1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. 13639 Engine no. 14219
Lot 348
1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre Drophead Coupé Chassis no. 13639 Engine no. 14219
£60,000 - 80,000
US$ 100,000 - 130,000
Lot Details
1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre Drophead Coupé
Registration no. ASF 458
Chassis no. 13639
Engine no. 14219


  • Pre-war development of the six-cylinder Alvis culminated in the announcement of the 4.3-Litre in August 1936. The 4.3-Litre was based on the 3.5-litre Speed Twenty Five introduced the previous year and was powered by an enlarged version of Alvis's new seven-bearing, overhead-valve engine producing 137bhp. The cruciform-braced chassis featured the kind of advanced thinking long associated with the marque: independent front suspension and a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox, introduced on the preceding Speed Twenty, were retained with the additional refinements of driver-controlled Luvax hydraulic dampers and servo-assisted brakes. Claimed to be the fastest un-supercharged saloon on the UK market, the Alvis 4.3-Litre was certainly one of the few pre-war saloons capable of a genuine 100mph. Sturdily built and endowed with a generous wheelbase, the Alvis Six attracted some of the finest examples of the pre-war coachbuilders' art, though the 4.3-Litre's chassis-only price of £750 meant that ownership was necessarily confined to wealthy connoisseurs. Only 198 cars had been delivered when the outbreak of WW2 stopped production.

    Chassis number '13639' was originally bodied by Alvis's Coventry neighbours Charlesworth as a four-door saloon. Sold via Galts of Glasgow, the car was first owned by one Robert Reid of Edinburgh, Scotland and in the early/mid-1970s was exported to the USA, returning towards the end of the 1980s (see Alvis 4.3 Litre Register extract on file). Subsequent private owners were, in order: Terence Tratalos of Mobberley, Cheshire; Peter Chapman of Altrincham, Cheshire; and Dr Eric Marsden of Billlings, Lancashire. Following Dr Marsden's death in September 1993 the Alvis was acquired for the Cottesmore Collection.

    The Register records that the engine was rebuilt by Nick Simpson in 1996 immediately prior to the car's participation in the Monte Carlo Classic, in which it finished 2nd in the Grand Touring Class. The vendor continued to develop the Alvis for rallying and entered the 1997 Monte Carlo Classic. A photograph of 'ASF 458' taking part appeared later on the cover of the Alvis Owners' Club's magazine.

    In 2000 the Alvis suffered an extensive fire on the Classic Malts Rally, caused by an exploding rear brake drum that pierced the fuel tank. A report and photograph of the damaged car appeared in The Automobile magazine's July 2000 edition, showing the body destroyed from the bulkhead back. This apparent disaster gave its owner the opportunity to restore 'ASF 458' to his own specification as a bespoke special rally car. The wheelbase was shortened, a Gurney Nutting-style two-door drophead coupé body designed, and extra cooling louvres cut into the bonnet; even the fuel filler was modified to cope with full-on cornering. The rebuild was completed early in 2003 and the Alvis continued its rallying career in its new soft-top configuration, often with great success. 'ASF 458' has participated in the Flying Scotsman, Classic Malts, Maroc Classic and Monte Carlo Challenge. A rather apt Phoenix mascot adorns the radiator. Its condition is best described as mechanically 'spot on', with overall good bodywork, paint and interior. The car comes with numerous photographs and articles, a quantity of expired MoTs and Swansea V5C document, and will be freshly MoT'd in time for sale.

Saleroom notices

  • Although registered, taxed and MOT'd, there is a discrepancy with this vehicle's insurance status following the fire and rebuild. The car will be withdrawn from this auction and offered in a subsequent sale once the issue is resolved. In order to ensure we keep in touch with those interested in the car, please register your interest with James Knight (james.knight@bonhams.com / 020 7447 7440) the Bonhams specialist handling this car. We will then notify you when the car is re-offered.
  1. Rob Hubbard
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
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