Sole-surviving Alvis Grand Prix car lives again

| 18 Apr 2023
Classic & Sports Car – Alvis completes restoration of its sole-surviving Grand Prix car

The Alvis Car Company has reached a major milestone in the restoration of the only front-wheel-drive Alvis Grand Prix car that still exists.

A mix of period photographs and modern CAD software have been used to remanufacture new components at Alvis’ base in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

The complete rolling chassis was revealed at the Automobile Council 2023 in Chiba City, Japan, on 14 April.

Classic & Sports Car – Alvis completes restoration of its sole-surviving Grand Prix car
The classic Alvis Grand Prix car has an eight-cylinder, supercharged engine mounted behind a longitudinal gearbox

Revealed in 1927, the Alvis Grand Prix car surprised its competitors with a front-drive layout.

The interesting design ditched a conventional front axle in favour of a steering system that used four elliptic leaf springs.

Alvis entered two cars – including this, #2 – into the 1927 British Grand Prix, but mechanical issues stopped both from making it past the start line.

A couple of weeks later, #2 had a more successful outing at Brooklands. It started second in the JCC 200 Mile Race in the hands of George Duller, but engine problems forced an early retirement.

Classic & Sports Car – Alvis completes restoration of its sole-surviving Grand Prix car
Classic & Sports Car – Alvis completes restoration of its sole-surviving Grand Prix car
The #2 Alvis Grand Prix car made its race debut at Brooklands (left); the start of the 1927 JCC 200 Mile Race

The car returned to the Alvis factory and had its engine removed for inspection. It remained unused for more than a decade.

In the 1930s, the car was sent to a Coventry-based car breaker, but instead of destroying the #2 Grand Prix car as requested, the company sold it on. 

It was eventually bought by Alan Stote, owner of The Alvis Car Company, and marque expert Tony Cox in 2006. It had been fitted with a different engine and gearbox, but otherwise was in very original condition.

Classic & Sports Car – Alvis completes restoration of its sole-surviving Grand Prix car
The car was revealed in Japan by Meiji Sanyo, Alvis’ Asian distributor

From its Kenilworth base, The Alvis Car Company – which is also creating a range of continuation cars – used a blend of modern and traditional techniques to resurrect this #2 Grand Prix car to its original specification.

“The lack of historical information presented a key challenge during the restoration process, but at the same time has made the project more intriguing, and one that has been a journey of discovery,” Alan explained.

With the rolling chassis complete, engine work is due to be finished later this year, followed by appearances and runs at events.

The ultimate goal is for this #2 Alvis Grand Prix car to return to Brooklands in 2027 for the 100th anniversary of its race debut.


Enjoy more of the world’s best classic car content every month when you subscribe to C&SC – get our latest deals here


READ MORE

Unique Bentley T-type Special: Crewe cut

Help this classic record-breaker run again

Buyer’s guide: Alvis TD-TF