Lot 345 - 1930 Alvis Silver Eagle Sports
|Estimate||£80,000 - £120,000|
Historically, one of Coventry's finest motor manufacturers, the Alvis Car Company had sporadically raced. First extraordinarily fast side-valve cars at Brooklands then the legendary 12/50 in 1928, the most ambitious eight cylinder Grand Prix car. But due to ever changing times and circumstances that usually prevail throughout history, no great successes were forthcoming. It's ironic that in 1927, the six cylinder Silver Eagle engine had arrived in 1800cc format, an advanced and well designed unit possessing considerable potential and with the sound principles and approach, the company had always displayed. It is a tragedy that the company weren't able to grasp and capitalise, on a competition basis, using this most exciting format because the unit was simply fitted into the very lightweight 12/50 platform chassis. With the removable front cross member utilising a fine gearbox and sitting amidships providing favorable weight distribution and, like all Alvis's, the components were beautifully engineered.
The engine, like most straight six cylinder units ran smoothly providing scope for high rpm's. In 1929, the bore size increased from 63mm to 67mm plus 100mm stroke providing 2,150cc motor yielding 68/72bhp, strong for the time!
Of course the engine laid the foundation for the desirable Speed 20 and the Speed 25 up until the post-war straight -six cars right through to the 1960's. Michal May lapped Brooklands at 115mph in his Silver Eagle car that won the Irish Grand Prix as a privateer, the only Alvis to win a Grand Prix reinforcing, as suspected, the general poor direction from Alvis management. The car exhibited today has no known history but clearly was intended to become a serious contender as a sports racing car and carries all of the hallmarks of works attention. The chassis is known to have been shortened pre-war to 8'3" and considerable lightening is in evidence.
It appears to have magnesium brake plates and footwell. Other components have been polished for crack detection as was customary on serious racing cars. It has a close-ratio gearbox and all brake drums are machined for balance. It has a pre-war Borg/Beck clutch, the engine had 69mm bores and special high compression solid skirt pistons giving a total displacement of 2250cc. The head has special combustion chambers and standard size valves though uprated springs are evident. Comprehensive gas-flowed ports using triple 1.25" brass bodied S.U. carburetors are also fitted. The camshaft is non-standard but the engine has been rebuilt meticulously with the onus on total originality and it produced, on Heenan Dynamiter, 102bhp at 4,000rpm on pump fuel and 116bhp on methanol. The power continued to climb but it seemed prudent to restrict the revs since piston rings and bearing chains etc are all new. It is thought that this car could undoubtedly have lapped Brooklands at close to 120mph and can accelerate to 60mph in second gear in around seven seconds and achieve 90mph in third when fitted with high ratio crown wheel and pinion.
It should be perhaps mentioned that this car should not be confused with other Alvis specials, it has a wonderfully original/vintage provenance and we are informed that it can compete in all manner of proper historic events such as the Seaman Trophy, the Italia Trophy, the Mille Miglia and Goodwood.
It was bought by Robert Harley in 1998 but stayed at the workshops of John Densham during his tenure. Upon his death, Mr. Densham acquired it from the estate and continued its restoration. The superstructure is believed to have come from a sporting Lagonda with slight adjustment to fit this sporting Alvis with the chassis, a 12/50 Alvis unit. The cycle wings and spare wheel are easily removed for competition ingeniously using captive nuts within the body.
Having been fitted with comprehensive stowage and provision for a high output generator driven from a Carden shaft with inclusion of a fan for cooling in traffic, much thought has been expended. The body has a 'dickey seat' fitted to the tail section as well as a high-capacity fuel tank served by twin S.U. pumps for optimum weight distribution. The wheels are all rebuilt as is the radiator, the BTH magneto, dynamo and starter motor etc. The weight of the car is under 18cwt and is possible for further reduction. A semi-machined aluminium flywheel is included in the sale (current flywheel/clutch being 60lbs). The rear axle is normally set at 5.22:1 but has since been up-rated to 4.1:1 and stamped 'RJ', thought to be Robin Jackson.
This VSCC-eligible sports car will out-perform any un-blown Type 35 Bugatti and represents a truly unique opportunity to become the custodian of such an exciting piece of historic British competition hardware.
Next lotLot 346 - 1905 Riley 9hp V-Twin
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.