One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340
Lot 42
1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer
Coachwork by Vanden Plas Registration no. DON 313 Chassis no. 14340
£ 420,000 - 480,000
US$ 560,000 - 640,000

Amended
Lot Details
One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340 One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14340
One of only 12 built, The Property of the Royal Automobile Club
1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer
Coachwork by Vanden Plas

Registration no. DON 313
Chassis no. 14340

* One of the fastest road cars of its day
* Known ownership history
* Owned by the Royal Automobile Club since 1994
* Maintained by Classic Performance Engineering, Biscester
* Engine rebuilt in 2011
* Extensively refurbished in 2016

Footnotes

  • 'In the scheme of things there are cars, good cars and super cars. When a machine can be put into the last of these three categories and yet is not by any means in the highest-price class, considerable praise is due to the makers. The model in question is the latest Alvis 4.3-litre sports tourer.' – The Autocar, August 1938.

    Pre-war development of the six-cylinder Alvis culminated in the announcement in August 1936 of the 4.3-Litre, designed by the company's distinguished Chief Engineer, Captain George Smith-Clarke. The 4.3-Litre was based on the 3½-litre Speed 25 introduced the previous year, and was powered by an enlarged version of Alvis' new seven-bearing, overhead-valve engine producing 137bhp on triple carburettors. 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. A complete 4.3-Litre cost around £1,100, outstanding value for money given its specification and performance, and comfortably undercutting rivals such as the V12 Lagonda and 4¼-Litre Bentley. Despite this price advantage, only 198 cars had been delivered when the outbreak of World War 2 stopped production. Some 95 survivors are known to the Alvis Owners Club.

    Records held by the Alvis Owners Club show that chassis number '14340' was constructed on the short (10' 4") wheelbase and bodied as a 'Sports four-seater' by Vanden Plas. The car was finished in Battleship Grey with green leather interior, and was despatched to Patrick Motors Ltd, Birmingham on 11th December 1937. Registered 'DON 313' on 31st December 1937, the Alvis was first owned from January 1938 to September 1949 by one Walter Rule Nimmo of Birmingham and Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire.

    Nimmo appears to have worked for ICI (his name appears on a shotgun cartridge patent filed by the company) and 'DON 313' would go on to have other owners of note; belonging at different times to the esteemed motoring journalist and founder of Car magazine, George Bishop, and later to James Bidwell-Topham of the Aintree Racecourse-owning Topham family. Kindly provided by Mr Wayne Brooks of the Alvis Owners Club, a list of all owners may be found in the history file.

    During the 1960s, 'DON 313' belonged to the Hare family of Northumberland, and it appears that while in their stewardship the original engine was swapped for another 4.3-litre unit, '15322', fitted currently. The car represented Alvis Ltd in the Lord Mayor's Parade in London in 1964. In October 1968, 'DON 313' was advertised for sale in Motor Sport magazine: 'Under 5,000 miles since stripped to bare chassis and completely rebuilt as new (engine, chassis, coachwork, etc) at a cost of over £4,000. Winner of many concours and fitted hosts of luxury extras.' It would appear that subsequent owners kept it in fine condition, as the Alvis won its class at the Northern Classic Car Show at Tatton Park in 1991 against very stiff opposition.

    In September 1994 the Alvis was purchased by its current owner, the Royal Automobile Club. The car had been acquired for the use at events and informal tours during the summer months; apparently, the Board of Directors preferred the Alvis to a Lagonda Rapide.

    While owned by the Royal Automobile Club, 'DON 313' has taken part in numerous events including the RAC Centenary Tour of Scotland in 1997; a tour to Bath in 1999; the RAC Jewels of Le Mans Rally and the Sarthe region in 2001; the MSA Euro-Classic in 2003, 2006 and 2010; the Kop Hill Climb in Princes Risborough in 2014; and the Flying Scotsman in 2015. The Alvis also competed in the Royal Automobile Club's 1000 Mile Trial in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and has featured in the murals in the Pall Mall clubhouse's rotunda. The Alvis has featured in the AOC Bulletin on numerous occasions and appeared in Classic & Sports Car's March 2012 edition in a photo-shoot with a fashion model.

    The history file contains copies of the factory Car Record and various old logbooks; a quantity of expired MoTs dating back to 2000; and sundry invoices for maintenance undertaken by recognised specialists. Recent works have included an engine rebuild by Fisher Restoration (in 2011) and a major programme of servicing and maintenance by Classic Performance Engineering (2016), who keep it ready for instant use.

    A wonderful opportunity to acquire one of the fastest production cars of its era and the very embodiment of the term, 'Post-Vintage Thoroughbred'.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note this car does not come with an Old-style logbook.
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