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.
Entry No: 10 – The Royal Automobile Club’s 1938 Alvis 4.3 Short Chassis Tourer driven by the Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club, Mr Tom Purves, accompanied by Mrs Purves, pictured at Bowhill (the home of The Duke & Duchess of Buccleuch) in the Scottish Borders on DAY 3. Mr Tom Purves is a former CEO of Rolls-Royce Motors.
A Re-enactment of the First 1000 Mile Run organised by the Royal Automobile Club in 1900 – Sunday 13th – Saturday 19th July
Day 3 – Tuesday 15 July, on the section Preston to Edinburgh, saw the cars arrive at Bowhill, the splendid residence of the Duke & Duchess of Buccluech in the Scottish Borders Following afternoon tea, a series of tests took place in the grounds of the estate before a main road run to Edinburgh, where the social highlight of the week took place aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia.
At this point in the event, Entry No. 18 Jose Romao de Sousa & Maria Romao de Sousa (PRT) in the 1932 Alvis Speed 20 SA were placed 27th overall and 6th in Class 3 (Cars 1500cc – 2700cc).
Entry No. 10 Tom Purves, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club accompanied by Mrs Purves in the magnificent 4.3ltr Short Chassis Tourer, held the positions 30th overall and 9th in Class 4 (Cars 2700cc – 4300cc).
Entry No. 14 Francis Galashan (GBR) & Dan Geoghegan (GBR) in the 1930 Silver Eagle Sports, held the positions 29th overall and 7th in Class 3.
Entry Nos. 10 & 18 completed the course on Saturday 19th July at Woodcote Park with final placings of: Entry No. 18 – 25th overall and 4th in Class 3 and Entry No. 10 – 27th overall and 8th in Class 4.
Entry No. 14 Retired on Friday 18th July after completing the stage.
This was an an opportunity to test the search facility of the now digitised AOC Bulletins to see what has been written about this unique car before. In Reader’s Write in January 1975 Bulletin 252 there is a short history of the car.
During the weekend of 21/22 June the AOC visited Pembroke Dock – the press release is here Alvis Owner Club return to Pembroke Dock. My excuse for non-attendance was a long standing commitment to arrange suitable conveyances for our Swiss friends. Since wedding photos are not normally published in the Bulletin I’m happy to include this elegant trio….
Not a lot of people know that the canton of Aargau in Switzerland has no fewer than 43 castles and the Graber Freunde visited three of them over the weekend May 31-June 1 during their 2014 Treffen! A report on the goings-on can be found on the Swiss Tours page.
Dave Culshaw has been busy again Probing and Solving and some obscure connections with mountaineering and music appear on the PPSpage.
12/50 owner Adrian Padfield has been clearing his shed “I’ve had a front spring wrapped in sacking with Alvis labels for 40+ years. A Register member was interested but it’s wider than a 12/50 spring: 45mm v. 38mm, so we think it’s for a post vintage 4 cylinder Alvis” If you can give this a good home make a comment below.
IAW 2014 has attracted so many entries that if you want your Alvis to be in the main display area you need to send in your entry form right away. There are (or were) 9 spaces left. But there is an Annexe Alvis Car Park so still send in your form so as not to miss the event of the year. More information: www.alvisevents.wordpress.com
Contrary to what is reported in Bulletin 547, Graham Keighley has not digitised the Car Records but has restored and collated the record cards and put them in Lever Arch files by Model for reference purposes. Digital copies of these cards will not be available to members.