Six Wheeled Party Bus: 1969 Alvis FV620 Stalwart

1969 Alvis Stalwart

Remember the Alvis we recently featured, well we have another Alvis for you! Alvis continued making commercial and military vehicles after automobile production ended. One of the vehicles that was quite successful with the British Army was the 6-wheeled amphibious Stalwart. This particular one has found its way to Raleigh, North Carolina and is for sale here on craigslist for $3,000.

Matchbox Stalwart
Find this Matchbox Stalwart on eBay

I owned one of these once! Just a little smaller. This was one of my favorite Matchbox toys. I don’t know if BP actually used a Stalwart in a civilian application like this, but it sure was fun to imagine exploring the great unknown in my back yard. Stalwarts are 6-wheel drive and 6-wheel steer, so they are quite capable off-road machines. They are perhaps best known, however, for their water capabilities, as this unbelievable clip of one plunging off into a lake shows.

Alvis Stalwart Amphibious

This particular Stalwart has seen better days. Originally powered by a 220 horsepower Rolls Royce 6.5 liter gasoline V-8, the engine is missing. The last time it was used was as a tour bus to transport 24 people. After a little research I found that the Peter Pan Bus Lines started their Land and Water Tours using Stalwarts in 1998, so you know it was at least running at that point. I did find some articles where they were in Baltimore from 2000 to 2001; at that point they were listed as $200,000 vehicles. That may set a record for depreciation!

Alvis Stalwart FV620 Cutaway
Image courtesy amphibiousvehicle.net

As you can see from this cutaway drawing, the Stalwart has an incredibly complex drivetrain, which makes sense considering all wheels drive and steer. Access to the three person cab is only through roof hatches. A quirk of the drive system is that you cannot turn on hard surfaces without binding up the axles as the Alvis was designed for off-road use only. Even the military had to transport the vehicles by massive truck or airplane rather than just driving them from place to place. I wonder what truck and trailer they used as the FV620 weighs no less than 9000 kg, or just under 20,000 pounds! When in the drink, two waterjets propelled the vehicle to a little less than 7 mph, while on the road the Alvis was capable of no less than 40 mph flat out. I can only imagine the ride at that point. What would you repower this 6×6 with? Have you got anywhere to use it?

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Comments

  1. skloon

    Any potential buyer should watch Salvage Squad as they re-animated one allowing it to swim, I remember that the seals were a bit tricky to find

  2. Charles

    I saved my Matchbox collection from the 60’s and still have the toy version. I honestly did not know that the toy was based on a real vehicle.

    That video is crazy! It looks like the driver almost made a submarine out of that heavy beast.

    Owning and operating one of those is probably on par with owning and operating a train locomotive. It’s just too much for an individual to handle. Now if someone has a corporation and a need for such a vehicle… Or maybe if it started off as a military vehicle, it could always be returned to a good state cosmetically and used as a static display.

  3. cliffyc

    Whoa!,that’s what I call an entrance!!!!

  4. Dave Wright

    I owned 3 of these that came from the same livery. 2 had been re powered with industrial big block Chev 366 engines. One had the orignal Rolls engine. They are actually quite a simple machine. The company went out of business when they sank one in Baltimore and killed some people as I remember. They are just a 6X6 military truck with a boat hull and an extra transfer case to run the boat screw similar to the American DUKW. We were going to use them in our marine salvage business but found that our Landing Craft were better suited to our use. I have a bunch of photos of them somewhere.

  5. Mark E

    You hit every negative point I was going to mention:

    Complex Drivetrain

    Locked transfer case, which will be ruined if you run them much on paving

    Not a simple prop like on DUKWs but ducted fan jet propulsion of sorts.

    An excellent vehicle if you’re looking to sink lots of money into it! (Pun intended!)

    Final Note: They can still be lots of fun without going near the water! http://youtu.be/vEuDRu2lBfQ

    • Mick

      They have a Rolls Royce Straight 8 Cylinder, not a V8 as sugested in this post, the one here in Australia is a swimmer, has had the diffs regeared, a complex re modification of the hubs and now will travel at 130 kilometers per hour and has air actuators fitted to the front and rear drive shafts to disengage the two front and two rear wheels to only drive on the centre wheels, also the post mentions six wheel steering, they only steer on the two front wheels, a truly awesome machine.

  6. RickyM

    I love it when you feature a vehicle that I owned a Matchbox version of – had one of these too ! Think this one could be a tricky restoration that you would probably not get your money back on – would have to be a labour of love.

  7. That Guy

    That video is absolutely epic. Like a sumo wrestler doing a cannonball into the community bath.

    Love the sound of that engine, too. What an awesome machine, in every sense of the word.

  8. Jeff Lavery Staff

    This is a classic case of, “I never knew they existed but now I desperately want one.”

  9. Charles

    Our family are all from the piney woods and swamps of south Georgia. People from that area know exactly what to do with a vehicle like this. It would make the ultimate mud-buggy, rolling deer stand, gator hunting, bear hunting, hog hunting, snake den crashing, bass fishing vehicle.

  10. ImpalaGuy

    Wow. The vid was a blast and looked like a lot of the Russian dash-cam videos, except it didn’t plunge to the bottom of the lake. It’s about 20 mils from me but being a non-runner, and not really street drivable if it was, keeps me, my checkbook, and neighborhood property values safe.

  11. Bill

    It would / could be a nice static display in front of a VFW post or Army surplus store for that price.

  12. miles m

    I just purchased this Pirate Ship. Wish me luck.

    • Robin Gamblin

      Awe, do they have anymore? I want one to fix up for travelling to work in major winter storms up here in Northern Canada.

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