Major fettling over winter can sometimes result in an engine needing to be run in.
Alvis thought of that and produced a handy running in guide that has now been put up on the Technical Section of this site. It is also very useful as a guide to keeping the engine properly set up. The booklet comprises 24 pages and it is apparent from the preface page there is little love lost for early ‘White Van Man’. To emphasis the global nature of Alvis exporting there is also a page in French.
However much Alvis fettling knowledge there is about, some problems with Alvis Cars can baffle even the experts. Fortunately the car in question here with the excessive fuel consumption, is a TA 21 but there by the grace… go Fourteens. The former head of R&D at Alvis told the story of a TA 21’s excessive fuel consumption. The problem was eventually solved on a test drive with the chief Tester as passenger. The choke control knob was being put in the open position as a hook for a handbag!
For those with access to old paper or electronic AOC Bulletins there is a very entertaining Article in Bulletin 290, April 1978, pages 60-62.
The collection process of a Carbodies they perceived to be ‘in good condition and quite complete’ was not quite as planned. Following transportation from London Paddington to Exeter the tow to the Tiverton destination was memorable.
‘At each bend on the road, however, I heard an evil ripping noise-on the third bend, I felt a sharp pain in my left ankle, and to my horror saw that the entire engine and gearbox unit was sliding back and forth across the car-it was carried only by the front axle and a chassis cross-member. The ripping noise was the front universal joint cutting its way through the transmission tunnel and floorboards, and the beginning of my ankle’. They were tough in those days.
To read further if you are without the old paper Bulletins go to email@example.com to order the disk or stick of the old Bulletins for about £30.
3 nice J&M Models available on eBay. 3 Green Duncan Saloon Models. 1 is a fixed head coupe, 1 is a drophead coupe with hood up and 1 is a drophead coupe with Hood down. Also a Black over Cream Mulliners Saloon and Maroon Carbodies Dhc with fawn Hood in raised position. There are also used 1940s Tin Plate Models promoted as the Post War Alvis Saloon.
Several TA and TB 14 Brochures are also offered for sale on eBay. An International Alvis Day Brochure still for £9.99, was your car there?
For TB 14 owners there is an original sales brochure, a nice addition to go with the car.
We tend to think of many Specials as being more recent in origin. One of the earliest dates from about 1958. The Shooting Brake body on chassis 20722 was removed and a functional pick-up body installed.
The word racing and TA 14 do not always go together. Certainly in one of the psychological word pairing tests few us when given TA 14 would respond with the word racing. We should not dismiss this seemingly unlikely combination. Chassis 21237 was originally a Mulliners Saloon but was rebodied as a competitive Special.
Competing at The Midland Sprint Curborough in 1979 she was lent by a ‘trusting’ owner! The report at the time:
‘The rain may have ruined the fun of some of the drivers, but it no doubt kept the handful of loyal supporters entertained. Stan ‘Bollards-to-the-lot-of-you’ Hicken played a merry game of skittles on his second run. His excuse was cramp in his big toe, but this did not stop him being faster than Collins in the latter‘s Speed 20 in the wet.’
Fourteens did well in the beauty stakes in 1979. Ron Buck’s beautiful Maroon Carbodies took 1st prize at the Donington Classic Car event. Well known at the time under her ARB 14 numberplate she is still going strong and back to her original numberplate PRF 865.
Some interesting Fourteens for sale if Santa did not deliver one already. On Car and Classic’s website there are currently 80 Alvis Cars for sale including 5 TA 14s and one TB 14, the latter if you win the next Lottery. There is a very nice looking Carbodies, JYE 909, chassis 22038. Price seems quite sensible at £19995. Also 2 nice Mulliners, one for Auction at Morris Leslie Vehicle Auctions on 23rd February, Guide Price £8000.
A further Drophead in Belgium and one in The Netherlands.
Whilst our cars most firmly run on dry land they can have quite a close connection to waterborne craft. The following letter from an eminent local Alvis enthusiast sheds further light on the matter.
‘car bodies instead of cruisers were being made at two Norfolk Broads yacht stations. Boat building at the time being restricted to a minimum. Graham Bunn Ltd. and Herbert Woods Ltd. of Potter Heigham solved the problem of keeping their yards in full work by constructing the wooden framework for Alvis 14hp and Healey 16hp Saloons. English Ash was the favoured material although occasionally German Beech was used. I imagine the frames were made for the Duncan bodied Alvis the firm had just set up business in North Walsham and also made bodies for Healeys.’ So is your Duncan English Ash or German Beech? Let us hope the Beech was for the Healeys.
With thoughts of cold winter weather that may come in before Spring there were some problems experienced when Fourteens were exported to Sweden when new, AOC Bulletin 311, January 1980, pages 10-11. The chassis were sensitive to the wet weather that can be experienced in the Swedish winter. Doors had insufficient sealing from driving rain, electric wires were not sufficiently insulated resulting occasionally in shorts. All in all however the cars were very good and appreciated by the Swedish customers. The problems were obviously not insurmountable as the author of the above Article has recently restored another TA 14 this time a Drophead. For those seeking a nice relaxing interlude over the New Year period there is the option of watching a professionally made film of a Carbodies for 7 minutes driving along empty Swedish roads. The characteristic sound of the gearbox and engine comes through thanks to a wireless microphone in the footwell to cut out the wind noise.To pick up the film go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dryULS_vRbu (you may find it necessary to go into ‘youtube’ first and then enter the above URL for it to work) and for those with Smart TVs it is even better on the big screen. Chassis 22160 has spent her whole life in Sweden and started off being a Company car so she must have seen all weathers. She had not been out on the road since 1960 as she was slowly part restored. She was bought by her current owner in September 2017. After a further 600 hours of restoration she emerged last June and took to the open road once more. She seems to be almost purring with joy.
Perhaps the above gives an inspiration to think of doing something similar so as to enjoy the experience in winter months next year although stop start in the crowded South East of England might not produce quite the same magic. Nevertheless a dash cam recording down the bonnet is something possible and many of us have a cigarette lighter fitting tucked under the dashboard for a Sat Nav that would accommodate a dash cam.
Not many would have gone out in The Beast from The East last year. One option for venturing out in chilly weather when you have a Drophead could be to have a snug hardtop. Chassis 22089 demonstrates how snug and good a custom made hard top can be. They have even been seen with a TB 14.
Back to the future now.
The 50th Anniversary TA/TB 14 book by Mick Fletcher and Colin Newby has been refreshed and republished in paper format. Long out of print and available only in disc format it has been a sought after item on the second hand market for years. It is an essential publication for Fourteen owners. Copies can be obtained from the Alvis Owner Club Site, email firstname.lastname@example.org for that and other merchandise.
So as the old year gives way to 2019 it just remains to say thank you to everyone who has dropped into this site over the past year and wish you and all Fourteens all the Very Best for 2019.
Eileen,Terry and ‘Aunty May’, chassis 21830.