By Rod Ward
After the end of the Great War, the British market was deluged in new makes of motor car. Most of these were just assembly jobs, using bought-in components, and few of them survived. Most of the makes which did last, however, produced as much of the car themselves as they possibly could. Among the most notable among the survivors was Alvis, who built their own engines and almost everything else. They paralleled the success of Bentley, who also made every part, but with engines twice the size. Thomas John, founder of Alvis, was one of those visionary British engineers who created and maintained the mystique of the British classic car. Alvis cars were made from 1920 to 1967, in every decade being sought after by motoring enthusiasts who appreciated a well-made product offering performance and style. At no stage in their history did Alvis produce their own coachwork, instead relying on some of the best names in the industry to build eye-catching bodies. This became a problem when the British coachbuilding industry collapsed. An Alvis was a relatively exclusive car and never really cheap to buy, but it was always full of character. Here we tell the story of a great marque which evaded the sad end of so many British car makes; it never became a badge-engineered clone from a faceless conglomerate. Every Alvis was a true classic.