Alvis 4,3 Litre Concealed Hood SWB Drophead Coupe by Whittingham&Mitchel

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4,3 Litre Concealed Hood SWB Drophead Coupe by Whittingham&Mitchel





Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd was a British manufacturing company in Coventry from 1919 to 1967. In addition to automobiles designed for the civilian market, the company also produced racing cars, aircraft engines, armoured cars and other armoured fighting vehicles.

Car manufacturing ended after the company became a subsidiary of Rover in 1965, but armoured vehicle manufacture continued. Alvis became part of British Leyland and then in 1982 was sold to United Scientific Holdings, which renamed itself Alvis plc.

In 1936 the company name was shortened to Alvis Ltd, and aircraft engine and armoured vehicle divisions were added to the company by the beginning of the Second World War. Smith-Clarke designed several models during the 1930s and 1940s, including the six-cylinder Speed 20, the Speed 25, and the Alvis 4.3 Litre model.

Pre-war development of the six-cylinder Alvis culminated in the announcement of the 4.3 Litre in August 1936. The 4.3 Litre was based on the 3½ Litre Speed Twenty-Five introduced the previous year and was powered by an enlarged version of Alvis's new seven-bearing, overhead-valve engine producing 137hp.

Claimed to be the fastest un-supercharged saloon on the UK market, the Alvis 4.3 Litre was certainly one of the few pre-war saloons capable of a genuine 100 mph, and the short chassis open cars were even faster. Well built and endowed with a generous wheelbase, the Alvis Six attracted some of the finest examples of the prewar coachbuilders' art, though the 4.3 Litre's chassis-only price of GBP 750 meant that ownership was necessarily confined to wealthy connoisseurs. Only 198 cars had been delivered when the outbreak of Word War II stopped production.

Car production was initially suspended in September 1939 following the outbreak of war in Europe, but was later resumed and production of the 12/70, Crested Eagle, Speed 25, and 4.3 Litre continued well into 1940. The car factory was severely damaged on 14 November 1940 as a result of several bombing raids on Coventry by the German Luftwaffe, although ironically the armaments factory suffered little damage. Much valuable cutting gear and other equipment was lost and car production was suspended for the duration of the war, only resuming during the latter part of 1946. Despite this, Alvis carried out war production on aircraft engines (as sub-contractor of Rolls-Royce Limited) and other aircraft equipment.

The first Batch to be laid down circa October 1936 - Numbered 13156 to 13185 inclusive - TOTAL: 30

Second Batch to be laid down circa February 1937 - Numbered 13636 to 13655 inclusive TOTAL: 20

Third Batch to be laid down also February 1937 - Numbered 14296 to 14345 inclusive TOTAL: 50

Fourth Batch to be laid down circa November 1937 - Numbered 14799 to 14948 inclusive TOTAL N.B: 150

With the intervention of enemy action on Coventry on November l4th 1940 resulting in the destruction of the Alvis factory, the chassis numbered between 14872 and the intended 14948 were never completed, making chassis 14871 the last completed 4.3 Litre to leave the factory.


It is clear that a total of 240 4.3-Litre cars had been originally sanctioned of which 77 were never completed. The number of Pre- Continuation 4.3's made is thus 163 of which 12 were 4.3 Litre tourers. There are 99 of these cars known to survive today of which 11 are 4.3 Litre tourers. As a result the new 4.3 Litre “Continuation Series” will be limited to the production of these remaining 77 chassis, thereby fulfilling the original intention of the Alvis Board.

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