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Manufacturers / U.K. / Alvis


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Alvis vehicles


1920


10/30
Alvis 10/30   (1920)

Tom G. John Ltd. acquired the business of Holley Brothers, Coventry in 1919 and built a 50cc motor scooter known as the Stafford Mobile Pup. The company was also an agent for stationary engines from the Hillman Motor Car Company, this agency survived until 1921.

Shortly after starting his business Tom John was approached by Geoffrey de Freville with designs for a 4-cylinder car. The design called for aluminium pistons and pressure lubrication, unusual for the period. It is suggested that de Freville thought of Alvis as being a truly international name.

Geoffrey De Freville, founder of the Aluminium Alloy Piston Company during the war, had no further connections with Tom John.

11/40
Alvis 11/40  concept (1921)

Tom G. John Ltd. Became the Alvis Car & Engineering Company Ltd. in 1921 and moved to Holyhead Road, Coventry. The first Alvis was the 10/30 and soon set the reputation for quality and performance for which the company became famous.

In 1922 the Buckingham cyclecar was an attempt to enter the lower end of the market but was soon abandoned.

Captain GT Smith-Clarke joined from Daimler as Chief Engineer & Works Manager in 1923 and was soon joined by WM Dunn as Chief Draughtsman. This partnership lasted for 25 years and was responsible for many designs.

12/40
Alvis 12/40  concept (1922)

Despite the quality of their products Alvis went into receivership in June 1924 and the Board was reorganised with Sir Arthur Lowes Dickinson, an accountant, as chairman while Tom John remained as Managing Director.


1930


12/50
Alvis 12/50 TJ concept (1930)

During the 1930's the Speed 20 led to a series of sporting cars capable of 90mph, and eventually to the fastest pre-war Alvis, the 4.3 litre six-cylinder model of 1936-1940 which could reach 100 mph.


1940


TA
Alvis TA 14 concept (1946)

Car production was suspended after the outbreak of war in September 1939, but was allowed to resume shortly after, and production of the 12/70, Silver Crest, Speed 25, and 4.3 L continued until well into 1940. After the Blitz, however, car production was suspended for the duration of the war, only resuming during the latter part of 1946. During World War II the car factory was severely damaged in the German Luftwaffe raid on Coventry in 1940. Despite this, Alvis carried out war production on aero engines (as sub-contractor of Rolls-Royce) and other aeroplane equipment.


1950


TA
Alvis TA 21 concept (1950)

After the end of the war, a four-cylinder model designed before the war was produced as the TA 14. Smith-Clarke retired in 1950 and post-war models were now designed by Dunn.

In 1950 a new chassis and six-cylinder 3 L engine was announced. This engine was used until the company ceased car production. From 1952 to 1955 Alec Issigonis, the later creator of the Mini, worked for Alvis and designed a new model with a V8 engine which was not made as it proved too expensive to produce. Alvis cars were sometimes offered with special bodies made by Hermann Graber of Switzerland. Before 1954 the bodies were built by Mulliners of Birmingham, but from 1955 the bodies were all Graber designs. Willowbrook of Loughborough built some, but from 1958 Park Ward, coachbuilders for Rolls-Royce and Bentley, built the bodies.

Rover took a controlling interest in Alvis in 1965. A Rover-designed mid-engined V8 coupé prototype named P6BS was rumoured to be the new Alvis model but with the takeover by British Leyland this was axed. Car production ceased in 1967 but armoured fighting vehicle production continued.


1960


TE
Alvis TE 21 concept (1963)

Rover took over Alvis in 1965 and were working on the Rover designed, Alvis built P6BS mid-engined V8 coupe prototype in 1968.

The Alvis Company continued in business making military vehicles.



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