1939 Alvis Speed Twenty FiveSpeed 25 Pillarless Two-Door Saloon
Year of manufacture1939
- One of three examples produced, of which no more than two are known to survive
- Features incredible pillarless body by Vanden Plas
- Powered by its numbers-matching, 3.6-liter inline six-cylinder engine
- Appears highly original, with many correct finishes and components throughout
- Presently indicates under 55,900 actual miles at time of cataloguing; acquired by the consignor in 1972
In August 1936, the British manufacturer Alvis introduced their Speed 25, which was a more highly developed version of the 3.5-liter model it had announced a year earlier. Utilizing a shorter 126-inch wheelbase, and improvements such as a revised air-cleaner system and Luvax hydraulic shock absorbers, the Speed 25 was equipped with the same inline six-cylinder engine, although output was raised to 106 horsepower.
A total of 391 examples were built in four series through 1940, a great majority of which were clothed by coachbuilder Charlesworth, including 246 saloons. Of the remainder, just three examples were believed to have been fitted with two-door coachwork from Vanden Plas, which featured styling by John Bradley.
Today, there are very few Alvis chassis (of any model) bearing Vanden Plas coachwork, and this 1939 Speed 25 Pillarless Two-door Saloon is one of only two known surviving specimens of this particularly wonderful collaboration. A pillarless saloon such as this Alvis design is a tour de force of structural woodworking. There is no B-pillar to add rigidity to the bodyshell itself and there was large sunroof above the driver’s bench. Not only that, but the windscreen also opened. Vanden Plas were at the cutting edge of what was possible with ash-framed bodies in the 1930s.
Factory records indicate that this chassis offered here was dispatched to its originating dealer for delivery on 14 June 1939. Documentation from the Alvis archives show that it was retained by several consecutive owners within England until acquisition by the consignor in 1972.
As presented today, the car wears many nicely patinated and correct finishes, with a convincing degree of originality throughout. Furthermore, the engine number matches that of the unit described on the factory dispatch records. In 2015, it was reportedly treated to a complete engine rebuild executed by Greg Nel of British Automotive Repair in Scottsdale, Arizona. Furthermore, a much sought-after Alvis "Silver Eagle" radiator mascot is included in the sale.
This delightful Alvis is a unique and fabulously attractive example of stunning pillarless coachwork upon a sporting saloon car chassis. The handsome and elegant lines of this Speed 25 would make this car suitable for the show circuit following some light restoration work, but perhaps more appropriately, this model is designated as a Full Classic by the CCCA, making it an ideal choice for club touring.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf21.