This wonderful Alvis Speed 20 4.3 litre carries the distinction of being the best driving, most thoroughly enjoyable 1930’s tourer we’ve had in the 27 year history of the company. DMX 829 also has a particularly interesting history and has been subject of a complete rebuild using an authentic original Vanden Plas body. Nick Szkiler, our founder came back from the appraisal and test drive of this car stating, “It’s glorious and I’ve not driven anything like it”. The fact that it is an ex-Albert Sparrowhawk Alvis rather explains it.
Back in the day, you bought a new chassis from a quality manufacturer like Alvis and clothed it with your chosen body from a number of contemporary coachbuilders, Cross and Ellis, Charlesworth and Vanden Plas for example. Almost twenty years ago, this car was rebuilt by a gifted enthusiast who really knew these cars. The chassis was originally built as a Speed 20 Charlesworth saloon in 1936. By 1965 it was in quite rough condition and was offered for sale in the Alvis Owners Club at £90. By the late 1990's the car was a rolling chassis and restoration commenced using a genuine Vanden Plas Tourer body, originally fitted to a Derby Bentley. The body is from one of five tourers built of the type, this one being documented as from RC44. The car was fitted with the more potent engine from a 4.3 litre SB Charlesworth saloon. The builder, Albert Sparrowhawk is well known in Alvis Circles as a spirited racing driver and builder. He owned the Bentley from which this body came, only buying the body back after the new owner removed it to fit a replica Bentley Le Mans tourer. Sparrowhawk had some success in motor racing:
April 1994 VSCC Silverstone:
Richard Pilkington was hopeful of repeating last year's success in the Fox & Nicholl Trophy with the Totnes Motor Museum's 1938 Talbot, but he disappeared from second place after one lap when a drive coupling sheared. That left Albert Sparrowhawk (Alvis) with the early lead from Bob Gilbert's Bentley. Arriving late on the grid, Rodney Felton was forced to start his Alfa Monza from the back but by the end of lap one he was up to 10th, and four laps later had demoted Sparrowhawk to second. The earlier Sparrowhawk Alvis, driven by David Heimann, displaced Gilbert to take third after half-distance and closed up to challenge for second, but a spirited defence by Sparrowhawk managed to retain the place to the finish.
Here he is again in May 1996:
Siverstone - Vintage allcomers race.
Bob Burrell led the first half of the Fox and Nicholl Trophy Race with his familiar 8-litre Bentley-Royce, closely shadowed by Julian Bronson's Riley 'Blue Streak' Special, but a quick spin by the Bentley allowed the Riley to seize the advantage; Burrell was almost caught by the scrapping pair of Albert Sparrowhawk (Alvis) and Bob Gilbert (Bentley), Burrell and Gilbert being so engrossed in their business that they battled on for two more laps after the fall of the flag! (extracts courtesy of Motorsport magazine)
The engine was meticulously rebuilt using high compression pistons, and the best bearings available. Once assembled it was set up by Sparrowhawk - a man who really knew how to tune them.
Eighteen years and some 5,000 smiles later, the car is a gem, thoroughly sorted and truly outstanding to drive. With its very robust early synchromesh four speed gearbox, the car is a joy to drive enthusiastically. Whilst not impossible to criticise cosmetically, we know we are never likely to surpass DMX 829 as the most exhilarating, taut and lively pre-war tourer imaginable.
Paintwork has aged well; the alloy bodywork is still top class and the leather upholstery, hood and weather gear now have a nicely aged patina. The engine bay presents superbly.
We thought carefully about price and Nick's comment was "If I owned this, I'd never want to part with it". Fortunately for someone it is now on the market - though we doubt it will be for long. It's the sort of car you'd see be thrilled to see (and hear) on the Flying Scotsman Rally. DMX 829 comes with VSCC Eligibility document, ‘buff' logbook, dating back to 1961, MOT certificates since rebuild completion in 2000 and a comprehensive file of paperwork.
Please follow the video link to learn more about this Alvis.
For sale – 1935 Alvis Speed 20 SC Vanden Plas 2-door sports.
Chassis number: 12128
Alvis Speed 20 SC Vanden Plas-2 door sports.
Black coachwork with dark red leather and carpets and black hood. Freshly re-trimmed.
Coachwork recently rebuilt and re-finished.
Hydraulic brake system with .....
Coachwork: Henry Stoner
Price: PLEASE ENQUIRE
This Speed Twenty SB started life as a two door FHC by Vanden Plas and was supplied new to Captain C. B. Wilson of Neatishead Norfolk on 17th February 1934. In 1947, the next owner, Squadron Leader Bainbridge-Hawker shipped the car to Singapore .....
Coachwork: Cross & Ellis
Price: PLEASE ENQUIRE
The Speed Twenty SB was the first Alvis model to feature the famous all-synchromesh gearbox which complimented its powerful straight six power unit. A total of 375 chassis were built but only 41 carried Cross & Ellis tourer coachwork of .....
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Price: PLEASE ENQUIRE
The “SD” was the final version of the Speed 20 to be produced and of the 149 produced only 6 were bodied with Vanden Plas tourer coachwork.
This car was delivered on 27th June 1936 to Hector Hillaby of Gilston Road, London via the dealer .....
Alvis Speed 20 Type SB from a known collection with rare Cross & Ellis original body.
Likely just 41 cars were produced with the Cross & Ellis Tourer body.
The Alvis Speed 20 SB was one of the technical most advanced cars of its time. It was the first production car with a synchromesh gearbox .....
Alvis introduced the Speed 20 in 1932, and in doing so, created one of the best loved cars of the Pre-War era. The all new, low slung, double drop chassis gave the car a sporting look that was backed up by the 2.5 litre, 6-cylinder engine which had overhead valves, triple SUs and gave 90 h.p and a .....
The Alvis Speed 20 SA now offered for sale at The Classic Motor Hub (chassis number 10157) left the works and was sent to Vanden Plas where it was fitted with the open tourer coachwork you see today, body number 1959. Finished in April 1933, the car was sent down to Harris & Day in Cardiff and registered .....
Cross and Ellis Bodied open 4 door 4 seater short wing tourer.
Finished in a lovely shade of green with green and black leather interior trim.
This is an original Cross and Ellis tourer as confirmed by the accompanying copy of the Alvis factory build sheet. We also have a copy of the 1932 ‘Autocar’ .....
1932 Alvis Speed 20 SA Four Seat Tourer by Cross & Ellis
One of the most sought after and highly regarded British motor cars from the immediate post vintage period is the Alvis Speed 20.
Making its debut late in 1931, the Speed 20 was powered by a much-modified version of the engine .....