We like Discoveries, not just that bewildering array of Jaguar Land Rover products, but Alvis products that turn up from the past. In the last couple of weeks the Inbox contained details of a Speed 20 unknown for forty years and the new owner, Club member, knew more about it than we did. Sadly another chopped Charlesworth saloon to make a tourer. If owners don’t join the Club or use Alvis for their servicing and spares, their cars fall into the category of LHO (last heard of) a long time ago, state unknown.
We were also delighted to receive a photo of another TC108G Graber which hadn’t been heard of for a very long time, the history is coming our way shortly but probably falls into the category of long term family ownership. As all Grabers differ in detail the side profile is interesting, given it was completed in 1957.Another surprise was a request from Nigel Smith who is writing a book on Lancefield and wanted confirmation of the Alvis products which he had carefully researched in the VSCC library. We were able to confirm that seventeen Alvis are known to have been made but only two currently survive in the hands of Club members. A new page under the Coachwork section will appear shortly but if you have details of the history of any Lancefield Alvis, we and Nigel would be pleased to hear from you.Do you own a 1927 SD 12/50 Carbodies Beetleback registered NF 6195? If so, an enquirer has some documentation for you dating back before 1982. Leave a comment if it is you or you know who owns it.
The trustees are meeting this weekend to review the past year and more importantly to determine what happens next. Sunday is St George’s Day and Drive-It Day and we shall be taking a few Alvis friends to the east coast to visit the Model Car Museum at Mumby, near Alford, and then take the sea air at Huttoft Car Terrace, the nearest you can get an uninterrupted view of the sea by car.
It is said we are all only six people removed from everyone in the world but if you are an Alvis Owner it could be fewer. Three examples arose recently.
Clive Taylor is collating material for a series of books on Alvis in Competition and his plea for information has yielded some good results via the usual sources of the AOC, the VSCC and the Register. So when the current owner of the ex-Birkin Speed 20 got in touch it generated interest in its history. We were able to make contact with a previous owner who was delighted to share his information and in the process he asked about two other Alvis he had owned, not least the ex-Le Mans front wheel drive WK 8045 and a TA14 which were also researched.
The photo caption of the Fischlin Speed 20 in the February Bulletin omitted to mention the man in front of the car is Patrick Rollet, President of FIVA and the brains behind the Fougeres Rally, popular with Alvis folk. The Fischlins acquired a Graber cabriolet a few years ago, a well known car, but they hadn’t known that the first owner, Cookson, was Patrick’s wife’s godfather. We met up with the Fischlins for lunch yesterday and exchanged some car books. Perusing the VCCSR’s Revue annuelle 2016, I came across this photo – a Speed 20 not known to the AOC for some years – a Rivers Fletcher special chassis 11859. More material for Clive’s book.
Last month Neil Millington came across a business park in Yorkshire that had office space to let and enquired on behalf of the Trust. He left a message on the answering machine. The next day just happened to be when a few Alvis friends had decided to have an away day in Yorkshire and were meeting for lunch. I thought he was having a joke when he said he had received a call back, the lady who called was most enthusiastic, even knew what an Alvis was and would welcome the AAT as a tenant. It turned out that not only was the property manager the niece of an enthusiastic TD21 owner but that the current owner of the park was in the process of researching the car owning history of the previous owner of the park who, we had discovered from looking at their website, was a serial Alvis owner.
Eliane Schleiffer has announced this year’s Graber Treffen is being held in the Lucerne area on May 27/28 staying at the Hotel Waldegg in Engelberg, one we enjoyed on the 2005 Swiss Tour, and displaying the cars at the Swiss Classic World show on the Sunday. If you are a Graber owner and have not received the invitation, leave a comment.
We start the New Year with extracts from Bulletin 161 and a reminder of what we do….
“preserve the Archives (any objects, information, or data relevant to Alvis vehicles, or personalities, of any era) which have belonged to the Alvis Owner Club;
obtain and preserve such further Archives as the Trustees think suitable and desirable;
allow access to the Archives by members of the Alvis Owner Club and anyone with an interest in Alvis vehicles at such times and upon such terms as the Trustees shall reasonably decide”.
One of our completed projects is the digitisation of the Bulletins of the AOC which are still available on a DVD. If you would like to have one please leave a comment at the end of this post.
Alvis were still making cars in January 1967 and Bulletin 161 makes interesting reading:
Regular visitors to the website may have noticed some changes designed to make navigation easier. Instead of header bars of several topics there is now an alphabetical index down the right hand side of the page.
Have a look at the new layout and in particular, published today, is a page on RESTORATION STORIES starting with Chris Chilcott’s latest acquisition.
Several other Restoration Stories new pages have been included and some older posts incorporated into them. Older posts can now be found by date or subject. Provision has been made to ASK A QUESTION and to UPDATE YOUR DETAILS.
The Alvis Owner Club Stand this year supports the Show’s theme “Heroes” by featuring two of the cars of Douglas Bader. The show runs from November 11 – 13 (Friday-Sunday) http://www.necclassicmotorshow.com
Bader lost his legs in 1931 then rejoined the air force in October 1939 and was declared fit to fly in February 1940 after war had broken out.
In August 1941 he was shot down in France and was a prisoner of war in Germany where he escaped and recaptured and then transferred to Colditz. This story was documented by military historian Mark Felton in a book called “Zero Night”
Next were two TD21 dropheads before moving on to his final TE21 DHC which is also on show.
Douglas Bader was not shy of adventure, so the fact that he stuck with Alvis cars until well after the end of their production, is testimony to their quality and performance.
He was also a member of the AOC and appeared at the 1972 National Alvis Day at Crystal Palace where he led the cavalcade with J.J. Parkes, who was Chairman and Managing Director of Alvis Limited from 1946 to 1973.
For more Bader photos click on Bader
Also on show – a 1958 Graber TC108G first owned by Madame Ceppi of Leon Frésard S.A. of Bossecourt in Switzerland who made presentation boxes for watches. She part-exchanged it for a Graber TF21 in 1966.The display includes two Speed 20s, a Charlesworth drophead and a Vanden Plas 2-door saloon.NEC photos by Paddy Steel
The Lake Hotel at Llangammach Wells was first visited for an AOC Welsh weekend event in 1997, organised by the late Ken Cameron. Ann and Hugh Bradnum took it over in 2005 and revived it for 2016 in memory of Ken and Pat Cameron. An impressive array of Alvis took part.
The standard wording on the daily news sheet is “it will be drier tomorrow” but the wipers were not needed.