Alvis Ltd was formed in Coventry by Mr. TG John in 1919 to manufacture motor cars. Alvis quickly became noted as a producer of innovative and high quality cars, which are now classic collectors' items, and went on to become one of the prestige names in the British automobile industry.
Alvis cars were produced by the manufacturer Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd of Coventry, United Kingdom from 1919 to 1967. The company also produced aero-engines and military vehicles, the latter continuing long after car production ceased.
The original company, TG John and Co. Ltd., was founded in 1919. Its first products were stationary engines, carburettor bodies and motorscooters. The company's founder T.G. John was approached by Geoffrey de Freville with designs for a 4-cylinder engine with aluminium pistons and pressure lubrication, unusual for the period.
The first car model, the 10/30, using de Freville's design was an instant success and set the reputation for quality and performance for which the company became famous.
In 1923 Captain GT Smith-Clarke joined from Daimler as Chief Engineer and Works Manager and was soon joined by WM Dunn as Chief Draughtsman. This partnership lasted for 25 years and was responsible for producing some of the most successful products in the company's history.
1927 saw the introduction of the six-cylinder 14.75 h.p. and this engine became the basis for the long line of luxurious six-cylinder Alvis cars produced up to the outbreak of war.
Smith-Clarke designed remarkable models during the 1930s and 1940s — including the handsome, low-slung six-cylinder Speed 20, the Speed 25 (considered by many to be one of the finest cars produced in the 1930s) and the 4.3 Litre model. As with many upmarket engineering companies of the time Alvis did not produce their own coachwork relying instead on the many available Midlands coachbuilders such as Cross and Ellis, Charlesworth and Vanden Plas.
In 1936, the company name was changed to Alvis Ltd and by the beginning of the war, aero-engine and armoured vehicle divisions had been added to the company.
As part of Rover, Alvis Limited was incorporated into British Leyland but was bought by United Scientific Holdings plc in 1981. Subsequently the company's name changed to Alvis plc. In 1998, the armoured vehicle business of GKN plc was taken on and the main UK manufacturing operation moved from Coventry to Telford. The site of the Alvis works in Holyhead Road is now an out-of-town shopping complex, but its name, Alvis Retail Park, reflects the heritage of the site.
In 2002 Alvis group purchased Vickers to form the subsidiary Alvis Vickers Ltd which was subsequently purchased by BAE Systems in 2004. BAE Systems have ended the use of the Alvis distinctive 'red triangle' trademark.
(text source: Wikipedia)
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