Our cars perhaps give the aura of quiet restrained English craftsmanship (O.K. so maybe not the TBs).
It is sometimes good to remember the hardships that people went through to produce them and the dreams they fulfilled.
Once such small body builder in Norfolk was set up in 1946 by Ian Duncan an aeronautical engineer.
An interesting ‘Global Ping Pong’ of information about 2 Duncan cars showed how there is always more we can learn. A New Zealand visitor to Snetterton spotted a delightful pale yellow Duncan, see chassis 21861 in The Gallery. This car had been restored and painted in a similar cream/maize colour to the original Duncan used for marketing purposes, chassis 20998, first owned by former racing driver Mrs Kay Petre. This lady alone is worth noting, at 4ft 10ins she raced prewar cars and was most noted for racing a 10.5 litre Delage, must have been some sight. The Snetterton car and a possible 2nd Duncan were then written up in a New Zealand Alvis publication. The Article was spotted by our American Alvis enthusiast and passed to the writer. Contact was made with the owner of the Duncans and their provenance established. The conversation became extremely interesting when it turned out that the owner is the son of the former Duncan Works Manager, David Rogerson. There are no doubt many more stories to come but one unpublished tale shows the amazing coincidences that can happen. Mr Rogerson owns and runs a business fettling Austin Sevens. His main competitor mentioned he had a Duncan badge. Puzzled as to how this came about further enquiry was made. The gentleman’s mother had worked for Duncans and had been Mr Rogerson’s Secretary. As a lovely footnote the badge was given to Mr Rogerson gratis.
David Rogerson was an experimental engineer and had worked with Frank Whittle and later for Rover but was encouraged to join the new Duncan Industries (Engineers) Ltd.. One of his most amusing memories is that Ian Duncan took over the family business canning factory unit run by his brother and before anything could begin several tons of rotting curry had to be cleared. Surprising that so much curry was around in the 1940s, must have been the National Repository!
A new banner heading has been added to this site for original Data Sheets and when there is time they make quite interesting reading. When calculating weights of passengers the average weight was 150lbs so perhaps for many, so soon after Christmas, this may not make very comfortable reading. Current assessment is 168.6lbs so maybe today best not to test the springs with 4 adult passengers! It does however give us the opportunity to be inspired? It was an important assessment as it went towards ‘Laden Weight’ calculations.
Very pleased to confirm that the Disc of Alvis TA 14 (50th) Anniversary Collection ‘The Fourteen’, compiled by Michael (Mick) Fletcher and Colin Newby is now once again available to purchase. Both Mick and Colin have enormous knowledge of Fourteens and this is a book no Fourteen owner (including TBs) should be without. It includes the Data Sheets, Service Data Sheets, Brake Overhaul Manual Service Notes plus many interesting Articles and photos. Have a look under Brochures and Publications to see the book. No current plans to bring out the paper version again but you never know. The DVD is priced at £16 and is available from The Alvis Owner Club Shop, go to alvisoc.org and click on Shop. Look out for second hand copies of the paper version on EBay that occasionally come up but don’t miss the opportunity to buy the disc in case they go out of stock again.
Have a look at the main Archive site, alvisarchive.com and see/enter the photo competition with Darth Vader, not a TA 14 but fun. Also the photo competition deadline has been extended so dig out those photos.
Remember on your travels to see what Classic Car activity might be around. The Old Timer Scene is very strong in many counties and close to us in Europe, Oldtimer events are very popular. Tourist Offices, magazines and the Internet can all point us to interesting events and we may even get to see a Fourteen. A good example of what to watch out for is The Swiss Classic British Car Meeting at Morges, Switzerland on the 1st October 2016. This gathering should feature over 1500 cars and motorbikes and is an example of what can be found.
Finally we have now arrived in 2016, the 70th Anniversary of the commencement of Fourteen production. On the main Alvis Archive site there is a new introduction article for the site being posted any day now and this features some of the historical background to
Hopefully many will have their plans in place to join in the Anniversary Celebrations in May, see you there.