Jottings

31st October 2017 – My visit to the Oldtimermesse St Gallen was one of many during a short trip to eastern Switzerland thanks to Ralph Schwarz who chauffeured his newly acquired “as new” (apart from the dreaded sagging headliner) “Youngtimer” 1997 Jaguar XJ 3.2 V8 to visit Peter Fischer who is seeking a new custodian for his Alvis Graber TC108G Cars seeking new custodians. Later in the day we saw an early TD21 which had been restored in Poland and recently had a replacement gearbox from Chris Prince.

After this we made a trip to Bussgang where Ralph’s son Michael sells STADLER trains to the UK and other markets. A fascinating tour of a modern engineering plant, 8 tons of aluminium turned into a railway carriage and older rolling stock restored to new. Coincidentally I was dressed to match the latest product. www.stadlerrail.com

Actually the main purpose of the visit had been to go to Dornbirn in Austria and the Vonier Rolls Royce Museum. A floor of Phantoms and Ghosts in various states was fascinating as were all the bits and pieces of British 1920s and 1930s. A minor “find” was this…

avantime

Our conveyance for this trip was another Youngtimer of great charm and was with a selling plate at the show. With pillarless design and a glass roof, it was a pleasure to ride in Swiss and Austrian scenery.

Amongst the Graber owners we met was Christoph Grohe who is on the Selection Committee for the Concours d’Elegance Suisse at Chateau de Coppet, 22-24 June 2018 where he hopes to feature Graber bodied cars www.ConcoursdEleganceSuisse.com .


14th September 2017 – It has been something of a Crested Eagle few days with a new custodian for DGY 755 learning its extensive history, a log book for a TD18.82 appearing on Ebay spotted by Chris Taylor with a previously unknown registration and owner and also a mention on www.zwischengas.com  of my first Alvis, a TF19.82 6 light. This car was being auctioned in Geneva in 1977 (long after I parted with it for £200 or so). As usual with archive stuff, one thing led to another.

The Christie’s auction at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1977 was when £1 = 4.2 Swiss francs. 44 cars with a total value of around one million Swiss francs were offered. Automobile Review editor and Graber enthusiast Roger Gloor reported on the auction in full, “Geneva auction was not a sale!”, because so few cars were actually sold including the two Alvis. What is fascinating are the relative values, or rather bids, made for the cars, and of course, the values forty years later. Here’s is a small selection converted to GBP:

Bentley 4 1/4 Liter Sports Tourer (Vanden Plas) sold  £  11,667
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster         sold  £    6,190
Armstrong-Siddeley Star Sapphire 4 L     sold  £    1,619
Lancia Flaminia Coupe (Pininfarina)    sold  £        952
Rolls-Royce 20/25 HP Sport (4 door)   not sold  £    7,143
Jaguar 3 1/2 Liters Mk V Convertible (4 seats)  not sold  £    4,524
Bentley 4 1/4 liter Sports saloon (Park Ward)  not sold  £    3,810
Shelby Cobra GT 500 KR Convertible (V8, 7 L)  not sold  £    3,095
Alvis 4.3 liter 4-door sports saloon  not sold  £    2,857
Ford Thunderbird Cabriolet (V8, 4,8 L)  not sold  £    2,262
Jaguar XK 150 Coupe 2 + 2 (3,4 L)  not sold  £    2,262
Alvis Crested Eagle Series TF 20’HP (4 door)  not sold  £    1,905
Facel-Vega HK 500 (Coupe 2 + 2, V8, 6.3 L) not sold  £    1,905
Triumph TR 3A Roadster (2 L) not sold  £    1,667

To put these in context I looked at Classic cars magazine of March 1977, page 10, to see the asking prices at Robbins of Putney: Bentleys – Mark VI £3,950, S2 Continental 4 door £7,950, 2-door £12,500 Concours 1964 Flying Spur £24,000.

By happy coincidence, in the same issue is a piece by George Bishop and his Alvis ownership of DON 313, now the RAC’s 4.3 short chassis tourer which after engine problems he sold on to that infamous northern specialist who pops up time after time. Worth a read…

….and of course a look at the AOC Calendar of the same date shows:

1936 3.5-litre Special, attractive pointed tail body. Mechanically rebuilt. Used successfully in VSCC event, with road equipment, ready for season. Offers around £3,000.

TA 21 Saloon, unused for some time, partly restored, in good running order. Wings off, but ready for fitting. Tow away. First £100.

1954 Alvis Grey Lady TC100 complete but partly dismantled. Towable. Offers around £180.

1963 TD 21 light blue, 5-speed manual. New braking system, exhaust, tyres, battery, carpets, etc. New MoT. One previous owner, £875 o.n.o.

1964 TE 21. Wire wheels. 5-speed box. Radio. Superb condition throughout, low mileage, £950

Few pre-war cars were on offer.

New cars reviewed in Classic Cars included the Alfetta GT at £3,800 the Saab 99 Turbo at £5000 and the Cortina 2000E Ghia at £3,273.

I was driving the firm’s 2000E at the time in Jamaica (a horrid example) and bought a new Triumph Spitfire on return to the UK, about £1,700 I seem to remember, having been persuaded by the Triumph dealer in Reigate that a second-hand Stag was not a good choice. I had hoped my Graber’s restoration would be complete by then, but it was a further two years before I collected it.