Tudor Francis writes:

It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of Tony Phillips-Smith. He died on Sunday 26th May, in a nursing home at Mullion, Cornwall. His funeral will be held on Monday 10th June at :

Camborne Crematorium Puggis Hill, Reskadinmick,TR14 0BL  at 2.00 pm.

Tony was perhaps better known as Apsley (APS…) and was a talented artist. His drawings and cartoons were a regular feature of the Calendar (of which he was an editor for many years), and he produced Christmas cards for both the Alvis Owner Cub and Coast Watch. He also authored several books. In October 1998 he co-organized the first Remembrance of Maurice Harvey event on the 75th anniversary of Harvey’s Brooklands victory, and this became an annual event that he organized up until last year. He organized an annual summer picnic and for  many years organized the far South  West Christmas lunch. When the SW Section hosted the IAW in 2013 Tony produced the programme, complete with his line drawings. For all his talents he was very modest and a delight to work with.

A gentle giant of a man, softly spoken, a mischievous sense of humour and such a broad smile.

I am sure that you join with me in sending our sympathies to his wife Jane.

funeral notice

Motoring Art

On Saturday the Graber Freunde met in the Jura for their annual Treffen, more details and photos in Swiss Meetings

En route to Switzerland, 368 miles on day one, first stop Hotel du Golf, Chamouille

Open Saturdays

We shall be open to visitors this coming Saturday, 18th May, while we continue our cataloguing, and also on Saturday June 15th when AOC members taking part in the Longstone Run during the York based International Weekend will be making a pit stop. Our regular open Wednesdays continue in other weeks.

We are pleased to announce that Chris Taylor has secured some magnificent safes to house our treasures which will be stored off site.

A link to 1933 film clip of a Speed 20 can be found on ALFLIX

Several Graber Alvis will be gathering as part of the display at Bicester’s Super Scramble on Sunday 23rd June and tickets are now on sale here.


We always appreciate prior warning of visitors to ensure you have easy access to our offices, so please leave a reply if you are planning to drop in.


Where are you now?

A couple of Speed model photos came our way from past owners seeking news of their fate

Mike Hartley met the daughter of Keith Murray who used to own this car and she was somewhat intrigued to find out if the car still exists and maybe contact the present owner.
AWM 346 – do you survive?

and a story told by a past owner wondering why the unknown new owner does not appear to have an interest in learning its history, see the story of 24169

Alvis Alwil 3 Litre

Details of the proposed Alvis Centenary celebration in Germany are here – Frankfurt Exhibition 2020

A fabulous period photo from AOC Bulletin 446 shows a car we know is still in good hands in Yorkshire

As well as appointing a new Trustee last month, Chris Taylor, I am pleased to welcome a new assistant proofreader, Lottie, who has the role previously held by the lovely Samantha

Twenty five years ago

From the April 1994 AOC Bulletin, number 415….

John Wheeley wrote on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Alvis which as a valuable reference for current writers is reproduced in 100 Years.

Michael White of Kerikeri, New Zealand, hankers after his 1928 14/75 which he owned in 1950 – bought for a bargain £100 and sold at a £15 profit. The registration was TV 4933, chassis 6984,  last heard of more than 20 years ago in the hands of V F Fisken of Forfar.

Alvis are continuing to acquire new businesses and have recently bought Unipower of Watford for an initial £2m. Unipower own some of the former assets of British Leyland’s heavy truck division, Scammell, whose wheel nuts were greatly admired by aficionados. The company have a £30m. order book for tank transporters etc.

Congratulations to Chris Podger and his navigator on obtaining a class award in his 4.3 Alvis during Britain’s latest historic rally, the Lands End to John 0′ Groats “Le Jog” Chris was the only one of three Alvis starters to finish. Much appreciated, I understand, were Arthur Fairburn’s efforts in providing sustenance at a freezing Scottish check point (another opportunity to open the bottle Arthur?)

John Hay of Abergavenny has recently bought the ex-Stan Hicken Duncan-bodied TA14. At some time its registration number was changed. Originally it was FGD 666; John wonders of any member remembers it, and if so he would like to hear from them. (Is it true that the DVLC will not issue 666 numbers because of devilish connotations?)

All the mentioned members and cars are still around twenty five years later. TY 4933 has recently returned to the road in the hands of Dan Geoghegan at Bicester Heritage. In 1994 Dan was Speed 20 SC Model Secretary and still owns one.

Also on a vintage theme was….

415 also included the Celebrity Register compiled by Dave Culshaw which ran to several pages in preparation for the “International” organised by the Northern Section of the AOC, see below. A much expanded version is in the process of preparation to be published later this year. to…..  Plymouth Ho! a Speed 20 SA special and the story of Henry Williamson’s car which is now included on the  Silver Eagle  page.

Also included were




News update

A stream of welcome visitors to Bowcliffe during the last few weeks has inspired further progress in cataloguing and organising our material. Michael Edwards had a brief visit to the Drivers Club to see the motoring art on show and leave some copies of his new book “Apsley and Old Cars” with us for sale to visitors. Having now had the chance to touch and read it in detail we can only heartily recommend it for leaving a smile on your face. Visitors to Bowcliffe can buy a copy while stocks last or otherwise order direct from here where you can also buy individual prints of your favourite cartoon.

