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








PGY 3E – where are you now?

The black Graber dhc which had been parked by the kerbside for close on an hour was discovered on the return of its owner to be in the custody of not one but two traffic wardens. “This yours, then?” queried the taller somewhat curtly, his right hand moving, it seemed, almost imperceptibly towards his top pocket.  Suppressing a strong desire to deny any association with the vehicle, the accused reluctantly admitted ownership.  He was more than a little startled by the warmth of the rejoinder, “Lovely cars, them. I can well remember my boss buying one about ten years ago. Just like this one, it was.”

The speaker examined the car more closely.  “Actually his was a golden sand convertible with automatic transmission, and it was the single headlamp model. He imported it from the Continent and sent me over to Heathrow to pay the import duty – nigh on £600 – and to drive it home for him.  He’d just bought it from James Mason.”

The far-away gleam faded slowly from his eye.  “Ah well, we’d better get on.  Mind how you go, sir.”  From an obscure corner of the AOC Bulletin 302, April 1979 – for more of this story click on Where are they now?

Now we have catalogued the Ken Cameron collection the TE21 page has been updated to include the Lucas parts lists for this model and the TF21. If you own a TE or TF and would like a pdf copy of the list please leave a comment.

Idris Francis

Speed 25 with Idris Francis at South East Alvis Day 2001


We are saddened to learn that our Follower Idris Francis succumbed to cancer last Friday at the age of 79. Best known for his restoration and long ownership of his Speed 25 Charlesworth (recorded in Bulletin 323)  he had been an Alvis driver since 1969 with a TD21 drophead and later a TE 21 drophead, together with a 4.3 Rod Jolley short chassis  tourer and finally a fine Speed 25 saloon. He was an ardent Brexiteer, inventor and electrical genius, inventing the joy stick for wheelchair users.

Adam Gilchrist has advised that the funeral will be held on March 1st at 1pm at South West Middlesex Crematorium, Hounslow Road, Hanworth, Feltham TW13 5JH.

A Scottish Album

Now seeing the light of day since being deposited at the Herbert this selection of photographs, which we assume was assembled by Graham Bissett, deserves its own page for the breadth of Alvis models it records bought new or owned in Scotland.By sheer coincidence we also received some more old photos from the collection of the late Neil Lynch which includes this one of the Speed 25 pictured above in later special guise.

13367 Speed 25 BVC 834

The Scottish Album starts with “Pop” Brown – click Scottish


Additions to the Collection

The continuous process of cataloguing existing and incoming material has inspired some more new pages and additions to existing ones.

23574 TB14 ECL 123 Georgano Beaulieu March 1978

The Nick Georgano Collection of photos now has its own page and related articles – click Georgano

Retrieved from the Herbert is this photo from 1967…

Sammy Davis aged 80 1967 NAD Crystal Palace with Gerry Dunham – Ernest Shenton can be seen over the G


In order to test our latest donation of a VCR to complement our DVD playing monitor we found this in our VHS library……


which works very well…..To read about Sammy’s part in the 1929 Le Mans race click Sammy Davis

This photo from a viewer also completed the page on Police cars with some nice stories…

26734 3333 NE and Wolseley 6/110 5229 ND Police driving school skid pan

Click on Police cars

We have also been busy collating Aero material and this publicity photo from 1956 when Leonides engine production was at its peak poses the question – can you identify this plane?

Aero engines