Wed, 18th Mar 2020 13:00

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Lot 47

1938 Alvis Speed 25 SC Charlesworth Drophead Coupe
Original Charlesworth body with 3 position drophead configuration

Sold for £65,250

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: BGE 988
Chassis No: 14571
MOT: July 2020

  • Current ownership since 1994
  • Mot tested until June 2020
  • High ratio back axle and Marles steering box
  • Triple SU Carburettors
  • Original registration number
  • Original Charlesworth body with 3 position drophead configuration
  • Rear ash frame replaced by vendor
  • Small quantity of spares and tools including the jack, copper hammer and grease gun supplied with the car.
  • There are a complete set of 4 restored wings available by separate negotiation
  • Completed 2800 mile tour of New Zealand in 2003 and 2500 mile tour of America with Alvis Club

We are indebted to the vendor for providing the following information:

  • Replacement ash boot frame and rear body section from rear wheel arch
  • Boot lid new ash and boot floor plywood replaced
  • New ash spliced into lower section of both doors
  • New ash to front wing supports
  • New passenger floor
  • New metal inner wings and plywood support
  • Tyres are all good
  • Jelly mould drive plates good
  • Higher ratio differential
  • Two 12 volt batteries connected in parallel
  • All instruments working
  • Semaphore indicators working
  • All oil levels checked. Correct oil pressure
  • Plugs and points checked and cleaned
  • Tools including jack, grease gun and copper hammer
  • A small number of spares in the boot
  • The engine starts readily without choke if warm. Engine is running slightly rich
  • Cigar lighter rewired to take sat navigation
  • Set of four wings available by separate negotiation

In the Alvis Speed 25 , the makes have produced a car which will delight those who appreciate fast motoring with an ample margin of safety. A very quick response to the accelerator is matched by exceptional steadiness under heavy braking conditions, light and accurate steering, and road holding of that special quality which is so rarely encountered these days" (Speed 25 Road Test, Motorsport 1936).

Launched in August 1936, the Alvis Speed 25 was designed to take advantage of Britain's rapidly improving road network. Marrying sportscar-like performance to an impressive degree of refinement, the newcomer's sophisticated chassis layout incorporated independent transverse-leaf front suspension, a four-speed all synchromesh gearbox and large-diameter four-wheel drum brakes. Featuring a balanced seven-bearing crankshaft and novel spring-cluster overhead valve gear, its triple SU carburettor fed 3571cc straight-six engine was quoted as developing 108bhp @ 3,800rpm. A notably smooth and flexible unit, it endowed the model with near 100mph performance. Principally bodied by Charlesworth (Sports Saloon / Drophead Coupe) or Cross & Ellis (Tourer), the Alvis Speed 25 stole sales from both the Bentley 4.25 litre and Lagonda LG45 alike. Only in production from 1936 to 1940, just 391 cars are thought to have left the Holyhead Road factory.

This stylish Speed 25 carries its original and most attractive 3 position drophead coupe coachwork by Charlesworth who were specialists in crafting limited runs for low volume manufacturers such as Alvis, MG and Armstrong Siddeley from their works in Coventry. Purchased by the vendor in 1994, it pleasingly retains its original registration number and benefits from replacement of the all-important rear ash frame whilst in his ownership. A high ratio back axle, triple SU carburettors and Marles steering box add to the driving appeal and help make it an extremely competent four-seater touring car. This fact was amply proven in 2000 when it successfully completed a gruelling 2500-mile tour of America followed in 2003 by a 2300-mile tour of New Zealand with the Alvis Club. Finished in green with nicely patinated cream leather and carpets, whilst being exempt from testing, BGE 988 is offered with a current MoT to June 2020.


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