Lot 246 - 1937 Alvis Speed 25 Charlesworth Drop Head Coupé
|Odometer reading||89,417 miles|
|Estimate||£105,000 - £120,000|
|Result||Sold - £91,840|
1927 saw the introduction of the six-cylinder Alvis 14.75 and this engine became the basis for the long line of luxurious six-cylinder Alvis cars produced up to the outbreak of the Second World War. The overtly sporting 2,511cc Speed 20 appeared in 1932 and a year later, as the SB series, was treated to a number of innovations including independent front suspension and the world's first all-synchromesh gearbox.
In 1936 a larger 3,511cc engine was introduced with seven main bearings, rather than the four of the earlier Speed 20, giving an output of 110bhp. The clutch, flywheel and crankshaft were balanced together, which minimised vibration and two electric petrol pumps fed the three SU carburettors. The new 3 ½ litre model initially carried saloon bodywork only, but a year later it was combined with the latest version of the Speed 20 chassis to create the Speed 25, capable of a top speed of 95mph and widely considered to be one of the finest cars of its era.
Alvis never supplied any of the bodies for the Speed 25. All the cars were supplied in chassis form and the majority were bodied by Cross & Ellis (Tourer), Charlesworth (Saloon and Drop Head Coupé) and Vanden Plas. Many other coachbuilders including Bertelli, Carbodies, Lancefield and Offord would also offer suitably elegant open touring or saloon car bodies on the Alvis chassis.
This 1937 SB Series Speed 25 carries a Sedanca Drop Head Coupé body by Charlesworth and has been in the vendor's possession since 1983. Originally registered BG 5953 (a Birkenhead series for which records no longer survive), little is known of its history prior to it being owned in the late 1950s by David Heimann. According to the vendor, there is some speculation that the Alvis saw service as a police vehicle and that there was also a connection with Sir Anthony Eden but no supporting evidence has come to light; hopefully further research might prove fruitful. During the vendor's long ownership the Alvis has been treated to a complete body and mechanical restoration and carefully maintained since, covering little mileage. There is a history file with the car which contains detailed invoices for the work carried out by Hightone Restorations as well as all MoT certificates going back to 1981. There is also a valuation report carried out in 1989 by marque expert Malcolm Elder which describes the Alvis as one of the best of its type in existence.
Resplendent in cream paintwork with navy blue interior, this Alvis is ready to be enjoyed by an appreciative new owner and, as a highly original example of one of the finest cars of the 1930s, is sure to attract interest from collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Note: the original registration mark (BG 5953) is presently being re-applied for.
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.