The specialist: Red Triangle

| 19 Jan 2024
Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Red Triangle

It’s been more than 20 years since Red Triangle’s previous appearance as our Specialist – and there’s some catching up to do.

The firm continues to service Alvis cars from the site it has occupied since the demise of the Alvis company in 1968, using its vast stock of original and remanufactured parts.

But under new ownership there’s a new showroom – and, most significantly, the company is the engine room of the resurrection of Alvis as a car manufacturer.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Red Triangle

Organisation is key inside Red Triangle’s packed store of old Alvis car parts, many stashed in original racks

Alan Stote bought the firm in 1994, and in ’09 started developing the 4.3 – a ’30s design – for Individual Vehicle Approval, with the hands-on work being done by Red Triangle.

Normal operations continue, servicing cars on six lifts, and there’s a rolling road and engine dyno, too.

But the method of control has changed, with each job now being tracked digitally.

Stote, whose background is in parts manufacture, has been passionate about Alvis since he bought his first in the ’80s.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Red Triangle

Paul Cooper shapes an Alvis Graber nose using a 3D-printed pattern

There are at least half a dozen cars in the workshop at any time, and all are now collected and delivered in a covered transporter; between 150 and 200 are seen each year.

Upstairs, along with a small trim shop, is the incredible treasure trove of parts, both new and used, some stored in the original 1929 Alvis racks (the floor has been cut to accommodate them, rather than trim the stillages).

Stote’s enthusiasm shines through as he rattles off part numbers: “We’ve got 35,000 different fitments here. Kingpins are our biggest mover, representing some 1.5% of sales.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Red Triangle

Julie Vanderwalt finishes the leather flutes on an Alvis car seat in Red Triangle’s trim shop

The famous archives – including build records, blueprints and customer correspondence – have moved a couple of hundred yards up the road and now live above the showroom.

It’s the first thing you see as you drive into the Common Lane estate, where 12-15 cars are sold every year.

Drawings on the wall show the new cars Alvis offers: 4.3 VdP, 4.3 Bertelli coupé (copying Stote’s own car), Lancefield coupé and 3-litres as Park Ward drophead coupé, or Graber coupé and cabriolet.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Red Triangle

Red Triangle’s stash of Alvis donor cars will be a source of parts for years to come

“I fell into owning the company by accident – the original priority was to preserve the archive,” explains Stote.

“We’re in a unique position of owning the brand, all the drawings and a huge stock of parts. We’ve got all the spares, you see – enough to make 40 or 50 cars.”

Stote had to acquire the trademark from BAE, which had just sold Rolls-Royce and Bentley: “The chief exec came up and said ‘I hadn’t thought of this’ when we showed the new car at Goodwood.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Red Triangle

Alvis specialist Red Triangle has all the tools needed to keep classic cars on the road

The fabrication shop, with computer-cut bucks and panel rolling, is behind the main workshop, where the new cars are taking shape.

A sign on the wall – ‘Still making cars how they used to be made’ – points to the partnership with Meiji Sangyo, the Alvis agent in Japan, where five new cars have been ordered.

Continuation cars have fuel injection (and catalytic converters on IVA cars), five- and six-speed ’boxes, big ventilated discs and LED lighting: “We don’t want to change the way it drives. Fuel injection doesn’t change that.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: Red Triangle

Inside the busy restoration shop, the Red Triangle team melds new technology with traditional skills to produce Alvis Continuation models

The current job is to make a copy of Stote’s Graber-bodied coupé, for which the chassis has been already completed.

The original was 3D-scanned, then ‘mirrored’ to ensure symmetry, while the new front is being formed around a buck – 3D-printed in plastic.

Quaintly, under the aluminium skin there’s still some ash frame tying the cast roof/door pillars together.

Stote has acquired the surrounding buildings in preparation for laying down a production line.

Tucked in a corner of the site is a storage room, rammed with dead 3-litre donors that he’s been buying as a source of parts.

You could even have a new TE21 if you wanted, thanks to the vision of saving all the original parts half a century ago.

Images: John Bradshaw/Paul Hardiman

This was first in our January 2020 magazine; all information was correct at the date of original publication

The knowledge

  • Name Red Triangle
  • Address Common Lane, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2EL
  • Specialism Service, sales and restoration of Alvis cars, plus Continuation models
  • Staff 25
  • Prices £79.50 per hour
  • Tel 01926 864867
  • Web
  • Email


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