1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater  Chassis no. 7190 Engine no. 7653

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Lot 255
1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater
Registration no. Not Registered Chassis no. 7190 Engine no. 7653

AU$ 90,000 - 110,000
US$ 62,000 - 76,000
1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater
Registration no. Not Registered
Chassis no. 7190
Engine no. 7653
Despite the somewhat conservative image Alvis has today, T G John Ltd produced some technically innovative cars in the Vintage period, pioneering front-wheel drive technology and championing small-capacity, high-performance engines. Engineer T G John had founded the Alvis company in 1919 when he acquired the rights to an automobile engine and with it the brand name of its aluminium pistons – 'Alvis'. The first Alvis car - the 10/30hp - appeared in 1920. Conventional yet well engineered, the four-cylinder, sidevalve-engined 10/30 was unusual among contemporary light cars in having a four-speed gearbox.
Chief engineer Captain G T Smith-Clarke and chief designer W M Dunn experimented with front-wheel drive in 1925 in the form of a racer known as 'Tadpole', which was built for sprints and hill climbs. Early signs of promise resulted in a far more ambitious plan to run two FWD cars in the new 1½-Litre Grand Prix formula of 1926. Despite boasting supercharged straight-eight engines and De Dion front suspension, the Alvis Grand Prix racers proved a failure, but faith in the concept remained undiminished and a new front-wheel drive 12hp sports model - the FD - entered production in May 1928.
At the heart of the Alvis FD was a robust four-cylinder engine with single overhead camshaft and a bore/stroke of 68x102mm, giving a displacement of 1,482cc. The camshaft, magneto and water pump were all gear driven and the cylinder head detachable. The chassis frame consisted of deep channel sections while, unusually, there was independent suspension all round. Supercharged (12/75) and un-blown (12/50) versions were offered, the former's 75bhp endowing it with phenomenal performance for a 1½-litre car. A long wheelbase (10') FE version arrived in September 1928. The works team cars built for the 1928 season more than vindicated the FWD concept, placing 1st and 2nd in class at Le Mans and finishing 2nd overall in the Tourist Trophy.
Few front-wheel drive Alvis cars were made, the total being estimated at 155 including prototypes and racers, while even fewer have survived the passage of time. According to Alvis Register figures, only 39 FD-series cars were manufactured between 1928 and 1931, of which approximately 14 are presently accounted for.
This particular example, chassis number '11982', is an FD-series model that was originally equipped with two-seater 'Le Mans' style coachwork by Cross & Ellis. The car has a lengthy history in Australia, where so many Vintage Alvis models have survived, and belonged to Graeme Cooke, of Moe, Victoria from the early 1950s until sold to the present owners in March 2005. Cooke competed in VSCC events at Phillip Island and Rob Roy.
In recent years, the Alvis has undergone a complete restoration, full details of which are available. The engine was rebuilt by S & R Wilson using a new camshaft, valves, pistons and connecting rods with slipper bearings, while the cylinder block has been bored and sleeved. The supercharger was completely rebuilt by Ian Ruffley, the magneto overhauled by Les McKitterick and a new, ceramic-coated exhaust manifold obtained from Paul Bamford. A set of new gears has been installed and the crown wheel and pinion re-set with new bearings. The radiator has been re-cored and a new radiator surround made by Richard Stanley, the dummy honeycomb being fabricated by John Rummery in New Zealand. In addition, the brakes have been overhauled, the wheels and hubs rebuilt and a new speedometer drive gear made.
The TT-style bodywork has a new timber frame made using full-sized drawings supplied by Paul Bamford, and has been skinned and painted by Bodycraft in Caloundra. The seats have been re-upholstered by R Bean using kangaroo hides; a new hood frame and tonneau made; and the instruments sourced and checked.
In short, this is a beautifully finished and professionally restored example of the front-wheel drive Alvis, one of the most unusual cars to emerge from Coventry in the 1920s. As the Alvis advertising slogan proudly proclaimed, those who chose to drive the cars of the Red Triangle were truly the 'Master of the King's Highway'.
1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater  Chassis no. 7190 Engine no. 7653
1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater  Chassis no. 7190 Engine no. 7653
1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater  Chassis no. 7190 Engine no. 7653
1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater  Chassis no. 7190 Engine no. 7653
1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater  Chassis no. 7190 Engine no. 7653
1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater  Chassis no. 7190 Engine no. 7653
1928 Alvis 12/75hp Front Wheel Drive supercharged sports two-seater  Chassis no. 7190 Engine no. 7653
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