THAT MYSTERIOUS ALVIS
IN the February issue we innocently published quite a lot of technicalities about an Alvis owned by Fenn-Wiggin and Swain in the belief that this car was the one which took C. M. Harvey to victory in the 1923 ” 200 ” at 93.29 m.p.h. and thus that a description of it would not only be of historic interest and of possible value to 12/50 Alvis tuners, but that it would serve to show that Harvey’s car was quite reasonably standard. We confess that when we have seen this car in action at Donington it has struck us as looking nothing in the least like Harvey’s car, which had a high, narrow two-seater body, and of which pictures have been published on more than one occasion in MOTOR SPORT. When we said last month that the car was a singleseater we wrote in error. We therefore imagined that Swain’s car had at some time been lowered and re-bodied. Now another correspondent, J. A. Cooper of Leicester, writes to say that Swain’a car is not the 1923 200 Mile Race winner but is actually one of two cars built in early 1924 for record work. Apparently these cars had low frames from the corninencement and we recall low-chassis cars ramming in the 1924 ” 200.” Our correspondent says that two of these cars and the 1923 car started in that race and that later one of the former went to Australia and the other was acquired by Dunlop and used for tyretesting at Brooklauds in the hands of Dutoit—curious how thinga14nk up, for we found the steering wheel from this Alvis on a Lambert Special which we discovered some six years ago and which proved to be the work of our good friend William Lambert of Finchley Road, who is an sv. Aston henchman, and to whom we were introduced by J. D. Aylward, now very much of the B.O.C. To return to the Alvis, if Swain’s car is a 1924 job, the 1923 winner is not accounted for, because while Cooper thinks it was dismantled, H. 0. Vaux, Alvis Service Manager, in his speech at the recent Alvis Staff Dinner and Dance in ‘Coventry, said the old car was still winning races in Australia (also as claimed by Mr. II. L. Biggs in his letter published on page 77)-perhaps he, like ourselves, is confusing it with the 1924 car ? It is interesting that whereas we published the notes on Swain’s car to emphasise how reasonably standard was the 1923 racer, Cooper says that the 1924 type described was much more specialised than Harvey’s, which merely had a drilled 12/50 frame, standard axles, etc., and very high com pression-ratio and axle-ratio. Incidentally, he says that Harvey’s passenger was George Tattersall, who later managed .Alvis pit-work and is now shop superintendent of the mechanization branch. He would like to know whether Dutoit, aforementioned, was ” Segrave’s Dutoit.” Over all this we can only crave reader’s indulgence and leave the fight to Alvis enthusiasts. Cooper says that slotted
con-rods are unwise for speed work and. that end pads in the gudgeons are advis able; Alvis did not use slotted rods on the early 12/50 and later 12/50 and 12/60 engines, only for the 1928-9 big-port
models before No. 6875. Apparently the nickel-chrome I” B.S.F. pinch-bolt has been known to break. Having committed, or contributed to, or dug up this Alvis Muddle, perhaps we may venture to conclude with a few notes on the production models. The touring 12/50 was 69X110 mm. (1,645 c.c.), likewise the 1931-2 12160. The sports jobs were 68 X 103 min, (1,406 c.c.). The sports models had 4.55 to 1 axles ; the touring models and 1931-2 12/50
and 12/60 models a 4.77 to 1 axle. Sports models used high first and second ratios and the 1931-2 12/60 twin carburetter model high first, second and third gears.
It is useful to convert to the high third. in a 12/50, especially with the 4.55 to 1 final drive.
Editorial, December 1997
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