One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328
Lot 131
One of only 12 built
1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer
Coachwork by Vanden Plas
Sold for £ 505,500 (US$ 701,058) inc. premium

Lot Details
One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328 One of only 12 built,1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer  Chassis no. 14328
One of only 12 built
1937 Alvis 4.3-Litre 'Short Chassis' Tourer
Coachwork by Vanden Plas

Registration no. ELK 366
Chassis no. 14328
* 1938 and 1939 RAC Rally competitor
* Known ownership history
* Featured in the BBC2 television adaptation of 'Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy'
* Restored by Fisher Restorations in 1993

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.

    Alvis Ltd's records show that chassis number '14328' was constructed on the short (10' 4") wheelbase and bodied by Vanden Plas as a 'Sports Four-Seater'. The car was finished in black and red with red interior. Despatched to Brooklands of Bond Street, London on 22nd December 1937, the Alvis - registered 'ELK 366' - was first owned by one Robert Affleck Robertson of London W1, who drove it in the 1938 RAC Rally as a Manufacturer's Team Entry (number '183'). In its report on the 1938 RAC Rally (3rd May edition), The Motor included a photograph of 'ELK 366' captioned: 'R A Robertson's Alvis (open cars, £601-£1,000)'. Robertson's Alvis secured 1st place in the Rally's Coachwork Competition (Class 4a – Open Cars) and is pictured in Donald Cowbourne's book, 'British Rally Drivers Their Cars & Awards 1925-1939' (page 331).

    The following year, 'ELK 366' was back at the RAC Rally, on this occasion driven by W E C Wilkinson of Great Malvern, who had acquired it in June 1938. Elder son of Samuel, Lord Wilkinson, William Wilkinson was a well-known rally driver and trials competitor in the 1930s. In 1940, The Autocar edition of May 31st featured Wilkinson's vehicles in its 'Family Fleet' series, depicting the Alvis together with an MG K3, Fordson Tractor, and Morris 30cwt truck.

    Wilkinson kept the Alvis until April 1952 when ownership passed to Air Vice-Marshall Robert Stanley Aitken of Saltdean, Sussex. The Air Vice-Marshall did not keep the car for very long, ownership passing in August 1953 to Dr John Grocott of Penkhull, Staffordshire. Dr Grocott extensively modified the Alvis, panelling over the rear seat to create a two-seater and strengthening the chassis by boxing it in.

    Dr Grocott owned the Alvis until 1970 when it was acquired by Michael Cummins of Upton Warren, Worcestershire who at that time was Membership Secretary of the Alvis Owners Club (AOC). During Mr Cummins' ownership, 'ELK 366' featured in the BBC2 television adaptation of John Le Carré's Cold War thriller, 'Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy', starring Alec Guinness as spymaster George Smiley. For the film the Alvis carried the registration 'PLA 41' and was driven by actor Ian Bannen in the role of Jim Prideaux. Apparently, Bannen was so taken with the Alvis that he changed the script, referring to it as the 'best car in the world', and contacted Mike Cummins to ask if he could find one for him.

    During Mike Cummins' ownership the registration was changed to 'ALV 15', as recorded in the AOC Membership List of February 1980. In February 1992, he advertised the car for sale in the AOC Bulletin, and in March of that same year it was sold to William Rankin of Matfen, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. During Mr Rankin's ownership the Alvis was restored by Fisher Restorations of Rushock, Kidderminster (in 1993), the body being returned to factory specification. In 2000 the car took part in the AOC's USA Tour, and in 2004 attended the International Alvis Weekend at Beamish Museum in County Durham. The current vendor acquired 'ELK 366' in August 2013, since when it has been maintained by his in-house engineer. Accompanying documentation consists of an old-style logbook, sundry bills, MoT to April 2018, and a V5C Registration Certificate.

    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 the car number is 19148.
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