Lot 36 (The Pavilion Gardens, 13th April 2005)
Sold for £31,500
(including buyers premium)
Registration No: AJJ 585
Chassis No: 10182
Mot Expiry: May 2005
The Alvis marque owes its name to Geoffrey PH de Freville's Aluminium Alloy Pistons UK, whose trademark was Alvis written inside a red triangle and who collaborated with J G John in the design of first Alvis car, the 10/30. It was this model which was refined by the firm's Chief Engineer, Captain GT Smith-Clarke, into what is generally reckoned to have been one of the most outstanding vintage era cars, the celebrated 12/50.
In 1928, a six-cylinder Alvis engine was developed, providing the power unit for the Silver Eagle, joined in 1933 by a 2½-litre version, the Crested Eagle. These well engineered motor cars were deservedly rated by the sporting motorists of the day as being among the most handsome and rapid thoroughbreds on the market.
It was a chance meeting between TG John and businessman and motor trader Charles Follet, however, that led to an agreement between the Coventry car maker and the London retailer to collaborate in the production of a new Speed model. With both engineering and coachwork complying with his well researched requirements, Follet committed sufficient funds to take one third of Alvis production. The resulting Speed 20 - clothed in wonderfully attractive Vanden Plas bodywork (Warwick Wright had first obtained the rights from Belgian Carrosserie Van Den Plas to use the Vanden Plas name in England from 1913) and capable of whisking a far more up-market clientele to around 90mph - was testament to Follet's exacting standards.
Bodied by Vanden Plas, who by now had workshops in Kingsbury, North London, AJJ 585 was delivered to the West End premises of Charles Follet 28 April 1933 before being sold 2 June of that year to one Dr H Dearden of 10 Harriet Mews just off the then incredibly fashionable Lowndes Square.
When he eventually moved from the capital to the country in the 1960s, the good Doctor took his Alvis with him, regularly driving it around the Hay on Wye area until 1972, when it was purchased by a Yorkshire enthusiast, a Mr Bonsor, who treated his acquisition to a chassis-up rebuild in 1974.
By 1983, though, AJJ 585 had crossed the Pennines into Lancastrian ownership before passing into the present keeper's hands later in the 1980s. Having served his family well on many an enjoyable excursion, this Speed 20 has only come to market today due to the owner's advancing years.
When viewed by our specialist, the six-cylinder engine started readily, the pedigree and well detailed work of the Vanden Plas coachwork was instantly apparent and the delightful patina of the red leather, which would be lost if the upholstery were to be given a retrim, impressed him greatly. A service manual and some spares are also included.
Sports tourers with their original coachwork intact have become thin on the ground and the fact that this one still wears its original body is testament to those sadly long-lost coachbuilding skills of the craftsmen of Vanden Plas. A successful bidder today will therefore be rewarded with ownership of a rare, attractive, well crafted and thoroughly capable vintage motor car.
PLEASE NOTE: We have not had this vehicle running. The estimate has also changed.