Lot 201 - 1935 Alvis Speed 20
|Odometer reading||30,311 miles|
|Estimate||£62,000 - £70,000|
Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd. was a manufacturer that originally existed in Coventry from 1919 through to 1967. In addition to cars designed for the civilian market, the company also produced racing cars, aircraft engines, armoured cars and other military vehicles, the latter continuing long after civilian car production ceased. In 1922, George Thomas Smith-Clarke left his job as assistant works manager at Daimler and joined Alvis as chief engineer and works manager. Smith-Clarke was accompanied by William Dunn who left his job as a draughtsman, also at Daimler, to become Chief Draughtsman at Alvis. This partnership lasted for nearly 28 years and was responsible for producing some of the most successful cars in the company's history. Smith-Clarke left in 1950 and Dunn assumed Smith-Clarke's position as Chief Engineer remaining in that position until 1959. As with many upmarket engineering companies of the time, Alvis did not produce their own coachwork, relying instead on coachbuilders in the Midlands area such as Carbodies, Charlesworth, Gurney Nutting, Hooper, Tickford and Vanden Plas.
After leaving the factory in 1935, this Alvis found her way to East Africa where she was used as an everyday car and also on the race circuits, particularly at Langa Langa in Kenya where she had some success. However, after suffering from an overheating problem, she was purchased by a local Rift Valley farmer who was confident of rectifying the problem. He lost interest and the car changed hands again to Mr. Dickenson-Chetham for the sum of £15. Described as a giant mechanical jigsaw, she was eventually put back together and raced again in Kenya where she had some success collecting six cups along the way. When Mr. Dickenson-Chetham decided to return to the UK, the Alvis came with him; he managed to trace the original registration number and today she wears BMB 784 with pride. The car is once again up for sale although she is looking well and drives exceedingly well; the 2762cc straight-six engine sounds superb. Clearly this has been a much loved and cherished example over the years. Given the general market value of a Speed 20, the estimate looks very attractive.
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