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The Globe and Mail

In pictures: 1936 Alvis 4.3 Short Chassis Tourer

Take a look at this freshly screwed together and very expensive modern day iteration of a 1930s Alvis sports car

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The 1936 Alvis 4.3 has been described as one of the greatest achievements of the pre-war British industry.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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Fewer than 200 were built before the Second World War bombs began dropping, with just a dozen clad in rakishly elegant Vanden Plas touring bodywork.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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Last year Alvis Car Co. of Kenilworth, England, began offering “Continuation Series” examples of the 1936 4.3 Short Chassis Tourer.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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They’re referred to as “continuation” cars because they are considered part of the original series rather than merely modern replicas.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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Apparently, the Alvis board back in the day approved construction of 77 chassis that were never completed before production halted in 1940.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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The new ones, being constructed to order at $316,000 a pop, come with original series serial and chassis numbers and are built to the original body and mechanical specifications, aside from a few minor tweaks to comply with modern emission and safety demands.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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The surviving 11 of the dozen 4.3 Tourers built have sold at auction for twice the price asked for a new one. But after acquiring a “continuation” Alvis, its owner would presumably feel his spirit freed to drive it as the original 1930s-era tearaways did. Back in the day, they’d have had “supercar” status and been considered an “absolutely wizard motor, old chap.”

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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The modern version is based on works blueprints and is a close-to-exact copy from chassis to engine but made from modern materials and with its engine featuring fuel injection and electronic management to meet emission requirements.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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A collapsible steering column, seatbelts, brighter lights and hydraulic brakes are also part of the package.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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You can also order extras like five- and six-speed or automatic transmissions, power steering and various luxury trims, plus a satellite navigation system.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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The company building it is actually a “continuation” version of the original itself. Alvis was taken over by Rover and then British Leyland in the 1960s, and car production ended in 1967 (it continued to make armoured vehicles).

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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Red Triangle was in turn taken over in the early 1990s, later acquired the Alvis name and established Alvis Car Co., which is building the current 4.3 Tourer.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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The 1930s was a wonderful period in the history of the automobile as those designing and building them had largely figured out what they were doing and cars, particularly of the British sporting variety, were both wonderful to look at and, in some cases, improbably fast.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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Unfortunately, the truly interesting ones, such as the Alvis 4.3, are often so rare only a lucky few ever get the chance to slip behind the wheel of one.

Max Earey/Alvis Car Co.

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