Under the partnership of the indefatigable T. G. John and the engineering guru Captain George Thomas Smith-Clarke, the Alvis company in just a few years acquired the reputation for designing high performance ‘fast tourers’ with graceful, sweeping lines.
Roy Daglish, scion of the St Helens civil engineering firm and company secretary of Liverpool-based T. & J. Brocklebank (a shipping subsidiary of Cunard), purchased this car new in January 1937. Daunted by its performance, however, Roy drove it only sparingly. After his death in 1957 it was acquired by his friend Sir John Brocklebank,
Cunard’s Chairman from 1959 to 1965. Sir John had no such inhibitions and took it on family holidays to Scotland. In 1963 ownership passed to David Mulvaney, subsequently Curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The car’s full ownership history is known; its chassis number is 13668.
The Alvis Speed 25 is posited in many motoring quarters as the finest of all pre-war Alvis models. It was mechanically highly advanced for its time with one-shot chassis lubrication, finger-tip ride control, independent front suspension and synchromesh on all four gears.
In saloon form its six-cylinder 3571cc engine gave a top speed of 92 mph and acceleration from rest to 60 mph in under 16 seconds – outstanding performance for the time, at least as good as its Bentley and Lagonda contemporaries.
Launched in 1936, 391 Speed 25s were made — before the factory was destroyed by bombs in November 1940 — of which 246 were saloons by Charlesworth, Alvis’s preferred coachbuilder; but only about 60 survive in their original form, including 23 of this earlier SB model.
Having purchased the car in 2010 from well-known Bentley enthusiast the late David Llewellyn CBE, and his wife Tess, the present owner undertook essential restoration work and now intends to preserve it in as original a state as possible.
Initially light grey, it was over-painted black for wartime service; its current colour scheme was applied in the early 1980s, and forward of the scuttle, dates back to that period.
The car is featured in Matthew Vale’s book Alvis: The Complete Story, published in May last year. Last September it won its class at the Warren Classic Car Concours.
And the Alvis Owner Club is celebrating the marque’s centenary in 2020.
Displayed courtesy of Edmund Waterhouse, Esq. from Monday 2nd March to Sunday 8th March 2020.