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CMM  AACA  Student Chapter

The Alvis Project


The Alvis Project:

How the St. Michaels Concours, the Classic Motor Museum (CMM), and Coventry Motor Works have joined forces to help the newly formed CMM Student Chapter of the Bay Country Region chapter of the AACA, shift into gear.   (2018 Concours Brochure Article)       

 New Years Day 2018 dawned bright but chilly in St. Michaels, as a number of intrepid classic car owners gathered once again to continue, what has become a tradition of motoring to the very end of Tilghman Island. Most returned to the Pinkett House at the Classic Motor Museum, where waiting, was a potluck array of hot soup, chowders, and casseroles…and a warm fire.  This was the setting for an introduction by Concours Chairman, Luke Phipps, to Coventry Motor Works of Easton, owned by Sandy and JoAnne Thomson, about getting involved with the Alvis Project.

A meeting was soon arranged between Classic Motor Museum (CMM) president, Tad Du Pont, Luke Phipps, the Alvis owner, and the Thomson family. There it was discussed how the Student Chapter was about to be approved and recognized at the upcoming national convention of the Antique Automobile Club of America in Philadelphia.  Also reviewed was how the Student Chapter and the new museum Education Center would be the focal point of the CMM.  And, how the 1938 Alvis would continue to serve as a catalyst to engage the students.  Would Coventry Motor Works be interested in taking on the management and full restoration of the Alvis?

The whole prospect immediately had the interest of the Thomsons. They had long since been concerned with the encouragement of youth involvement in the classic car hobby. They also had three boys in college who had each, already completed ground up restorations of their own vintage British sports cars during high school. After much research and careful consideration, Coventry answered with an enthusiastic Yes!

Soon after collecting the Alvis and establishing for it, a new home in their shop, Coventry Motor Works decided to host an impromptu gathering of students, museum staff, and Bay Country Region AACA members at their shop for a barbecue. What a great time! The event took meaning as the students, led by Alvis Project Manager Rob Thomson, logged an inventory of parts.  Boxes were opened, parts documented, and a plan for moving forward was adopted. Coventry projects a two to three year timetable for the restoration.  In that time, numerous workshops, tours, and fun events are planned for the student chapter.

The success of the St. Michaels Concours and the Classic Motor Museum, relies on the countless volunteer hours of many people with various skill, expertise and resources. The future success of the Student Chapter is no different.  The concours Executive Committee is pleased to once again, make the Classic Motor Museum the beneficiary of this years’ show. Coventry Motor Works is proud, not only to be a sponsor, but to be honored with the restoration of the Alvis, knowing that it can offer the Student Chapter firsthand experience in automotive education in a healthy, safe environment.

Wishing the 2018 St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance great success!

Sandy Thomson

(Sandy Thomson serves on the St. Michaels Concours Executive Committee and is also the owner of Coventry Motor Works. He lives in Trappe, Talbot Co., M.D., with his wife JoAnne, and three sons Rob, Jonathan, and Scott).

Alvis Work Sessions

Hello, my name is Rob Thomson and I am honored to be the Project Manager for the CMM AACA Alvis Project.   The Alvis restoration is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about all aspects of restoring Classic cars.  Students learn basic automotive skills including shop safety, use and care of tools in a fun environment.

Every other Thursday evening, I host a work session at our family business, Coventry Motor Works, where students have the opportunity to participate in “hands on” experience with the Alvis.  Please view the gallery of pictures below which capture some of the work we have completed. 

The 1938 Alvis 12/70 Drophead Coupe

The 1938 Alvis DHC was introduced in 1937 by the Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd, of Coventry England.   Geoffrey de Freville (1883-1965) designed the first Alvis engine and is also responsible for the company name.  It is said that the name Alvis, is a compound of  “Aluminium” and “vis” meaning strength in Latin.  De Freville, vigorously rejected this thought, indicating that the name had no meaning; it was easy to pronounce in any language.

In 1936 the company name was shortened to Alvis Ltd, and aircraft engine and armoured vehicle divisions were added to the company by the beginning of the Second World War. Smith-Clarke designed several models during the 1930s and 1940s, including the six-cylinder Speed 20, the Speed 25, and the Alvis 4.3 litre model.

The 12/70 was a successful model, with a total of 754 produced before the war brought production to an end in 1940. 551 carried the Mulliners saloon body, 150 were Mulliners dropheads, 18 Whittingham & Mitchel tourers and 13 Mulliners tourers, plus one Mulliners fixed head coupé.  The remainder were “one-offs” or unknown “chassis only” deliveries. It is difficult to be categorical about numbers as some were in production but believed destroyed when the Alvis car factory was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1940.

The 12/70 was produced from 1937 to 1940 in two series, designated SB and SC 13.22. It was aimed at the “quality four cylinder with a sporting flavour” market. Standard coachwork was by Mulliners of Birmingham, their first major contract from Alvis, and comprised a neat four door saloon and a two door drophead coupé, priced at £435 and £445 respectively.  

The major bodywork change came in late 1938 when the SB became the SC for the 1939 model year, when the saloon body was widened at the rear and accommodation improved by altering the roof line. At the same time the spare wheel was moved from inside to outside the boot lid where it was given a metal cover.

Reference:    (January 27, 2019) Retrieved from

Alvis Project Update 2023:

Unfortunately, the world-wide COVID crisis brought numerous government mandated restrictions and shutdowns in the United States and elsewhere.

 Regrettably, the Bay Country Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) sanctioned Student Chapter at the Classic Motor Museum of St Michaels (CMM) in which Coventry Motor Works (CMW) was a significant participant was one of those programs shuttered by the crisis.

 As the mainstay of the Student Chapter, CMW hosted students from various Talbot County high schools for on premise workshops and social sessions that hoped to start a full restoration of a 1938 Alvis Drophead Coupe as its signature project.

 Sadly, COVID ended that plan and the future of the Student Chapter. 


Nevertheless, the project to restore the Alvis is continuing and remains the responsibility of its owners and CMW.


As well, the CMM is now supporting a State of Maryland accredited apprenticeship program, the Automotive Technician Apprenticeship Program or ATAP, for young adults who wish to pursue careers in vehicle repair and restoration.


If that program is of interest, you can find more information on it at the Museum’s web-site:

The 1938 Alvis 12/70 Drophead Coup, SB 13.22                                        

CMM AACA Student Chapter

Classic Motor Museum

Antique Automobile Club of America

St. Michaels Concours D’Elegance