Fourteen owners might like this one, and if you have not visited the Fourteen website lately Eileen has updated her blog with much useful information.

The following week we spent the morning sorting out our brochure collection in readiness for a visit from Alice Salter, a graphic designer engaged by the AOC for their Centenary publications. She particularly liked the late 1920s brochures. During the half hour visit we were able to show her father David Salter our new picture collection of Alvis vehicles, often overlooked by car owners as the major contributor to the Alvis company profits and sustainability as car makers in the later years.To help those searching for Centenary material we have added a new page with Press cuttings of company news.

Our next meeting included two regular visitors of Chris Bluer who has been scanning records and photographs to continue our major project of digitising everything, and Chris Taylor, long standing AOC member, master locksmith and expert on most things Alvis, who has agreed to join us as a Trustee of AAT and lower the average age of the trustees slightly. We were also joined at lunch by one of our patrons, Albert Ainsworth, who was celebrating his 90th birthday and an inspiration to us all.

Yesterday, a visitor to Bowcliffe’s Garden Tour overheard us talking Alvis at lunch and confided his ownership of a Silver Eagle, a Speed 25 in the past and the fact that his father designed the 12/70 for Mulliners of Birmingham. A new page has been added to the Coachwork section reproducing the 1992 AOC Bulletin article by Stuart Peck.

As a vintage Sunbeam owner, he discussed the problems of old car clubs, the ageing and declining membership and the lack of committed volunteers which we also observe. All this was in the context of a changing future at Bowcliffe where Audi were holding the press launch event of the e-Tron (all electric) and we were able to study the plans for the expansion of the Drivers Club facilities to include “The Wheel” convention centre and the replacement of our building by “The Gatehouse”, a new two storey office block.

Meanwhile encouraging news of cars being restored comes our way, including pre-war saloons such as this 4.3.


The coachbuilder had recommended a replica Vanden Plas tourer, but the owner has resisted the quick profit and is undertaking a proper restoration which will no doubt cost more than the car is worth.

How much will the £72k Audi e-Tron be worth in ten years’ time?

Here is another saloon that was restored recently and is now for sale in New Zealand. Ian Sykes sent pictures during restoration and when completed in 2016 of a Speed 20 Charlesworth saloon he was asked to purchase for a New Zealander at Brightwells auction in 2009.

11919 Speed 20 SC BMV7

The car was then shipped to NZ and restored for the owner by a very experienced engineer in his private garage.


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News from Switzerland includes the announcement of a winter 2019 exhibition of “Graber” at the Pantheon in Basel from October. This sounds like a good reason to organise another coach trip and to visit the Swiss Car Register Archives.

This car was on show at the Pantheon in Basel with other Graber bodied cars in a Swiss Carrossiers exhibition – AAT Fox Collection March 5th 2014.


The Centenary

2019 promises a number of extra events of interest to Alvis owners including centenary celebrations in a number of countries. A new page  100 Years sets out the background for those not familiar with the history of the company with further links for more detail, including a contemporary article on the Rover Alvis BS.

The Down Under Tour starts on 20th March.

In April six Alvis cars are participating in The Flying Scotsman Rally.

In Switzerland several exhibitions feature Alvis cars, see Swiss Meetings, and later in the year there are exhibitions in the Netherlands and Germany.


Where there’s a will

A Member is seeking an answer to a question which we thought should be shared with you and another has asked for guidance of including the Trust in their will.

Like many other enthusiasts, in more than sixty years I’ve acquired quite a large collection and variety of books and other paperwork; some of which are now quite rare, and it would be nice to think that in due course they will be of use to others for enjoyment and reference. In the absence of any relatives or acquaintances who would treasure them no doubt the Trust should be the recipient of all those which meet your criteria. While limited space, and possibility the terms of your charitable status, might rule out having the whole lot delivered to you, have you a definition of those items which you would welcome? Unfortunately there is no inventory because every time I start to make one it never gets beyond the first book which has to be taken out to check its publication date or edition — it’s always too tempting to re-read it and the inventory gets no further. Apart from the obvious examples my Executors are unlikely to be able to decide with any certainty which books meet your requirements, but when the need arises there should be an opportunity for someone to view the library and select any suitable items.

Generally, a donated item will be accepted unless it duplicates something already held and permission has not been given for it to be disposed of at the Trustees’ discretion, there is insufficient storage space or there is only a tenuous connection to Alvis.

We would not dispose of an accessioned artefact unless the donor has given permission for its disposal, or it is possible to trade it in order to acquire a superior specimen, or it cannot be kept safely (in which case it is expected that it should be passed to another charity or museum with more suitable resources).

Where possible we will ask potential donors to sign an Entry Form stating their expectations or requirements including whether they may be sent on loan to a suitable museum to allow for proper preservation, security and enhanced public access.

Since the donation may be made by Executors it is advisable for donors to be as specific as possible as to what is to be included and whether it may be disposed of.

If you have any other questions, please leave a reply. A separate page sets out our Collections Policy

The 1955 Show car, TC108G prototype that J J Parkes used as a development car for the TD21, registered TDU 810. Now residing with a lady owner in Germany.

Also published today is a compendium of articles on John J Parkes