1947 Alvis Duncan Coupe
During the Second World War, the Alvis factory had been a major defence contractor, however, the entire works was to suffer serious damage during a bombing raid on the night of 14th November 1940, so it was not until November 1946 that they were able to recommence car production.
Their first offering was the TA14, available as a saloon built for Alvis by Mulliners of Birmingham and also in Drophead Coupe versions, built by Carbodies and Tickford.
A number of chassis also went to other coachbuilders for special bodywork.
It is always a pleasure to offer a motor car that is truly special and extremely rare and here is a unique opportunity indeed. One of just 36 built, the Duncan bodied Alvis Coupe made its debut in the Summer of 1947. The brains behind this special car was Ian Duncan, an aeronautical engineer who had acquired a factory in Norfolk to produce his own very small car, the Duncan Drone, which was powered by a BSA 500cc motorcycle engine. Duncan also began to produce a few special bodies for The Healey Motor Company.
The Reliance Garage of Norwich was an Alvis agent, and their sales manager, Stan Boshier, was so impressed by the prototype Healey Duncan, that he asked for a similar body to be fitted to an Alvis TA14 chassis. This body was a striking pillarless design with a large glass area and an elegant, streamlined tail with useful luggage capacity.
The seasoned ash framework was made by a Norfolk firm of boat builders and comprised 62 sections of timber, screwed and glued together using Aerolite 300F, the resin used to bond the structure of the Mosquito aircraft. The completed frames were then despatched to Motor Panels of Coventry where they were clad in high-tensile aluminium alloy panels.
With extensive soundproofing and high quality trim and furnishings, the brochure stated “The combination of the Duncan body and the Alvis chassis provides standards of performance and silence only normally obtained in much larger cars”.
As the Duncan body was lighter than the production saloon, the 1.9 litre engine was able to provide lively performance, with a comfortable cruising gait of around 65 mph. However, such exclusivity came at a price - £2205, this being almost twice the cost of a standard TA14 saloon.
This car, CVG119, was registered on 19th June 1947. The history file confirms that Alvis supplied the completed chassis to The Reliance Garage on 12th May that year. According to David Rogerson, the former Works Manager at Duncan Industries, this was in fact the launch car and was finished in mid 1947. There were originally two cars finished in Summer Cream and the famed racing driver, Kay Petre, who was also motoring correspondent of The Graphic, was to produce an article which stated in a rather ‘tongue in cheek’ way, how Alvis, Daimler and Healey were combining to adopt a joint body style. David Rogerson stated that “The phone never stopped ringing” Given Kay Petre’s reputation as one of Britain’s top lady racing drivers before the war, she was given the Duncan Coupe to promote and on 6th September 1947, she was photographed with the car having entered it in the Concours d’Elegance at the RAC Jubilee Rally in Regents Park.
Now one of six examples said to remain, this car has undergone meticulous restoration which has included an engine rebuild within the last 4/5 years, replacement of various timber sections and since the restoration the car has been used regularly, attending many shows and events.
Two large and comprehensive files of information, invoices, etc are included and this fine and distinctive Alvis is ready for a new chapter in her distinguished life.
For initial enquiries and to arrange an appointment to view, please call us on 01420-474919 or 07710-364945.