I have just been reading an article by Mr. Boddy (in another journal) on the excellent service which can be obtained from very old cars, and consequently feel impelled to put on record my experience of an old Alvis.
A year prior to the war I purchased for a small consideration a 1927 Alvis ” 2/5f 1.” This was fitted with an immense red fabric body, so popular at that period. Using it as a second string, I drove it several thousand miles without giving it the slightest attention. I taught a friend to drive it (ideal for this purpose), and after passing his test he bought it and straightway undertook a long tour in the Lakes and Scotland. It was subsequently driven many thousands of miles, including a period on loan to the Fire Service, with never an involuntary stop. Its most remarkable characteristic was its low oil consumption. It must have had a rebore before I acquired it, as it definitely did better than 4,000 miles to the gallon of oil (and the radiator was not leaking into the sump either I). Its gearbox was also first class and dead quiet, and as easy to use as many modern synchro. boxes. With its large accommodation, genuine 00 m.p.h., battleship build and 25 m.p.g., this old Alvis was certainly an ideal “
hack” car, in spite of its negligible brakes. Amongst other ears, I used a 2-litre Lagonda for one very enjoyable year’s motoring. Although desperately slow off the mark, the Lagonda was most satisfying to drive and extremely comfortable. Once it reached 50 it came to life, and would cruise for hours like a train up to its maximum of 75. Good points about this car were : provision for opening the
sump plug from above, grouped chassis nipples, instant starting (using the Kigass) in all weathers, and first-class steering.
My last three cars have all been 1,750c.c. Alfa-Romeos. The first, a Turismo D.H. foursome, was rather slow, but the next, a blown Zagato 2-seater, was very potent and in beautiful condition. I regretfully parted with this as I required more luggage space, and bought my present car (now laid up), an unblown 3-seater D.H.
These Young-bodied Alfas come very close to my ideal car. ‘They are dead reliable, very comfortable, and have superb brakes, steering and roadholding (a very light touch is required on the wheel ; people used to driving traction engines find Alfas disconcerting at first).
When the great day dawns I hope to possess myself of a ” 2.3 ” Alfa, which, if I am not misinformed, can really go places. Also a Type 40 Bugatti or 8th Series Lancia ” Lambda ” in which to “pop round to the local.” I am, Yours, etc.,
R. W. S. CARPENTER (S/Sgt.). S.E.A.C.
Matters of Moment, November 1968
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