Alvis Survival

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Sir,

Kenneth Day’s statement (January correspondence) that “All Alvis works entries and record breaking cars from 1928 to 1930 employed FWD. .” while strictly correct, can be supplemented.

Alvis intended to enter two works FA’s for Boulogne in 1928, for Maurice Harvey and Bill Urquhart-Dykes to drive. However, as Bill had not quite recovered from his recent crash in the Ulster T T, Alvis offered the second FA to his wife Ruth.

Remembering the late arrival of the works cars for Ulster, when some of the drivers had to use the Urquhart-Dykes’ own SD 12/50 beetle back WM 47 as a practice car to qualify, Ruth tactfully said she would prefer to drive WM 47 at Boulogne, rather than risk making a mistake in a works car for her first foreign road race. Thus, though she entered the 12/50, she had full works support as part of the team, while Harvey drove the ex-Cushman Ulster car WK 7343, modified from FC to FA specification.

Harvey made his usual brilliant start but had to retire with a broken piston, while Ruth in the slower 12/50 finished the three-hour course, being the only woman ever to do so. For that performance, she was invited to become an Honorary member of the newly formed BRDC, as women were not allowed full. membership in those far-off male chauvinistic days.

Shortly afterwards, at the BARC Autumn meeting on 22nd September, Ruth drove: WK 7343 in the Ladies’ Handicap but the same piston trouble occurred on the last lap, so that she lost to Mrs Scott’s 2-litre G P Sunbeam.

As for records, later that year on 19th October, Bill and Ruth took Class F records at Brooklands for 200km, 200 miles and 12 Hours in that same 12/50 WM 47, without works support, as Alvis considered it a forlorn hope. That view was hastily reversed when Alvis was only too glad to advertise those records at the Motor Show a few days later.

It is good to realise that both WK 7343 and WM 47 still survive as tributes to Alvis longevity and the devotion of members of the Alvis 12/50 Register.

Peter Lord, West Wittering, Chichester.

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