1938 Alvis 4.3-litre Drophead Coupe

Sporting beautiful all-weather tourer coachwork by celebrated English coachbuilders, Abbey, this 4.3-litre offers the chance to purchase a well-sorted example ideal for family touring or long-distance pre-war rallies. With the arrival of the 4.3-litre in August 1936, the Alvis blood line that began with the first Speed 20 back in 1932 reached its zenith and the succession of sports/touring chassis had steadily established a sound reputation and a loyal following. Of the 198 examples of the 4.3 that left the Coventry factory before wartime requirements ceased private car production, this is the only chassis ever fitted with this pattern of striking, four-door fully-opening drophead coupé bodywork by Abbey Coachworks. The six-cylinder OHV engine (92 x 110mm, 4,387cc) has a seven-bearing crankshaft, triple SU carburettors and a 6.25:1 compression ratio, generating a healthy power output of 137bhp. Period road tests record that the 4.3 Alvis was the first standard British saloon that was genuinely capable of achieving the magic 100mph. A single-plate clutch is mated to an all-synchromesh, 4-speed, centre-change gearbox, a unit that is generally accepted as the best gearbox ever made before WWII. The front suspension is a transverse leaf spring design and the braking system is vacuum servo-assisted. The dashboard contains a full array of period instrumentation, and Lucas P100 headlights add to the Alvis' very impressive frontal appearance. Alvis factory records show that this chassis was delivered new to London Alvis agents, Messrs Oxborrow & Fuller Ltd. in February of 1937. Messrs Abbey Coachworks of Acton, London NW10 were selected to clothe Chassis no. 14298, and it must have been rare indeed that luxury and panache were so happily married. It was 12 months later that the car was complete, available for sale and first registered (in London) as ‘EXK 80’. In 1930, Abbey Coachworks Ltd rose from Compton Sons & Terry, whose origins in the North London coachbuilding firms' melting pot were linked back to Jarvis, and to Compton & Hermon. Abbey would, in 1937, take over Martin Walter Ltd of Folkestone. Martin Walter's 'Wingham' style of fully-opening cabriolet, clearly influenced the type of bodywork made for this particular Alvis chassis. The car has a number of innovative and original features and the quality and detail is epitomised by the glass pane of each rear door window (metal-framed), which is in two parts that slightly overlap. The forward piece falls vertically, as normal, whilst the rear moves downwards at 45° to clear the intrusion necessary to accommodate the rear wheel arch. The first owner of this imposing car was A Erwin Goldschmidt (1916 - 1970), then of Oxford, and it seems that it returned with him to New York. From 1960, Alvis Owners Club records list just four owners here in the UK, including the previous one who purchased the car in 2001 and carried out and commissioned a great deal of work. Our vendor reports; "The car is in splendid condition having had much recent work done to it including new paint of Shell Grey over Midnight Blue and a new leather interior in black. It comes with a vast assortment of bills covering the recent work totalling many, many thousands of pounds. £14,000 on paint and £8,000 on leather alone. The car starts readily and pulls strongly up to modern speeds where it will cruise comfortably all day. The gearbox is a paragon of virtue and must be one of the best made pre-war anywhere. It boasts superb synchro-mesh on all four forward gears and is a pleasure to use; way ahead indeed of many of its contemporaries. The Alvis is very Derby Bentley-like in appearance, but of a slightly more sporting bent and easier to drive with it's superb 'box. It has a capacious boot for touring luggage and a full tool kit which folds out of the lid. A hood bag is also present to tidy away the hood giving the car a svelte appearance roof down". Present with the Alvis is a large file of invoices detailing work carried out and expenditure over the years, an original build spec, lubrication chart, instruction book, buff logbook, current V5C, MOTs and more. In short, this 4.3-litre Alvis is a prime example of a class-leading chassis, uniquely clothed by Abbey Coachworks and recently totally refreshed and we welcome and encourage your inspection of this rather glamourous pre-war Alvis. Specification Make: ALVIS Model: 4.3 LITRE DROPHEAD COUPÉ Year: 1938 Chassis Number: 14298 Registration Number: EXK 80 Transmission: Manual Drive Side: Right-hand Drive Make: RHD Interior Colour: Black Click here for more details and images