Fourteens have taken up residence all over the globe and there is always activity is going on in their worlds.
TB 14 chassis 23579 is quite a traveller having lived in England, then The Netherlands, where as a Grey car she was known as the Grey Whale. She then came back to the West Country and now lives in South Carolina. Having recently crossed the ‘pond’ she was entered into the very prestigious Amelia Island Concours Show, Florida and achieved the Class award. Up against very stiff competition from the likes of Ferrari, Delahaye, Bentley, Alfa Romeo etc.,some with professional polishers and handlers (sounds like Crufts) the award flew the flag for Alvis and was a great achievement. The immaculate presentation resulted from many hours of polishing by her owners including 20 hours on the engine alone and superb human colour coordination with the upholstery!
In Canada a major restoration, by her long term owner draws to a conclusion for Carbodies Drophead chassis 22324. She is going to be a stunning sight on the roads of Canada in the near future.
Jumping down under to New Zealand, there is a Carbodies Drophead chassis 23119 that emigrated from Wales in 1959 with her family. The photo below shows her current owner enjoying time with his father’s car in Wales. The old Jesuit saying slightly modified says ‘Give me the child growing up with the family Alvis and I will give you the future Alvis owner’ is shown to be so true time and again.
Fast forward to 2023 and the small boy is indeed become the owner of the family Alvis. Now based near Wellington, New Zealand the car is undergoing a ground up restoration and should be a magnificent sight once she is back on the road.
Another labour of love is the ongoing restoration of 3L3 based in The Netherlands. Being one of the development cars for the future 3 litre TA 21 she is more complex than a standard Mulliners Saloon and the 3 litre engine reduces the space under the bonnet. A unique car she is the only one of the 3 development cars to have survived.
Many other countries are home to active Fourteens including Ireland, France, Belgium,Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Malta, Pakistan, South Africa, Uruguay, Australia etc..
The Tickford Drophead TA 14 was designed Post War but this photo of a 1939 Rover 14 horse power 3 position Drophead Coupe shows that Tickford was certainly not designing from scratch. The rolling chassis that arrived at the works would already have had the Alvis radiator and front wings so take out the running boards, a few tweaks and you are nearly there. Salmons and Sons were the Coachbuilders before the war and renamed Tickford Ltd in 1943.
Staying with Tickfords, the son of the original owner of chassis 21630, JYF 60 would love to trace the car. We have no records as to what happened to her. Originally Grey with Red trim and Grey Hood, do you know where she is now?
An interesting video on synthetic fuels can be found on Youtube
Will this be the future for classic car owners?
On a lighter note a wonderful coffee table book is ‘Salmons & Sons’: The Tickford Coachbuilders by Denis C.Maynard. The book is available from several retailers advertising on the internet and for Tickford owners a nice addition to the library.
Carbodies owners are not left out as they have their Coachbuilder covered in ‘Carbodies The Complete Story’ by Bill Munro.
Bill has also written a book about the Alvis Saracens plus quite a lot of books on other marques.
The new 327 page Holden’s Manual, 12th edition for vintage and classic cars is now published and available. Whilst the web site gives information there is nothing like browsing the paper copy to whet the appetite for future purchases. Holdens is now part of the SNG Barrett Group who are the exclusive manufacturers and global suppliers of the Lucas Classic range of parts for classic cars. The Lucas spare parts even arrive in the iconic Lucas red and black boxes. They are also the exclusive manufacturers of Girling Classic parts for cars. The website is holden.co.uk and phone number +44 (0) 1885 488 488.
Another useful spares/parts company is SVC. They have also recently produced a new edition of their paper catalogue with the usual on line catalogue as well. With the addition of many more new parts it is another very useful catalogue. The website is s-v-c.co.uk and phone number is +44 (0) 1684 219863.
In the event that you have not yet commissioned a bath towel with the photo of your Fourteen as shown in the previous Post then how about this to tempt you. A personalised Yoga mat with the picture of your Fourteen, very useful for getting under the car.
Does anyone knows the whereabouts of Mulliners TA 14, SO 8780, chassis 23026. last heard of in the Tyne and Wear area in 2013.
