When you spot an Alvis, you may want to know more about it, especially if it for sale. Where has it been for the last 60 years? Is it genuine, original and “matching numbers”? What do matching numbers actually mean?

Alvis numbered their cars when they were built. The unique identifier is the chassis number. Alvis never built complete cars, the chassis went to a coachbuilder to be completed so there is also a body number. Engines were also numbered.

letter on engine numbering Lee 1970
An extract from a letter of 1970 confirming the practice of renumbering reconditioned engines.

To confuse matters further there was also a Car Number on pre war models which was different from the chassis and engine numbers. To find out any of these numbers you need to lift the bonnet.

The next most important number is the registration. Most Alvis were registered new in the UK but many were exported. Alvis car production ceased in 1967 and the UK registration system in place up until then makes it possible to detect both where the car was registered and when. After 1963 a suffix letter indicated the year of registration so B, C, D, E and F are common suffixes on TE and TF21s indicating registration in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967. Prior to 1964 you need a Glass’s Guide to find the date. You can also download which summarises what you need.

Personal number plates were prevalent when Alvis were new so an Alvis may have had several registration numbers in its life because of number retention. It may also have been exported and imported. This is where the AOC Model Registers (for a list click AOC Model Registers) can be very useful as they record owners and numbers that have been notified to the Club. Together with the archive of the Alvis Company it is usually possible to build a history file of a particular Alvis. So, as archivists we can help provide any owner, or prospective owner, with a history of an Alvis. That’s what we do. We can also help reclaim an original registration number that has been lost.

If you have any questions about numbers or have spotted an Alvis, please leave a comment below. All comments are moderated. You can also notify the purchase or sale of an Alvis by leaving a comment.

Author: alvisarchive

Driving Alvis cars since 1964 and the website since 2012

17 thoughts on “Autonumerology”

  1. My 1959 TD21 drophead, 26059, was originally registered as EC 1000. Some time before I bought it in 1974, the registration was changed to 975 JGC. I would be interested in any insights into what happened and when.

    1. EC1000 could not have been the original registration, unless you already owned this index mark as a cherished registration – EC1000 was first issued by Westmorland County Council in 1912.
      975JGC is a re-registration index issued by either Central or North West London LVLO between Dec 1972 and Mar 1973

      1. I have a copy (from Red Triangle) of Form B of the guarantee for the car dated 13 August 1959 which shows the registration as EC 1000. The original purchaser was Eric Cant so I assume that he had obtained the registration at some point and succeeded in using it as the original registration when he bought the car on 28 July 1959 from Brooklands of Bond Street in London. Stephen Walsh, from whom I purchased the car in May 1974, told me, a few years ago, that he sold the original registration during his period of ownership and this ties up with the Dec 1972 – Mar 1973 timing for the issue of 975 JGC.

  2. My SG 16.95 is car No.16913 Chassis12208 engine 12658 .leaving factory on 27-11-34 to become a four light Hb.saloon.I found it in NZ as a chassis and running gear only and now have a VdPlas four seat sports tourer .Where has it been in the intervening years?

  3. Recently found TE d/h 27209 body 9559 reg no GGJ 140C matching numbers car purchased by collector lain Mackenzie of Sydney in 1984 from the original owner celebrated artist of the house great Bardfield Essex. mr John a m Aldridge esq. purchased from Brooklands bond st. now owned by Alan Bratt Corowa nsw Australia reported milage of 32000ml any imformation would be greatly appreciated.


  4. You say that Alvis were often supplied with personal plates but I wonder whether this was always so and that plates could always be transferred. My memory says that the idea of the so-called cherished plate is post war but perhaps I’m wrong.

    1. Hi Ben, There are more retentions post war but several numbers were first issued pre-1930 that appeared on new post war Alvis. I guess it was down to the issuing Council to decide whether to allow a transfer – does anyone know more?

  5. Alvis Tc 21/100dhc. Reg no OYU 979 I’am missing a few years of its life !late70’s early 80’s. Can any one help?

  6. TC 21/100 25696 found in New Zealand, a bit of a basket case, but won’t know just how bad until I start dismantling

      1. I’ll look in family photos to try to find out exactly when he owned it. I know it wasn’t new as he never bought a new car

  7. Hi there, I wondered if you had any information on an Alvis Speed 20 I am interested in. It has chassis number 12081 and reg number BXP 944

    1. You can find photos of the special body built by George Murray on the 1970 tour of Britain page. He removed the original 2 door Vanden Plas saloon body in the 1960s. See the Register on the Speed 20 SC page for original spec. Check the photo pages for original Cross and Ellis coachwork styles.

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