Red Triangle RH Insurance

Restoring an Alvis

The sort of Alvis £20 bought in 1967. 1932 TL 12/60 with non-original body by General MotorsRestoring your own classic car is a rewarding pastime, although it is likely to cost more than chasing the opposite sex or visiting the pub, and allow little time for such things. Either or both of these activities can be resumed once the car is finished. The level of support available, both from the Alvis clubs and commercial sources, makes a rundown Alvis a good proposition for restoration. You will also have a most desirable and driveable car at the end of it, and it is likely to generate a lot more interest than some other marques, as well as being more exclusive. Of course you can pay somebody to do the work for you and fellow Club members will give advice. You will lose some of the satisfaction of doing it yourself and the appreciation of Alvis engineering practice that this brings. Most of us have to farm out some of the work anyway.

The same car after restoration with replica Beetleback coachworkThe author cannot see the point in putting a lot of effort into rebuilding some of the abominable cars that other people restore, when for exactly the same effort and marginally more cash you could do something decent like an Alvis. Yet year after year lovingly restored examples are seen of cars which were abysmally bad even when they were new! Well restored Alvises are not cheap, so if you do a proper job, you should see some return, if not a profit, if you sell the car on when it is finished. If you do decide to restore an Alvis, make sure that the quality of workmanship and materials you use are at least equivalent to those used when the car was new. There is nothing more irritating than a fine car which has had corners cut in bringing it back from a state of neglect or abuse. Things like vinyl upholstery and poor quality hooding tend to make cars difficult to sell.

Ripe for restoration: an original TK 12/60 Carbodies Beetleback.Bringing in yet more personal prejudice, some restored cars are ruined by being painted in colour schemes more appropriate to the fairground than to a quality car.

It is important to choose the right car in the first place; to make sure that not only is it within your budget, time frame and capability to restore, but also that you will like the finished article and enjoy driving it. There are some (non-Alvis) cars the author would dearly like to own but he is well over six feet tall and simply cannot fit in comfortably. Some wives/partners are not too keen on cramped, draughty and damp sports models (this can be an advantage). Open cars are however usually easier and cheaper to restore than saloons, especially if they have fewer doors.

A "yard fresh" 12/70 Mulliner saloon - perfectly restorableMake sure that you have sufficient garage space: a car stripped to its component parts occupies much more space than the assembled article and beware of the inexorable law that the number of old cars always expands to fill all available accommodation (the author writes with experience). Membership of the Alvis Owner Club will allow you to see various Alvises and talk to owners in an unpressurised situation. You should also be able to ride in and possibly drive a good example of the car you are thinking of. The Buyer's Guide section of this site includes some comments on various aspects you should consider before committing to your purchase, although as with women, heart always seems to triumph over head when choosing cars - a fact well known to those who devise advertising for dismal moderns. The opinions expressed are those of the author alone, and he is well aware that pointing out the shortcomings of some models will not meet with universal approval!

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