1937 Alvis Speed Twenty Five
Year of manufacture1937
Number of seats2
1937 Alvis Speed Twenty-Five Drophead Coupé
Coachwork by Charlesworth
Registration no. DNC 754
Chassis no. 14376
Engineer T G John founded the Alvis company in 1919 when he acquired the rights to an automobile engine and with it the brand name of its aluminium pistons 'Alvis'. Manufactured by T G John Ltd, the first Alvis car - the 10/30hp - appeared in 1920. Conventional yet well engineered, the four-cylinder sidevalve-engined 10/30 was unusual among contemporary light cars in having a four-speed gearbox. Beginning in 1922 and using the 10/30 as a starting point, newly appointed Chief Engineer Captain G T Smith-Clarke and Chief Designer W M Dunn created the car that effectively established Alvis's reputation - the immortal 12/50. The latter was powered by a new overhead-valve engine of 1,496cc, and on its competition debut at Brooklands in 1923 secured a legendary victory in the premier 200-Mile event crewed by Harvey/Tattershall. The production version went on sale later that same year priced at £550.
Pre-war development of the six-cylinder Alvis, the first of which had been introduced in 1927, culminated in the announcement of two new models for 1937: the 4.3-Litre and the 3.6-litre Speed Twenty-Five, both powered by new seven-bearing, overhead-valve engines. The cruciform-braced chassis were similar and embodied 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. On test with Autocar, the Speed Twenty-Five demonstrated remarkable top-gear flexibility combined with a maximum speed of 95mph and was found to possess qualities of, "quiet running and general refinement in a striking degree".
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 Speed Twenty-Five's initial chassis-only price of £775 meant that ownership was necessarily confined to wealthy connoisseurs. To put that figure into perspective, the average UK house price in 1937 was £540!
This example wears drophead coupé coachwork by the Coventry firm of Charlesworth, a company perhaps best known for its contract work for various manufacturers, most notably Alvis, as well as bespoke designs on other high quality chassis. Alvis built 391 Speed Twenty-Five chassis, of which only 62 were completed with Charlesworth's drophead coupé coachwork. This car was delivered new to one S P Parker of Chorley, Lancashire on 9th April 1937 and is reported to have undergone a total restoration to original specification in the 1990s.
While in the current vendor's care the Alvis has benefited from the expert attention of world-famous marque specialists Red Triangle, there being 11 bills on file relating to extensive refurbishment carried out during 2018 totalling in excess of £22,000 (perusal recommended). The car also comes with current MoT and a V5C Registration Certificate. Capable of nearly 100mph, this stylish Alvis Speed Twenty-Five drophead affords the exciting prospect of high-performance touring in the grand manner.