In 1973 the latest thing was the opportunity to have fibreglass wings. Many of the cars had reached a low point in their value and had time outside in the rain and the cold with the resulting rust creeping across the wings. With the exciting cars such as the Lotus Elan and Daimler Dart having fibreglass bodies that modern material seemed the answer. Few cars are advertised today with fibreglass wings but they probably kept some Fourteens on the road for an extra few years through the lean times.
The J & M Classic models of TA 14s are becoming scarcer to find particularly for certain Models. Even rarer is the one off model of the only TA 14 racing car known as ‘The Tank’. Based on the historic model in the museum at Le Mans it was commissioned for TOGMAC from specialist Model builders BTS Mouldings. TOGMAC was The Old Garage Model Automobile Collection. This was a 50 year collection of model cars telling the history of the automobile and automobile racing. Sadly at the end of 2022/early 2023 the whole collection was put up for sale by Auction with the Excalibur Auction House.
The hand built resin model of The Tank had an auction estimate of £40-£60 but went for £130, a good price for the purchaser as it was not promoted to Alvis enthusiasts.
This compares seems to compare favourably with the model of the tank found in the Le Mans Museum.
When the first completed Mulliners Saloons left the Alvis factory in November 1946 there was an anticipation that these cars would be quickly snapped up and out to enthusiastic new owners. Body number M1 was allocated to Brooklands of Bond Street, Mayfair, London, one of the main Alvis Dealers. She actually stayed with them for a couple of years and after being nudged by Alvis, was only released 2 years later. Her new owner was Richard Henry Brinkley Norton the 6th Baron Grantley and Baron of Markenfield who was described as both hilarious and outrageous, his portrait is in the National Gallery. He was known as ‘The Wicked Uncle of the Film World’ because of his monocle and sinister expression. He was the Managing Director of Pinewood Studios and Chairman of the British Film Producers Association. He had the reputation as a witty raconteur and mixed with the likes of George Bernard Shaw. His wife Jean became the mistress of Lord Beaverbrook for a time. So chassis 20573, Mulliners Saloon Body No. M1, registration JLP 344 must have had a high old time whilst in his ownership. He passed away in 1954 and her whereabouts were lost. DVLA have no record of the numberplate.
Still in the 1950s when TA 14s were everyday cars this poor Mulliners was on the receiving end of her driver’s miscalculation. Stuck by floodwater under Flood Horns Bridge in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Whilst the photo is believed to be from 1955 it could have been the flood of 1958. Does anyone know the identity of the car?
Chassis 20664, NPD 968, Miss Tufnell. Sometimes, when researching material about a car, the eye is caught by the information relating to a nearby chassis number and hence Miss Tufnell’s ownership of a Sedanca Coupe by an unknown Coachbuilder came to notice. She must have been a lady of great motoring taste. Would Google have any information and the answer was yes. Miss Mary Tufnell came from a ‘good’ family as they said in those days being the granddaughter of the 13th Earl of Kellie/11th Earl of Mar. In her younger days she was a breeder of West Highland White Terriers. After the war she owned and lived in Rooksnest, Lambourn Berkshire with 3 other ladies so the Alvis no doubt came in very useful.
As always do keep an eye on the interesting items on the main Alvis Archive site.
Loads to browse through and constant updates. The photograph albums are a wonderful resource and we are still trying to match photos of some cars to their chassis numbers. A good way to pass a few hours.
Don’t forget you can get a Certificate for your car from the AAT for £40 that is a very useful additional piece of provenance.
Finally it was enjoyable to reminisce recently on the ‘good old days with another Fourteen owner. One New Year’s Eve many years ago as a teenager being found by mother applying black protective paint to the underside of the Tickford’s bonnet on the Breakfast room table. I got my come uppance as the fumes made me feel sick and I missed the New Year’s Eve party. This was matched by the tale of boiling up rusty nuts and bolts in phosphoric acid on his mother’s gas cooker and using hot water on the top of the cooker to refill a thermometer bulb with ether. Two things come to mind, how tolerant our mothers were and how did we ever manage without health and safety!