Towcester, United Kingdom




Though the Speed 20 was in production in four series from 1931 to 1936, itโ€™s generally agreed that the earliest, the SA with its beam front axle, had a more appealing purposeful stance, and was the most responsive to drive. Dating from 1932, the Speed 20 SA on offer here, GY 7177, is clothed in undoubtedly the most desirable coachwork, the lovely 'low door' Vanden Plas Foursome Tourer, with that company's inimitable style and grace.

Copy documentation on file shows that chassis number 9885 was sold new by London's main Alvis retailer, Charles Follett, to one Charles Percy Groseland but he only retained the car for a year before moving abroad. The next owner was the Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot, of the car-building Talbot family, and there is correspondence in the carโ€™s history file from a subsequent owner who wrote to the present Earl and received a charming reply saying that the Speed 20 had been his father's favourite car.

GY 7177 changed hands several times in the post-war era, with a long period in the hands of a Mr Clark, then to John Whiting, before purchase in 2002 by a friend of his, Ian Murray, who retained it until 2019 with a benign regime of sparing but regular use, including touring. Though the car remained in fine driving condition, its cosmetics were beginning to show their age. The last time the car changed stewardship was in 2019, and the new owner decided (with long experience of the finest pre-war cars) to embark on a programme of cosmetic refreshment. It was found that the coachwork was remarkably sound structurally, so it was prepared and refinished in the very handsome period shade of Brewster Green. The interior still retained the original leather but, after nearly nine decades, it was looking very tired and accordingly it was retrimmed in a well-chosen shade of red leather, with matching carpets and a new hood. One interesting aspect of the interior is that it retains the smaller, lightweight dash panel typically found in the Charles Follett racing-team cars.

Lifting the bonnet of any 1930s six-cylinder Alvis is always an enjoyable experience and, in this case, it's particularly impressive with the engine bay having undergone detailed preparation, with extensive attention to the wiring, generally a prudent aspect of maintaining a car of this age. The work was carried out by a prominent pre-war specialist, and the bill is on file. Additional documentation includes copies of the original car record, an old-style continuation logbook, a V5C Registration Certificate, and bills for the aforementioned works. This super example embodies all the appeal that these wonderful cars have always had for knowledgeable enthusiasts keen on the best English sporting machinery.

Faster and more sporting then an equivalent Derby Bentley, we understand that GY 7177 drives rather well enhanced by the Alvis gearbox, considerably more user-friendly than the notoriously tricky transmissions fitted to the model's period competitors. The paintwork is virtually new as is the leather and hood along with the full length tonneau cover so the car presents beautifully.  The dashboard and instruments remain, naturally, in original condition as does the substantial steering wheel. A useful luggage rack is fitted to the rear for long distance touring.

This is a lovely old girl, freshly painted, trimmed and fettled and pretty as a picture. With a fascinating history, ready to drive away and sensibly guided, we imagine it won't be long before GY 7177 finds a new home.



  • Size 2.8L


  • Type Petrol


  • Colour Green


  • Owners 5

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