Alvis was founded in Coventry, England in 1920 by T. G. John and G. P. de Freville. The company produced high quality cars including its own very reliable engines. By 1928 Alvis had succeeded in building over 6,000 automobiles.
In 1937 Alvis built a new factory to manufacture aircraft engines and another new factory in 1938 to build armored military vehicles. The last pre-war Alvis automobile was made in their Coventry factory in 1939.
During World War II, Coventry was heavily bombed and the Coventry plant was destroyed in 1940. After the war, the first civilian Alvis was the 1946 Model TA14, based almost entirely on the pre-war Speed 25. Alvis began exporting cars to the USA in 1950.
The conservative traditional design of the Alvis cars hindered their sales even though they were technically very well made. The Swiss coachbuilder Graber had considerable success with the Alvis chassis, building several beautiful cars, mostly convertibles. In 1955 Graber took on the role of design advisor to Alvis and, for a short while, sales flourished. Financial demands forced Alvis to sell its assets to Rover in July, 1965 and the final Alvis model, the TF21, was shown at the London motor show that same year. When Rover was taken over by Leyland Motor Corporation in March, 1967, it meant the demise of the Alvis brand for automobiles. From then on the name was used only on military vehicles.