time to update your entries for the vehicle database.  Click on UPDATE YOUR DETAILS

Keep well and stay safe at home! Sit in the Alvis and think of journeys past and the ones to come. Don’t forget to check the fluid levels, pump up the tyres and grease the nipples so it’s ready to drive.

Working from home in isolation

Last Week at Bowcliffe we received a file of clippings and photos from a fellow transport enthusiast who, like us, is tidying up years of collecting stuff and finding items long forgotten. So to relieve the boredom, here are some of the more interesting ones which you might be able to help identify.Now Bluebell, as LUM was christened, resides with Ron’s grandson Simon who has created The Motorist and has added more Alvis to his collection. Bluebell is a rare car with only about 80 Tickfords built on the Fourteen chassis. Tickford then made 300 on the TA21 chassis, 19 on the TC chassis and 81 TC21/100s before being consumed by Aston Martin Lagonda.

An even rarer Fourteen is this….

Continuing the four cylinder theme, where is this 12/60 now?Following the display if his Speed 25 at the RAC, Edmund Waterhouse has written about its history – The Story of 13668

This 1973 article from Motor Sport is also a good read..

Another starring role at the RAC

A perfect match for the carpet, Edmund Waterhouse’s Speed 25 Charlesworth saloon graces the Pall Mall Rotunda this week.

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The inaugural Alvis Centenary event at the R.A.C. Pall Mall H.Q. last October has been reason enough to assemble a follow-up feature, exploring previous connections between the two organisations in greater detail.

Probably the earliest of these came about when the R.A.C.’s third President: Prince George (1902-1942), younger brother of King Edward VIII ( TE21 27259 FJF 887 D ), took up the office briefly in 1942. Back in 1929, on June 7th, Prince George had taken delivery of a Silver Eagle TA 16.95, chassis 7712, UV 2648, which was uniquely bodied for him by Lancefield Coachworks. Prince George numbered amongst his personal friends another Alvis owner, the famous society photographer Cecil Beaton,( Speed 20 SB  11231 AXU 635 ). The third in line to the throne however met a most untimely end when the Short Sunderland flying boat in which he was a passenger, crashed into a hillside in Caithness on August 25th 1942, after which the  R.A.C. Presidency was taken up by Earl Mountbatten.

The prestigious Pall Mall headquarters had also, on 19th February 1976 been the venue for a gathering  according honours to famous racing driver and journalist S.C.H. ( Sammy ) Davis. This event was attended by representatives from the Brooklands Society, B.D.C., B.R.D.C., Aston Martin, Alvis,  V.S.C.C. and  l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest  ( Le Mans ).

Some three decades later, the R.A.C. purchased, as a parade car,  one of the 4.3-litre short chassis VdP tourers ( 14340  DON 313 ) Since then, the Club has seen its asset grow considerably in value, and it is regularly driven in events by the current President: Prince Michael of Kent. The car was first supplied to a Birmingham businessman, Walter Rule Nimmo, and has had a number of characterful owners, which included Jim Bidwell-Topham, co-owner of the Aintree Race-Course, and prior to him, an individual who had been a guest in one of Her Majesty’s custodial institutions.  The accompanying photograph shows it in its original ‘battleship grey’, and is from the Peter Cameron-Clarke Collection.

The Alvis exhibited at the inaugural Centenary event in October was especially interesting, being chassis 13105, one of the 62 3.5-litre models made. It was to the order of Henken Widengren, the anglophile Swedish racing driver, then a resident of Bournemouth, who had previously owned a Silver Eagle (ch. 8108  LJ 1111), and the second SA Speed 20 made ( ch 9268  GW 15 ).   Very early in its life 13105 was upgraded to 4.3-litre specification.  Also worth mentioning is the fact that  Widengren had finished 5th at Le Mans in 1932 with an Aston Martin which he co-drove with A.C. Bertelli, which neatly provides the connection with the coachwork on 13105 and indeed that on 9268.

The foregoing represents the assemblage of a number facts included in the forthcoming Alvis book by Dave Culshaw.

Links – Speed 25

Sammy Davis

The 4.3

 

 

 

Lost Alvis friends

 

Nicholas Parsons who died today aged 96, pictured last year in Scarborough against an inappropriate sign. A film, TV and radio personality who retained his love of Alvis to the end. Photo Robin Willmott

Not an Alvis but an Atalanta, the last restoration project of Barry Ward, serial 3-litre Park Ward and Graber restorer who died unexpectedly on 20th December at the age of 55. The funeral service is on Friday 31st January at Reepham Church, near Lincoln and afterwards at the Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa. Our condolences to his parents who were to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary the weekend of his passing.

Monte Carlo Rally – 1953

Amongst some miscellaneous papers a card appeared with this painting commissioned by the late Rod Yeend prompting some research as to why it was chosen. The snowy scene depicts three ladies taking part in the 1953 Monte.

24416 TA21 LWK 226 Monte Carlo Rally Mrs Dorothy Stanley-Turner Nancy Mitchell Rosemary Fotheringham-Parker

The Rallye plate confirms it is the 23rd Monte in 1953

A Pathe News film can be found on YouTube here.

Warning -watching this will lead to other films ….

The actual car survives and is on offer for sale.