This car is an Alvis TE 2-3 Seater Deluxe 12-50, commonly referred to as a Wide 2 Seater 12-50. Designed with the object of providing the refinements of a high class coupe at the price of an ordinary open model.
The chassis, engine and all mechanical parts were made by the Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd., at Holyhead Road, Coventry, who started production of light cars in 1921 introducing the 12-50 model series in 1923. The wide-bodied tourer coachwork was made by Cross and Ellis Ltd., also of Coventry. It seats three abreast with a two person dickey seat behind, though this is not covered by the folding hood.
This car was initially supplied by the London car dealer Henlys to Mr E G Woolton of Clapham in London, first registered 20th November 1925. It cost £485 and at that time Henlys were running an advertisement offering “Yours for £100 down”. Around 760 Alvis 12-50’s were registered during 1925, 38 are known still to survive.
A previous owner rescued this one from a scrap yard at Kings Cross in London in the 1950’s. The engine and body are mostly aluminium, which was in great demand after the war. Then Mr Alan Blower ran it as a student - once being stopped in Piccadilly Circus by a policeman for carrying twelve passengers on board - and later as a family car with a baby’s carry cot in the rear. He kept the car for 47 years eventually, having carried out a full restoration in the 1970’s.
This car has spent time touring in Europe, it was driven to a number of European countries as a celebration of its ‘80th Anniversary during the summer of 2005. More recently with her previous owner Mr Ian Sykes who had the car for some 13 years, she was driven during October 2019, on a two week holiday to the Annual Swiss Classic British Car Meeting in Morges, Switzerland.
After searching for about a year for a 12-50 with this body style, I was fortunate to be offered this example, since acquiring the car in mid August 2022 I managed to clock up over 750 miles during Autumn 2022, including a four day tour in the Scottish borders. The car has continued to be used regularly by its owners over many years.
The advertising slogan for Alvis in the 1920’s was “Master of the King’s Highway”. It certainly feels like that with its high seating position and view over the road. The steering and handling are precise and its 1645cc engine is very tractable. The cable brakes are effective and with a central accelerator pedal and crash gearbox, it is very engaging to drive.
When current - the hare mascot was only found on Alvis 12-50’s - they were considered quick cars in their time. Alvis went on to build ever more luxurious cars until 1967, with a reputation for quality and performance founded on the 12-50.