The forecast weather only dampened the driving test competitors on Sunday but the whole weekend was otherwise enjoyed in glorious summer weather. There must have been hundreds of photos taken and so final entries into the Photo Competition are now invited. More photos can be found on
A couple of recent questions about Alvis cars for sale remind us that careful enquiries about provenance are often readily answered by Model Secretaries and the published Model Registers.
The Registers record the original coachbuilder and configuration. As long as you have reliable numbers to work on you can verify if a tourer or drophead was originally a saloon. A devious seller may provide documentation to support originality, or even alter numbers. The fact that Alvis themselves also altered numbers adds to the doubts that might surround a particular car. The advice is therefore to do your research before you buy, especially if originality is what you seek.
The copy build sheet shows someone added the words Tourer. Suspicion was aroused because of the different type face. The Register shows the car was a saloon.
Photos have been added to the Speed Models page to record the current bodies on two original saloons, 14626 and 13687.
Meanwhile as an update of these desirable Cross & Ellis tourers, one of the four Edinburgh Police cars (BSC 307-310) has now been imported to the UK by Richard Proctor from an Australian restoration and reunited with its BSC 310 identity.
The vintage and post vintage cars are often restored with new bodies – here is one recent example….
The later cars are also subject to alteration or decapitation. For those needing to know how the original hoods should look here are the Park Ward archive pictures of their construction.
More entries have been added to the Photo Competition page and more are welcome. A few new photos have been included on other pages.
Who is the young lady wearing the latest in fashion – a dress with the AOC motif? Dave Culshaw writes “I am discounting Janet Davey from the photo, as Norman did not join until April 1962. However there are three possibilities, given the probable link with Heston 1956/7 Firstly the brothers Birks … members 13 and 718 respectively ( there was something about the latter in a Bulletin not all that long ago from an antipodean source). Then… John Brownbridge ( Member 55) had a daughter. The third possibility is Albert Armitt ( member 824) A year or two back his daughter rang me in order to discover if his former Alvis ( 21536 /JP6741 ) still existed. And yes, I located the car which was then in the Goole area. Of the three, I’d guess at JB, given his known outgoing nature, and flair for promotion.”
Further research show the car and girl in the 1959 Alvis Day film….here is a clip….
This week sees the culmination of amazing work going on in both the UK and Switzerland recording and displaying our motoring history. The Swiss Car Register officially opens its new Archive Building in Safenwil on Friday and Coventry Transport Museum opens its new £9.5m extension on Saturday.
On Sunday 21st June Ken and Sheila Day celebrate their 70th Wedding Anniversary. We send our congratulations and best wishes for an enjoyable day with their family and friends. Ken is President Emeritus of the Alvis Owner Club and member number 199.
The Alvis driving season is well under way and we welcome more entries to the Photo Competition. An account of the Graber Treffen 2015 is on the Swiss Tours page.
Peter Aeschlimann has sent photos of his 1955 Graber TC21/100 Special coupe which he is restoring in Switzerland. It first belonged to a surgeon who experienced overheating problems with the car. His solution seems quite radical – has anyone seen anything similar?
When you spot an Alvis, you may want to know more about it, especially if it for sale. Where has it been for the last 60 years? Is it genuine, original and “matching numbers”? What do matching numbers actually mean?
Alvis numbered their cars when they were built. The unique identifier is the chassis number. Alvis never built complete cars, the chassis went to a coachbuilder to be completed so there is also a body number. Engines were also numbered.
To confuse matters further there was also a Car Number on pre war models which was different from the chassis and engine numbers. To find out any of these numbers you need to lift the bonnet.
The next most important number is the registration. Most Alvis were registered new in the UK but many were exported. Alvis car production ceased in 1967 and the UK registration system in place up until then makes it possible to detect both where the car was registered and when. After 1963 a suffix letter indicated the year of registration so B, C, D, E and F are common suffixes on TE and TF21s indicating registration in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967. Prior to 1964 you need a Glass’s Guide to find the date. You can also download www.cvpg.co.uk/REG.pdf which summarises what you need.
Personal number plates were prevalent when Alvis were new so an Alvis may have had several registration numbers in its life because of number retention. It may also have been exported and imported. This is where the AOC Model Registers (for a list click AOC Model Registers) can be very useful as they record owners and numbers that have been notified to the Club. Together with the archive of the Alvis Company it is usually possible to build a history file of a particular Alvis. So, as archivists we can help provide any owner, or prospective owner, with a history of an Alvis. That’s what we do. We can also help reclaim an original registration number that has been lost.
If you have any questions about numbers or have spotted an Alvis, please leave a comment below. All comments are moderated. You can also notify the purchase or sale of an Alvis by leaving a comment.
The trustees met in October at Brooklands and Gaydon (see the Trustees meet page), visited the Herbert in Coventry and a couple of former officials of the AOC who have donated some archive material. This prompted us to revisit the list of museums with Alvis material which was compiled some time ago and to update the list of Alvis vehicles that are on public show.
There are exciting changes at both the Coventry Transport Museum and Gaydon which both have Alvis exhibits and expansion plans currently underway.
News of the loss of two former AOC General Secretaries this year is recorded on the Alvis People page.
Another article is published on the PPS by Dave Culshaw page with musical connections.
The AOC is exhibiting again at the NEC Classic Car Show (Friday 14th November for three days) with a Speed Models theme put together by Steve Horne using some of the material from the archives.
Most of the three-litre cars’ factory records show the original colour of the car as it was delivered. The Chairman of Alvis, J J Parkes, was said to prefer seal grey for his cars while the Sales Director insisted on more striking colours. So white was often chosen for show cars, as it was by Graber, and once sold they were repainted in more subtle shades of grey. So, here is the choice offered by the factory:
If your chassis was sent to Graber then the colour was the choice of the customer, such as
Earlier this year we asked if anyone had owned their Alvis longer than Walter Williamson, member 589 who joined the AOC in 1955 with a 1935 Firebird 17514, KY 4727. Walter has owned his Speed 20 SB AYN 15 since 1961. Both he, his wife and the Speed 20 were born in 1934 so they celebrated 240 years together, with a few Alvis friends.
At IAW we offered both our DVD of Bulletins and Ken Day’s fourth edition of “The Story of the Red Triangle” at a take away price of £50. We can extend this offer now to those who were unable to find time to visit Yellow Birch and to those unable to attend the weekend. See the Publications page to find out how to order.