1932 Alvis Speed 20 SA special (Available)
Chassis Number 14666
Engine Number 12270
As I mentioned in the advert of the flat radiator speed 20 SA we sold the other month, the introduction of the Speed 20-model line up witnessed a change in Alvis company’s design language. This largely contributed to the growth of leading London Alvis dealer Charles Follett Ltd. Its well documented that Charles found Alvis cars reasonably easy to sell, but considered their body lines terrible and old fashioned. In response to this Alvis took his design direction on board, after some heated discussions! Autocar magazine of January 15th1932 wrote ‘Motoring history will very likely be made by the latest Alvis design, the Speed Twenty, because many people will consider it to be the most attractive all-round car yet produced.
This particular Speed 20 SA left the Alvis works in August 1932 dispatched to Alvis dealer B Waterhouse and Son Ltd on Manningham Lane Bradford, where is was registered as YY924. YY924 was no ordinary Sp20 SA as it was ordered with bespoke coupe coachwork by Duple of Hendon. The design of the bespoke coachwork was accredited to Mr H R Wall of Duple, a photo of the car being published in the 1992 October edition of Classic and Sports car. Correspondents in the cars history file indeed confirm that the car was a one off design, ordered by a Mr Lloyd-Thompson sales director at J.Holdsworth & Co, carpet manufacturers in Halifax. This coupe body had an unusually capacious rear luggage locker along with a removable rear seat, all designed to hold the samples of his trade.
On the 1stOctober 1942 YY924 was re-registered as EWR621, this number also being issued in West Yorkshire. There is no explanation in the history file as to why this was done but a letter from the Alvis Owners Club states that it wasn’t unheard of that wealthily families donated their now virtually unusable car to be converted to ambulances or other such vehicles ‘doing their bit for the war effort’. There is no evidence in the file of what happened in this case, but it would not be a surprise if this is what happened during these war years.
The continuation log book then picks up the history in 1975. EWR621 was in the hands of John Murch of Poole Dorset, then changing hands 15thJanuary 1976 to James Chapman of the Wirral Cheshire. Correspondence between the two of them confirms that the ENV110 preselect gearbox was probably fitted during the 1940’s. The bodywork had also been changed during its time with John Murch. The sports two seater body was made out of fibreglass (photos on file). John Murch also owned a 1935 AC specialplus a Cross and Ellis Speed 20 tourer. He also states that the engine had been changed to a 1934 SB 2500cc Speed Twenty before his ownership commenced.
In January 1999 James Chapman entrusted EWR621 to Chris Shenton Restoration for cosmetic and mechanical work to be carried out Detailed invoices for this work are on file. Following completion of this work in March 2001, she was then sold to Christopher Brooks of Northampton in the October of that year. Almost immediately Mr Brooks completed further mechanical works plus a new honeycomb radiator and tanks. During 2005 and 2006 EWR621 was re-bodied again and the current attractive ash framed four seater body was fitted. It was skinned in aluminium and had a new easy to erect hood. The 2500cc SB engine was rebuilt in 2009. The invoices confirm that new white metal and new +.20 JP piston were used, along with the original rods which were crack tested. The block and head were skimmed.
I now offer the car fresh after being cosmetically refreshed, finished in an attractive shade of British Racing Green. An ideal car for a whole hoast of event like Flying Scotsman, 1000 mile tour so VSCC compitition or even just heading down to the pub in. She is ready for any inspection and test-drive at our showroom, by prior appointment.
Footnote: The pre-select gearbox is an unusual option to be found in a Speed 20 but I have to say that is a pleasing addition to the car and in my opinion one which should have been offered in period!