Alvis Car & Engineering Company Ltd of Coventry, England, has existed since 1919. In 1936 the company name was changed to Alvis Ltd and by the beginning of the war, aero-engine and armoured vehicle divisions had been added to the company. They formed Alvis-Straussler Mechanisation to produce armoured cars designed by Nicholas Straussler . In 1938 Strassler left and the name changed to Alvis Mechanisation. In 1938 the British War Office issued a specification for a scouting vehicle. Three British motor manufacturers: Alvis, BSA Cycles and Morris were invited to supply prototypes. Alvis had been in partnership with Nicholas Straussler and provided armoured cars to the Royal Air Force, Morris had participated in trials and production of armoured cars, and BSA Cycles Ц whose parent Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) was involved in armaments Ц had a small front wheel drive vehicle in production. The Alvis Front Wheel Drive was produced from 1928 until 1931. (1928 12/75 Front Wheel Drive open two-seater T.T. replica).
In 1947 the government asked the company to design a six-wheeled armoured car and the result was the Saracen .|
The FV603 Saracen is a six-wheeled armoured personnel carrier built by Alvis (1952) and used by the British Army.
Following the end of the Second World War, the British Army issued a requirement for a new, 6X6 wheeled armoured vehicle to replace the obsolete AEC Armoured Car. Design work began in 1947 and a contract was awarded to Alvis Cars to build two prototypes for trials. Design work on the FV601B was subcontracted to Crossley Motors (take over by AEC in 1948.), which engineered and manufactured six pre-production models. After further modifications by Alvis, the FV601C entered mass production in 1958 as the Alvis Saladin (1959). Production of the FV601C and its variants continued at the Alvis factory at Coventry until 1972.
The Stalwart amphibious cargo vehicle was developed by Alvis as a private venture. It entered service with the British Army in 1966. Its British Army designation is the FV620. In service it was nicknamed the 'Stolly'. The Stalwart is based on the Saracen 6x6 armored personnel carrier chassis.
As a member of the FV 600 series, it shared a similar chassis with the FV601 Saladin armoured car, the Salamander airfield crash truck and the Stalwart high mobility load carrier. The chassis, suspension and H-drive drivetrain remained similar, but the engine, transmission and braking systems varied significantly.
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