"The World's Best Light Car" (1921). "The Car of Super Excellence" (1924). "Master of the Kings's Highway" (1927). These confident claims appeared in Alvis advertising in the vintage period, and the cars' enthusiastic owners then and now would confirm that they were not overstating the case.
The vintage Alvis, whether in 4 or 6 cylinder form, combines all the desirable attributes of the classic vintage sporting car. What makes it exceptional is its excellent balance of power, road holding and braking. The simplicity of its mechanical design and the strength of its chassis contribute to remarkable durability and reliability: it is also eminently suitable for the owner who prefers to do his own maintenance and servicing. On the road the vintage Alvis is very satisfying to drive. Referring to the 12/50, Clutton and Stanford wrote in The Vintage Motor Car (Batsford 1954): “We cannot but consider it one of the classic designs of the time, and it remains of all vintage sports cars the one which needs least apology”.
All vintage Alvis cars have an obvious affinity - with the exception of the front-wheel-drive cars. They clearly have a common ancestry, beginning with the 10/30 which first appeared in 1920. The cars are of orthodox design with conventional ladder-type chassis frames built from channel section steel. Suspension is by semi-elliptic leaf springs and friction dampers. All have four-speed crash gearboxes with right-hand gate change and central accelerator. The gearbox is separate from the engine and driven by a short cardan shaft from the clutch.The front axle is of the beam axle type, and the cast aluminium rear axle is of fully floating design. The early cars had rear wheel brakes only, with four-wheel braking being introduced in 1924.