Alvis made chassis, engines and gearboxes but had no bodybuilding facilities of their own, although on various occasions they seriously considered acquiring them.
However, in the pre-war years they were still able to offer catalogued designs of standard bodywork by using one of three Coventry coachbuilders, Carbodies, Charlesworth and Cross & Ellis to build and mount bodies under sub-contract. The Wolverhampton firm of Holbrook became a fourth such sub-contractor during the later 1930’s.
Immediately post war, the Fourteen had many types of bodies fitted, but mainly Mulliners, Carbodies and Tickford.
In the final years the Three Litre model was bodied by Mulliners, Tickford, Graber, Willowbrook and Park Ward (Mulliner Park Ward from 1963).
Within the close confines of the Coventry car industry, it was a simple matter to fit the chassis with slave wheels and tow them round to one of the three local firms. An Alvis inspector was permanently stationed within the coachbuilder’s factory, and the finished vehicle would be inspected again once it had been returned to Alvis at Holyhead Road. Incidentally it is this procedure which explains why the series of “car numbers” is so much more confusing than the “chassis numbers”.
Chassis numbers were allocated at the time a new batch of chassis were laid down, and so give a good clue as to date of manufacture. Thereafter, however, the chassis would be either delivered to an “outside” coachbuilder or sent to one of the three Coventry firms for bodying. In the first case it was allocated a car number immediately, whereas with the sub-contract firms it only received its car number once the coachwork had been inspected and the complete car was ready for despatch to the dealer.
Just click on the coachbuilder’s name below for more information:
Some other examples are shown below:
Arthur Mulliner, Bertelli, Carbodies, Cross & Ellis, Duple, James Young, Lancefield, Thrupp and Maberley