1932 Alvis a family affair

Family car . . . Dave Tofield with the 1932 Alvis his father bought in 1962. PHOTO: JOSHUA RIDDIFORD

George Tofield’s 1932 Alvis did not get on the road much during his son’s early years.

“It had been a monument in our garage for the first 18 years of my life,” George’s son, Dave, said.

George Tofield bought the car in 1962 for the then princely sum of 125 pounds.

The vehicle was eventually restored and Dave first drove it when he was in his 20s.

Working on the car offered George, a school teacher, a chance to wind down at the end of the day, Dave said.

“My dad was always in the garage, tinkering away at night-time after school. It was kind of his wind-down thing, something completely different to teaching kids at King’s High School.”

The 1645cc-engined four-speed Alvis has black and red trim, a driver and passenger seat and a third rumble seat which pulls out of a small storage boot. After George’s death, the Alvis wound up in Dave’s garage. The vehicle needed some fixing so Dave set to work and it was road-ready again in 2006. Dave occasionally took it out for rallies such as last Sunday’s “Best of British”.

The Alvis could reach a speed of about 85kmh and, on a recent drive around Dunedin city, this reporter found the ride comfortable, despite being exposed to the elements on a drab afternoon. The vehicle has a hood to protect occupants but it was “a bit of a process” to put it up, Dave said.

Among the challenges in driving the Alvis was having to employ the old technique of “double declutching”. Dave said it was easy “once you get into the rhythm of it”, although a “degree of mechanical sympathy” did help.

He hoped the Alvis might eventually pass on to another Tofield generation because his son George (aged 9) was also “mechanically inclined”.