Pre-war is hot! A beautiful Alvis

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With 'pre-war' we are already talking about more than eighty years ago. And when you see how 'real' cars were then. The 'Pre War Classics' are therefore understandably growing in popularity at this time when the electronic control systems, all kinds of safety measures and the wind tunnel are all-determining. Pre-war driving is pure driving without the driver feeling that he is driving a motorized carriage.

Alvis so

Alvis is one such brand with pre-war rootes. At Alvis they made sports and trucks. The brand was founded in Coventry in 1919 by Thomas George John. Initially as a general machine factory, but the first passenger car was built as early as 1920.

Alvis made good cars, but did so in small numbers

In 1927, production exceeded the 1.000 units for the first time, but then collapsed and only in 1939 could the sales record be improved. The car division of Alvis was sold to Rover in 1965, just before that once famous brand became part of British Leyland.

For a long time Alvis's earnings model lay in the production of army vehicles. And we happen to know 9 - or let there be 8 - Alvis Stalwarts for sale. Those amphibious trucks had eight-cylinder Rolls-Royce inline engines. And there are also a few of them in crates at that address. The owner reports with a Drentse imperturbability that the stuff does not get in his way.

Meanwhile, our fashion model is a pre-war sports car

The particularly beautiful Alvis 12 / 70 Open Tourer Special from 1933 is waiting at Gallery Aaldering for an enthusiast with a well-upholstered pouch. Because serious pre-war driving? That has its price. This Alvis was purchased in 1990 by none other than Jacques Potherat, historian and famous auto journalist. At that time, the Alvis was completely rebuilt from new. The body was designed by the Rucheton brothers of the Ruphil Garage in France.

The body is elegant and has perfect proportions. The Special is built on the basis of an 12 / 70 chassis and equipped with 12 / 70 1.842cc engine with two carburetors. Funny is that the pictures make clear that the endlessly long hoods from that time were not stuffed from the front to the back with an engine block. Only under the 'hood' of a Ruska BUGatti in the army.

Finally, a look back at our Drentse Stalwart experience:

Alvis Stalwarts in Drenthe

A Yamaha XS 650 block of 1015 cc is well worth the drive to the Far East. Even if that part of the Netherlands is instinctively at the height of Leningrad. In a messy barnyard, a tall man in dirty overalls was spoiling a huge old army vehicle with a giant grease gun.

Certainly no sports cars

"It's a stable black" he said with an inimitable accent. “An amphibian. I have more behind it. They were cheap. This has just been sold. Come on, I first have to take a test drive, then we talk further. ”The six-wheeled Stalwart turned out to be a kind of monkey rock to climb. Boarding was done by two roof hatches. There were unbelievably many meters, buttons and levers in the cockpit.

"It weighs 9 tons and there is a Rolls-Royce eight-cylinder in-line engine of 6,5 liters." We left the yard and drove along the dike. “We are not going into the water. Because then you have to change all oil and check all lubrication points. Actually, I shouldn't have tried a test drive either. Things always break down. And they also do 1 on 1, "the Viking muttered.

Apparently these green giants in a unique British way combined extreme maintenance sensitivity and absolutely human-unfriendly user-friendliness with enormous unreliability and the tendency to sink without the possibility of escape.

Back in the yard it was first time for a couple of sandwiches with cheese and mugs of warmed coffee. Then we would talk about Yamahab blocks. But a fellow villager in a Dodge WD pick up came driving into the yard and unintelligible things were arranged. Then another 6 man club of friends from Brabant came to watch another Stalwart.

That conversation was interrupted because two young Polish ladies came to ask for directions in an older Gulf. The ladies apparently sat in the personal service corner and the attention of the club of friends shifted smoothly from rude and old to young and slender.

Finally there was time for the tuned Yamahabok. There was more old sidecar cross stuff in the shed. My host dreamed away about the past and decided not to sell the stuff after all. On my remark that I had not traveled to the edge of the world for such a conclusion, the primeval man looked at me with understanding. He saw a solution to the potential problem and was not looking for a hard confrontation.

“Okay, then I'll pay for your petrol and give you a bottle of booze. And you drove in a Stalwart. Good good!" This is how problems are solved. The drink was home-made and was contained in a plastic one and a half liter Coke bottle. In the evening I had visitors myself. I poured and we toast to all the unique Easterners. "Hoppa!" Our gums curled up to our necks. The atomic water continued to glow in an afterglow pool behind our navels. A panting exhale in the direction of the candle on the table resulted in a blowtorch. In our mouths we had the aftertaste of scorched gums, rocket fuel and a hint of gold cleanses. Drink makes more ... well. Never mind.


A post-war copy


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  1. Do you want to warn me next time if you are talking about home-fired atomic water?
    Now I could clean the display and keyboard of remnants of red wine peanuts.
    There are nicer chores with sore jaws from laughter… ..

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