Alvis was once produced some of the finest cars ever built in the UK. Founded in 1919, the Coventry firm became known for its innovate engineering and deeply handsome bodywork. The cars never sold in huge numbers, but they had a high-profile clintele including Prince Phillip.
By the late-Sixties, though, Alvis’s range was looking rather old-fashioned and sales were flagging. It was bought by Rover in 1965 shortly before it was taken over by British Leyland. Internal politics saw Alvis shuttered in ’67 but the management bought the remains and founded Red Triangle, which sevices and restores Alvis cars to this day.
Fast forward to 2019 and The Alvis Car Company has launched a run of continuation cars based on the 3-Litre models of Fifties and Sixties, using brand new chassis and engines that were left over when the original company folded and have been carefully stored at Red Triangle ever since.
The 2993cc 6cyl engines are updated with fuel injection and a bespoke ECU to make them emissions compliant and therefore road legal in a number of markets around the world – including the UK. It’s worth pointing out that Aston Martin’s and Jaguar’s multi-million pound continuation cars aren’t road legal anywhere.
The chassis is lightly updated, too, gaining disc brakes all-round.
Three bodystyles are available. The Super Coupe and Super Cabriolet replicate the bodywork designed and built by Swiss coachbuilder Graber for the ultra-rare Alvis TC108G, just 22 of which were built between ’55 and ’58. The Drop Head Coupe mimics the style of the TD21 Series 2, built between ’62 and ’63 by Mulliner Park Ward in even smaller quantities than the Graber.
Alvis holds an archive of over 50,000 original drawings, so the continuation cars are accurate down to the tiniest detail. Red Triangle also holds a huge stock of original parts for the 3-Litre cars that are used – besides the chassis and engines – giving the continuations real authenticity.
This actually isn’t new ground for Alvis, as its been producing scratch-built continuations of the very highly regarded 1930s 4.3-litre model since 2012.
As you’d expect, each 3-Litre continuation car will be built to the buyer’s exact specs in a process that takes up to 5,000 hours. That amount of time means these are not cheap cars that likely cost many times more than an original.
But they’ll be much more usable and reliable than an original car, so could easily be pressed into everyday service. We think being able to roll in a car this stylish without the fear of breaking down every 300 yards is worth pretty much any price.
By Graham King