1931 Alvis 12/50 Drop Head Coupe
Nicely mellowed Alvis; the backbone of the VSCC; comfortable yet light to handle; quality pre-war motoring
That Alvis became regarded as a Sports Car was more of an accident than by intent.
Their first car, the 10/30 was a conventional light-car with side by side valves and made in very limited numbers. The 11/40 that followed in 1921 had an increased capacity of 1,598cc which produced a reliable 40bhp, after which the inevitable over-head valve version was introduced in 1923 as the immortal 12/50.
This car was to build the reputation of the firm, for it delivered extreme reliability, performance way beyond what would be expected of a 50bhp car (thanks to its light weight), quality construction and a feeling of “oneness” way in excess of the sum of its parts. Clutton and Stanford in their staple “The Vintage Motor Car” said of the 12/50 “We cannot but consider it one of the classic designs of the time, and it remains of all Vintage sports cars the one which needs the least apology”.
The 12/50 Alvis developed through a number of series, each one carrying a range of attractive coachwork. The most famous of course are the “Ducksback” and later the “Beetleback” 3-seaters, but for those requiring more space, Cross and Ellis produced a most elegant range of two and four seaters, no doubt the quality coachwork contributing to their sporty reputation.
By 1927, Alvis had decided on a small capacity six-cylinder as the replacement for the 12/50 and the 1,870cc 14.75hp was introduced. This car sold quite well, was fast and refined, however the depression bought about the need for a cheaper model so Alvis re-introduced the 12/50 in late 1930. These are now referred to as the revival cars - the TJ and TK series...
This 1931 TJ is fitted with attractive Cross and Ellis Drop Head Coupe coachwork which has clearly been restored at some time in the past. The doors fit well and don't drop when opened. The black mohair hood is in good order apart from one small tear and fits extremely snugly. The rear dickie seats are also well trimmed, matching the material used in the front. The front wings must have been replaced as these are now made of aluminium, which have the added benefit of making the car quite a bit lighter. It has also been fitted with a nice pair of Marchal headlights, which although not strictly original, suit it very well and provide decent illumination.
The V5C shows that its registration was reassigned in 1989 - quite possibly when the restoration was completed. At this time it was in the hands of a gent from Chislehurst, the car changing hands in 1999 when it moved to a new owner in Bolton. Paperwork on file shows that he passed away and the car went to live with his brother who was to keep it until it was acquired by our vendor in 2018.
She purchased it to use alongside the family Speed 25, but actually prefers her Austin Seven Chummy for the sort of short runs she is doing these days, hence its inclusion in the sale today. It has had general care and maintenence as and when required, including some work to the steering, a new distributor drive gear and rebuilt dynamo and regulator.
Ready for some VSCC action this summer, this attractively bodied 12/50 looks great value...
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Reg No: FS1481
Chassis Number: 9195
Engine Number: 10155
Engine Size: 1645
Docs: V5C, old style Log Book, 1 old MOT, copy of Hand Book, Invoices.
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