Alira- A Quick(ish) History

A Quick History (Being Revamped)

1951 Alira Sausalito promotional image (1951, colorized)

Alira was founded in 1947 by Gene Patton, an entrepeneur in Oregon. Having grown rich making military vehicles, he shifted his focus towards cars after WWII. The story goes as such: he was looking around at cars he wanted to buy, looking at prices and options on Packards and Cadillacs. While he was mulling over his own car purchase, he had an epiphany: He realized the auto market was continuing to grow and he had spare plants he didn’t know what to do with. So he got to work hiring a talented team of designers and engineers, to create a new car for a new decade. However, his aspirations were beyond just that of America. With dreams of selling in markets abroad, such as Europe and Letara, he gave his team a goal to build something more compact and a bit unique, using lessons from both markets. In 1951, the first Alira model, the Alira Sausalito, rolled off the assembly lines for the very first time. It featured a boxer-4 engine good for around 70 horsepower, and came in three trims: a sedan, a wagon and a Prestige trim featuring fancy metallic paint, an automatic transmission, wire wheels and a harmonic balancer added to the B4 to create a smoother ride. A successful ad campaign was run, and the car did well abroad, but sales in America were slow because of the desire for larger cars with larger engines. After Alira came out with their first larger model in 1953, a midsize car named the Larkspur, things began to pick up in the States. In 1955, Alira came out with its’ new halo car: the Alira Stinson. A small sports car with decent power and Euro-American looks, it sold in small numbers but was well-regarded.

1959 Alira Stinson fueling up (1960) colorized

Over time, the cars started to grow a reputation for being a good value, and the company began to see sales pick up further. Sadly, in 1959, Mr. Patton died, leaving his company to his son, Henry. He established a board of executives, handed them the reins, sold his share in the company and bowed out. Cars had never really been a passion of the younger Patton, and so he wanted to maintain his father’s legacy, but also see himself out the door. A separate European branch was opened in 1959, and given mostly free rein to follow European trends, while reporting back to the main American branch on innovations.

(1960s - modern day still needs to be written)

Alira Group hub:


Using the Sausalito name on two completely different model lines from the same manufacturer is guaranteed to cause a lot of confusion… At least the second one is more well-regarded than the first.

Not sure what happened there lol, good catch. The small sedan’s the Sausalito, not the sports car. I’ll fix that