The Alvis Car Company Limited designs and manufacturers hand-built classic cars of exceptional quality and performance. Alvis has now resumed production of the famous Alvis 4.3 Litre model, 72 years after the last 4.3 Litre car was produced. This Alvis model was the fastest non-supercharged production car of its day, and the all-British “Continuation Series” will live up to that heritage. Manufactured from the original works drawings, the car will be powered by the Alvis 4.3 Litre six-cylinder engine faithfully produced to the 1936 design and retaining all its period character and quality, but utilising modern technology for emission compliance as well as delivering even more power. Alvis will produce the 4.3 Litre car in newly completed facilities at its Kenilworth site in collaboration with its sister company Red Triangle.
Red Triangle was set up in 1968 – the year Alvis closed down – to give ex-employees jobs to manufacturer parts and provide support for current Alvis owners including restoration for Alvis cars. British businessman Alan Stote bought Red Triangle in 1994 and in 2009 bought the rights to the Alvis Car Company name off British Aerospace with the idea of producing new versions of the Alvis models. With the legal transfer of the Alvis car trademarks, Red Triangle has formed a new company called The Alvis Car Company Limited. Alan Stote, who has owned Red Triangle for 16 years and has led the formation of The Alvis Car Company. Red Triangle will continue to expand its technical, repair and restoration support to Alvis owners.
Tel: +44 (0)1926 864867
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Service & Restoration: 01926 864867
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Alvis Car Company company website
Red Triangle website
With almost 100 years engineering experience and heritage, this is the success story of Alvis, which established itself as a top car maker and then diversified to become a major player in the aero and defence industries.
After taking over a small Coventry carburettor manufacturer named Holley Bros. the original company, TG John and Co. Ltd., was founded in 1919. It originally made stationary engines and motor scooters. The company’s founder, naval architect T.G. John, was approached by Geoffrey de Freville with advanced designs for a 4-cylinder engine with aluminium pistons and pressure lubrication.
It is thought that de Freville proposed the name Alvis combining the words “aluminium” and “vis” (meaning “strength” in Latin) although de Freville himself denied it.
The first car model, the 10/30, gained a reputation for quality and performance for which the company became renown. After a trademark challenge from Avro Aviation whose logo was similar to the first Alvis winged triangle, a change was made to the now familiar inverted red triangle incorporating the word ‘Alvis’. In 1921, the company became the Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd. and moved production to Holyhead Road, Coventry.
Smith-Clarke’s first task was to develop the first 10/30 side-valve engine and by 1923 the famous overhead-valve 12/50 was in production becoming one of the most iconic vintage sports cars of all time with exhilarating performance and rugged reliability.
Following racing success at Le Mans in 1928 Alvis produced one of the world’s first front wheel drive production models with overhead camshaft and an optional supercharger.
At the end of the 1920’s the first six-cylinder engine was in production and became the foundation for the large six-cylinder cars produced throughout the 1930’s and up to the Second World War. In true Alvis tradition these cars were technically advanced with the world’s first all-synchromesh gearbox, independent front suspension and servo assisted brakes.
On November 14th 1940 the car factory was severely damaged by the German Luftwaffe’s raid on Coventry although the armaments factory was relatively undamaged. Car production was suspended for the duration of the war only resuming during the latter part of 1946. But Alvis carried out war production on aero engines (as sub-contractor of Rolls-Royce) and other aircraft equipment. As their part in the war effort Alvis were responsible for operating 21 ‘shadow’ factories.
Car production resumed with the reliable and attractive four-cylinder TA14 model based on the pre-war 12/70. Capt. Smith-Clarke retired in 1950 and Willie Dunn took over as chief engineer.
In 1950 a new chassis with a 3 Litre six-cylinder engine was announced and this became the basis of all the remaining Alvis models. The new model was called the TA21, with saloon bodies by Mulliners and Tickford producing the drop heads. In addition, the Swiss coachbuilder Graber was producing some of the most beautiful coachwork for this chassis.
In 1955, after negation with Graber, Alvis decided to base its coachwork on Graber designs and the first TC108/G model were built by Willowbrook of Loughborough and in 1958, with the launch of the TD21, production was contracted to Park Ward, coachbuilders for Rolls-Royce and Bentley. They continued to manufacture coachwork for the TD21 range, the TE21 and finally the TF21.
Rover took a controlling interest in Alvis in 1965 and TF21 was launched in 1966. It had a top speed of 127mph – the fastest Alvis ever produced.
The long bonnet and sleek chassis line of the six-cylinder Speed 20, the Speed 25 and the 4.3 Litre models gave coachbuilders the opportunity to design the most stunning coachwork. Similar to other luxury car companies of the time Alvis were essentially automobile engineers, designing and producing all the mechanical aspects of the car with bodywork design and manufacture carried out by selected coachbuilders such as Cross and Ellis, Charlesworth and Vanden Plas. Some cars were fitted with one-off bespoke coachwork by London coachbuilders such as Lancefield and Offord. In 1936 aero-engine and armoured vehicle production was added the company name was changed to Alvis Ltd.
In 1968 the passenger car interests were relocated to Kenilworth along with the complete stock of spares, nearly 22,000 Car Records and over 50,000 works drawings, technical data sheets and correspondence files and as Red Triangle they have continued to provide support for passenger car owners to the present day.
The armoured fighting vehicle production continued under various ownerships until 2004 when it was absorbed into defense giant BAE Systems.
Alvis key event timeline
1920 T. G. John begins manufacturing Alvis cars in Coventry with coachwork supplied by Cross & Ellis and Carbodies.
1925 A supercharged Alvis front wheel drive laps Brooklands at 104 mph.
1926 Alvis design and race the first straight eight front wheel drive Grand Prix racing car.
1928 The Alvis Company manufacture and market the world’s first front wheel drive production car.
1933 Alvis design the world’s first all synchromesh gear box and initiate the first British car with independent front suspension.
1939 to 1945 The Alvis Company controls 21 ‘shadow’ factories producing aero engines for the RAF.
1952 Alec Issigonis joins Alvis to design a prototype 3500cc V8 engine.
1959 History is made when the first hovercraft SR.N 1 crosses the Channel powered by an Alvis Leonides engine.
1965 Alvis merges with Rover.
1967 After 47 years and manufacturing almost 22,000 motor vehicles Alvis cease car production.
1968 The ex-employees, helped by the Alvis Company, create Red Triangle. Alvis pass everything to the new company – the complete stock of parts, nearly 22,000 car records and over 50,000 works drawings, technical data sheets and correspondence files.