1936 Alvis 4.3-litre
Year of manufacture1936
Offered from a distinguished private collection
1936 Alvis 4.3-Litre SA Drophead Coupé
Coachwork by Offord & Sons
Registration no. BRM 958
Chassis no. 13178
'Offord's final standard designs were its drophead coupés on the larger Alvis chassis. Starting with the Speed 25 in 1936, it moved on to the new 4.3 model and bodied some 16 examples. The Alvis 4.3 drophead is probably the best-looking design the firm ever produced, and a fitting end to a long history.' Nick Walker, 'A-Z of British Coachbuilders 1919-1960'.
Pre-war development of the six-cylinder Alvis culminated in the announcement of the 4.3-Litre in August 1936. The 4.3-Litre was based on the 3½-litre Speed 25 introduced the previous year, and was powered by an enlarged version of Alvis' new seven-bearing, overhead-valve engine producing 137bhp on triple carburettors. The cruciform-braced chassis featured the kind of advanced thinking long associated with the marque; independent front suspension and a four-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox, introduced on the preceding Speed Twenty, were retained with the additional refinements of driver-controlled Luvax hydraulic dampers and servo-assisted brakes.
Claimed to be the fastest un-supercharged saloon on the UK market, the Alvis 4.3-Litre was certainly one of the few pre-war saloons capable of a genuine 100mph. 'In the scheme of things there are cars, good cars and super cars,' declared Autocar magazine. ' When a machine can be put into the last of these three categories and yet is not by any means in the highest-price class, considerable praise is due to the makers. The model in question is the latest Alvis 4.3-litre sports tourer.'
Sturdily built and endowed with a generous wheelbase, the Alvis six attracted some of the finest examples of the pre-war coachbuilders' art, though the 4.3-Litre's chassis-only price of £750 meant that ownership was necessarily confined to wealthy connoisseurs. A complete 4.3-Litre cost around £1,100, outstanding value for money given its specification and performance, comfortably undercutting rivals such as the V12 Lagonda and 4¼-Litre Bentley. Despite this price advantage, only 198 cars had been delivered when the outbreak of World War 2 stopped production. Some 95 survivors are known to the Alvis Owners Club.
A large powerful car, this Alvis 4.3-Litre wears handsome four-seat drophead coupé coachwork by Offord & Sons Ltd of London. Founded in the late 18th Century, Offord held Royal Warrants for coachbuilding and bodied it first automobile in 1895. Offord was also responsible for maintaining the carriages kept at the Royal Mews, a role the family-owned firm continued to fulfil after it ceased making car bodies in 1939.
Built in 1936 to sales order '12351', chassis number '13178' was despatched to Henlys, Manchester in January 1937, having been registered as 'BRM 958' in December '36. Apparently, the car was carefully laid up from the beginning of WW2 to the autumn of 1949. Records show that the Alvis was sold at auction at Beaulieu in 1971, and the car then resided in Canada until 2015.
During its life '13178' has been rebuilt both in the UK and abroad, and maintained to a high standard. Recent work includes fitting a new cylinder head with hardened valve seats supplied by marque specialists Red Triangle. We are advised that this 4.3 performs very well and is in beautiful condition throughout. An outstanding opportunity to purchase a very rare and highly desirable British thoroughbred.