Jack Bradley became my very first Alvis contact. (He was the one at cricket with the green tourer from the previous post.) Not much later he brought his friend Mac Job to look at my car. Both ex Air Force types. Mac Job wanted to buy it, I expect as spares for the Special he was building that still bears his name. Deciding that if someone wanted to buy it, it must have merit, I rejected his offer. Jack’s Alvis was a SB 12/50 I think. Some time later Kendall McSkimming’s twin brother Bruce bought it and used to commute in it to the Queensland outback, where he was a wool classer. It had twin modern Solex carbs and went very well. I wonder where it is now?
Jack and I tried to start the engine, he used the built in crank handle as a kick starter. There was no response. Very little compression. I pulled the motor to pieces, pistons come nearly a quarter of an inch above the block in a short stroke engine, and the top land was broken on all of them. There were also twin grooves up and down 2 cylinders. There was a lot of slack in the bearings. From my 35 shilling wages as a first year apprentice I had to accumulate the funds for new pistons, a rebore and all the white metal bearings, as well as a magneto rebuild. It was machined by C Sporne & Sons of Nelson St, Annandale just off Parramatta Road. Ron, one of the sons, became a lifelong acquaintance, being very helpful some years later when I was in long distance road transport, as a source of discounted tyres.
I thought it quite an achievement when I eventually got it started. Couldn’t wait to drive it. Very little body work, just a board for my brother and I to sit on, and no licence. 1st gear – spun the wheels, 2nd gear – spun the wheels, 3rd gear – started to make some speed. No brakes of course.
The first body was built of scrap wood and partially covered in masonite. In that guise, with a bonnet top only to keep the rain off, it was registered by the time I had my licence on my 17th birthday.
To be continued: –