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.
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”
Douglas Bader started owning Alvis Cars with a 1954 TC21/100 Drop Head Coupe (DHC), the “Grey Lady” with Manumatic transmission.
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.
Also on show – a 1958 GraberTC108G 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.
1916 saw the introduction of the tank see http://tank100.com/ and from our archives here are some shots by Ben Lentall, Bulletin Editor, of when one joined in the Driving Tests at Midland Alvis Day 1987 at the Alvis Works on Holyhead Road ….
The 1987 Bulletins also included the first Model Registers of the Speed 20 SB, SC and SD models.
Now this little girl in Holland at the wheel of grandad’s TE21 got married in August….
If you appreciate good photography Rob Rowe has penned an article in the October 2016 Bulletin 561 which is reproduced on the Photo Competition page. More entries are welcome sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is one I took last month on the south bank of the Humber. I hadn’t spotted the birds until I zoomed in afterwards.
Nicholas Parsons is pictured taking part in “My favourite Car”
IAD is reported on by Chris Podger
Welsh members visit the birthplace of T G John
Ken Forbes reports on participating in the FIVA World Rally
The Chairman notes the lack of racing reports in recent Bulletins
Nadine Fox reports on the Graber Treffen in Switzerland
Ben Lenthall writes on Alvis Colours
Plus the usual letters and section reports.
Oh, and it’s 1996.
John Price-Williams was Editor of the monthly AOC Bulletin in 1996 – here is September’s to download and read.
To supplement the Bulletin which twenty years ago was only printed in black and white, a gallery of photos from the AOC archives of IAD 1996 has been added to the Albums and a new gallery of photos of the 1996 Graber Treffen has been added to Swiss Tours.
As a number of other marques come to terms with allegations of criminal behaviour in relation to the building of “Specials” purporting to be original cars the question of provenance (as mentioned in the August 2015 post) has raised its head again in the Alvis world.
Chris Taylor, our senior Concours Judge, asks in his latest newsletter “This brings me to seek your opinion regarding this year’s judging at International where Mick Fletcher and I were judging the pre-war entries for concours. However there were not enough cars to field full entries for all sections so, in line with standard practice, entry classes were amalgamated but that meant this year specials were put with standard cars causing a newly re-bodied special to take the top pre-war prize for concours. This has led to quite a lot of emails and I would be interested in any opinions you may have on the subject for us to get it right next year.”
So the dilemma facing the judges and organisers of events is the classification of cars. The Preservation Class introduced a couple of years ago did not attract many entries and was intended to encourage those with original cars nicely presented but not in top condition to enter the competition. This year’s criteria for judging did not include “originality”. So Alvis owners, what do you think?
Meanwhile cars are still being advertised as original or as a particular model when examination of the archives database show they are not as described. A quiet word with the advertiser will hopefully ensure that a potential buyer will not be duped. Hopefully any potential buyer will enquire of the Model Secretary before parting with large sums. We know from experience that often buyers ask us about a car after they have bought it. So, is it incumbent on publishers of adverts to insist on accurate descriptions, including chassis number, Model Type and the actual body builder if the original body on the chassis has been changed?
Alvis and their coachbuilders always used proprietary brands of light units, to their own specification, usually Lucas such as on the Park Ward cars (also used on Humber Hawks and Aston Martins). These recently acquired photos show an experiment with another contemporary car’s unit – can you name the car?
For once we were pleased the forecasters got it wrong and the threatened rain was limited to a quick shower on Sunday at 5pm on the way out of Wroxall Abbey Estate. Over 120 Alvis came to the final Midland Section hosted event a few miles west of Kenilworth. Fourteens were on parade celebrating their 70th Anniversary and TF21s joined in with their 50th including two Grabers
Meanwhile TF21 Model Secretary Tudor Francis was entered in his 1961 TD21 GraberThe oldest car there hadn’t been seen for some time….
If you have any IAW 2016 photos you would like posted in the Archive Trust’s Photo Competition, still open, email them to