By the 1930s, Alvis had established a reputation for producing fast and beautifully built motor cars that also proved very competitive in motorsport events. It was the 12/50 model of 1923 that really set the company on the road to success after a win in the Brooklands 200 mile race the same year with a sports model, after which there was a consequent jump in sales figures.
By the late 1920s Alvis was prospering, with healthy sales figures and the launch of its six cylinder Silver Eagle. Less successful were its four and eight cylinder front wheel drive cars, a transmission design that had appeared on Alvis supercharged racing cars in the mid-Twenties; the front wheel drive cars ceased production after just 140 had been built.
In 1931 the Speed 20 appeared, and it marked a new departure for Alvis. With a double beam axled chassis, longer and lower than previous models, its appearance rivalled that of Swallow Sidecar’s SS1. At its heart was an enlarged and modified 2,511cc version of the Silver Eagle’s six cylinder engine, and when a synchromesh gearbox was introduced for the 1934 model year it marked the first such fitment on a British car; previously the gearbox had also been in unit with the engine.
At the same time the Speed 20 was also improved with independent front suspension using a transverse leaf spring and wishbones, while later models boasted an increase in capacity to 2,762cc to cope with heavier touring coachwork. In either guise the Alvis Speed 20 was a formidable performer for the time, capable of 8mph, achieving 0-60mph in about 15 seconds via its four speed transmission, and was ranked as one of the best and most refined sports cars available.
It also proved popular and successful in competition with a variety of successes to its credit. Production ceased after four years, during which only 1,165 examples were built.
This wonderful example still has its original bodywork from Cross & Ellis and is presented in superb and largely original condition. The car was first registered in 1934 in the UK with the registration number OC 5676. The car then found its way to the US, after having received a ground up restoration in 1990/1995 in the UK by Tom Rowan.
In 1957-58 its original engine (11636) was replaced by the London Alvis dealer A.J. Brown with the engine that is still fitted in the car today and bears the number 11334.
For further information or to arrange a viewing, please contact our sales department.