Apologies for the lateness of this entry, I was in Staines. Long story. The previous day, however, I found myself in Windsor, participating in a charity event. This was less about my well-known philanthropic nature than my desire to ride around in a 1940s saloon car acting like a pimp.
The event was a classic car rally in aid of BEN, the charity for members and associates of the automotive industry who have fallen on hard times. The worthy organisation has a nursing home at Lynwood in Sunninghill, not far from Windsor. The event consisted of a parade of cars starting at Ascot, motoring through Windsor Great Park and finishing with a fete and display at Lynwood.
Our jalopy for this event was an Alvis TA14, owned by Yr. Humble Chronicler’s father.
Alvis was a make of car aimed at the upper end of the market – when one appears on TV or in a film, it’ll usually be driven by a retired colonel or a judge or some similarly wealthy-but-respectable type. The TA14 came out just after the Second World War. Unfortunately, the post-war world wasn’t kind to Alvis. There was neither the supply nor the demand for specialist cars of this nature (for comparative purposes, they were twice the price of a contemporary Jaguar, aimed at the same market).The company limped on until 1967, when a combination of a Rover takeover and the entire British car industry imminently going tits-up led the company to concentrate on military vehicles, in which capacity it operates today.Of course, the Alvis was far from the only vehicle present, witnesseth:
As I say, part of the trip involved a drive through Windsor Great Park, photos below:
Then it was off to Lynwood, where our car was put on display with the others, and drew a few admiring glances. One woman thought it was a “gangster car”, which was pretty cool. I was eating a corned beef sandwich in the back, which was less cool.
We took a stroll around after that and found some interesting vehicles – one of which may form the basis of a blog entry on its own, so that’s no doubt something you’ll be looking forward to. The event also included a display of falconry featuring a rebellious owl, but alas, not rebellious enough to, say, carry a child away.
The vehicle on the left, as I am informed by my learned chum Dan informs me that this is the Microdot, a vehicle that actually had some input from the Star Wars design team (possibly this was what Luke had to drive before Uncle Owen would let him use the Landspeeder) and was intended to be the ultimate city car – a kind of predecessor of the Smart. For more of Dan’s wisdom, I recommend http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/. Among the other cars were a suitably hippied-out VW camper van and a 1967 Mustang in metallic silver. I don’t know what it is about American muscle cars. They’re vulgar, yet strangely compelling. The automotive equivalent of a woman with enormous fake breasts.
By all accounts the event was quite a success. A good time was had by all, yadda yadda yadda. Wish I’d got a photo of the owl, though.