29th Nov, 2023 13:00

Pavilion Gardens | Buxton, Derbyshire

Lot 87

1933 Alvis Firefly Drophead Coupe
Coachwork by Cross & Ellis

Estimated at £25,000 - £30,000

Lot details

Registration No: AUW 36
Chassis No: 11051
MOT: Exempt

  • 1 of just 871 manufactured with just 133 of those Drophead Coupes
  • Presents with its original Drophead Coupe coachwork by Cross & Ellis
  • Comprehensively restored between 1985-1993 and still presenting well today
  • Entered from a private collection
  • Offered with copy of the Alvis Car Record confirming its finished in the original colour scheme

Introduced in September 1932, the Alvis Firefly was built to the same high standards as its more expensive brethren. Notably low-slung, it was based on a 'double-dropped' ladder frame chassis equipped with all-round semi-elliptic leaf-sprung suspension, friction dampers and four-wheel 14in drum brakes. Utilising a 9ft 10.5in wheelbase and 4ft 4in track, the model was praised by the contemporary motoring press for its ride/handling capabilities. Powered by a 1496cc OHV engine - essentially a four-cylinder version of that found in the legendary Speed 20 - allied to either four-speed manual or ENV pre-selector transmission, the Firefly was reputedly capable of 75mph. Available with a choice of saloon, tourer, or drophead coupe coachwork, it remained in production until 1935 by which time some 871 are thought to have been sold. 133 of these were in Drophead form, with very few known to have survived.

Manufactured in 1933, the Firefly offered was supplied new by Charles Follett Ltd., London (who interestingly supplied 212 of the 871 Fireflys), being despatched on the 28th of November that year, and being road registered as ‘AUW 36’. Clothed in Cross & Ellis Drophead Coupe coachwork, and finished in Blue with Black wings with Blue leather interior upholstery, the Alvis pleasingly still retains both its original coachwork and colour scheme today. The early history of the Alvis is unknown until the early 1960s, before being purchased by a Robert John Russell Esq., a dental student at Bristol university in 1963, (reputedly from the proprietor of the first pornography shop in Bristol!) just in time before the Alvis was scrapped due to vandalism to the glass.

Mr. Russell repaired and ran the Alvis for around two years before a dropped valve seized the engine and it was sold to a garage. Quickly thereafter sold to a collector who had intended to restore chassis ‘11051’, the restoration never materialised until the Firefly changed hands again into the restorer’s custodianship in 1985. Provided with a comprehensive restoration between 1985 and 1993, the chassis was renovated before fitted with renewed ash frame. The mechanicals were fully overhauled before the restored bodywork was reunited with the framework. A full repaint and interior refresh completed the restoration, with ‘AUW 36’ still presenting very well today.

Eventually reunited with Mr Russell in 2012, the Alvis received re-rimmed and spoked wheels and new tyres, an auxiliary water pump and re-veneered interior woodwork during his ownership. Entered to sale now from a private collection, ‘11051’ has received a fresh starter motor overhaul in preparation for sale. Offered with a history file that contains the buff logbook, VSCC eligibility document, images from different times of the Alvis’ life including a number of the restoration, a selection of invoices, original instruction book, lubrication chart and spare parts catalogue, a few previous MOTs, and a current V5C document.

For more information, please contact either Lucas Gomersall or Paul Cheetham:

Lucas Gomersall
07484 082430

Paul Cheetham
07538 667452


Auction: Pavilion Gardens | Buxton, Derbyshire, 29th Nov, 2023

Established in 1993, H&H has sold some of the world's most significant motorcars and motorcycles over the past 30 years. Trusted by over 75,000 clients worldwide, we are the longest established auction house of our kind in Europe and the only one owned and managed by its employees. 

An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held in the beautiful surrounds of the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire.  



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Tuesday 28th November 2023 from 12pm to 8pm
Wednesday 29th November 2023 from 9am

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