1934 Alvis Speed 20 SB 2 ½ litre Tourer Coachwork by Cross & Ellis Ltd. Registration no. US 4924 Chassis no. 16058 Engine no. 11701
'Thus it is that the Speed Twenty is definitely a new design, but at the same time has nothing in it which can be regarded as of an experimental nature. It is a refinement of up-to-date Alvis practice, laid out in the most attractive form and having about it an atmosphere of the best sports car traditions.' So wrote The Autocar on the launch of Alvis's new Speed 20 in January 1932. The new model was powered by a six-cylinder, 2 ½ litre engine with engine and gearbox in unit in a low-built chassis. Equipped with triple SU carburettors, it developed 87bhp at 3,800rpm and boasted a top speed approaching 90mph, with correspondingly impressive acceleration. Significant enhancements to the model were effected in 1933 when the SB model was announced at the Olympia Motor Exhibition in October. Chassis rigidity was enhanced by the provision of a cruciform section in the centre, this and other cross members being heavily drilled for lightness. A completely new innovation was the arrival of independent front suspension, adopting a transverse front spring, while a new gearbox was introduced and remote control André Telecontrol shock absorbers enhanced the ride quality. Permanent jacks were a feature of the new model and both night driving and overall appearance were enhanced by the introduction of Lucas P100 headlamps. In Tourer form the new SB Speed 20 retailed at £695. Both Charlesworth and Cross & Ellis Ltd. were coachbuilders favoured by Alvis, being part of a nest of not less than nineteen bespoke coachbuilders operating in the Coventry area. This car carries elegant tourer coachwork by Cross & Ellis.
US 4924 comes from a small stable of motor cars owned by a life-long Alvis enthusiast. Records note that the car was previously owned by well-known Irish enthusiast Lord Dunluce. Prior to acquisition by the present owner in November 2002 this car had been the subject of considerable mechanical and coachwork restoration and then had been used actively on continental rallies. Following acquisition by the present owner a new stainless steel exhaust was fitted along with unleaded valve seats and at this time an overhaul of the suspension system was carried out. In 2003/2004 £1,800 was spent on detailed improvements to the engine and coachwork repairs. More recently five new Michelin tyres have been fitted and only this year £3,000 has been spent fitting a new overdrive, rebuild of the Marles Weller steering box and refurbishment of the brakes. The vendor reports how significantly more easily the car tackles the longer motorway journey with the new overdrive. Another invaluable enhancement from original specification is the addition of power-assisted steering, again significantly enhancing the driving experience. The meticulous vendor has carefully retained all original parts so that, should a new owner wish, the car could be returned to original specification. During the present ownership the car has been actively used in both the U.K. and on the Continent.
The car is very smartly presented in cream livery with silver painted wheels and nicely executed red leather upholstery. It is equipped with Lucas headlamps and auxiliary driving lamps and twin Lucas Alto horns, while further equipment includes a nearside mounted spare wheel, fold-flat windscreen and a full set of weather equipment including hood, tonneau cover and side-screens. In short here is a car from careful ownership, superbly presented as a gently matured restoration but which will nevertheless hold its head high in any concours d'élégance line-up. More importantly it is a car on which no expense has been spared maintaining its mechanical condition such that it is ready for the most demanding long distance motor tour. This attractive tourer, from one of Coventry's premier manufacturers is offered with current road fund licence and MoT certificate, together with some invoices relating to maintenance and restoration.