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Speed 20 SC

Speed 20 SC Description

The type SC was the final development of the "Speed Twenty", there being no discernible difference between the SC and the SD. Engine capacity was enlarged to 2762cc, by lengthening the stroke by 10mm, to cope with the increased weight of more luxurious coachwork.

289 Type SC "Speed Twenties" were produced between September 1934 and May 1936 (overlapping with type SD "Speed Twenties" and the early 3½ litre cars).

Some of the best 1930's English coachwork adorns Alvis "Speed Twenties". This is partly because of the beautiful proportions of the low-slung Alvis chassis and partly because of entrepreneurs like Charles Follett, who saw the possibilities of the chassis. By the end of the type SC era even the work-a-day Charlesworth saloon had acquired a solid beauty. Pride of place must surely go to the Follett-inspired Vanden Plas Sports Tourers and Drop Head Coupes and the graceful and ingenious Lancefield saloons. Though of these cars above all it is true Alvis never made an ugly car! Many were the distinguished customers who succumbed to the type SC - King Ghazi of Iraq, entertainer George Formby, champion jockey Steve Donoghue, actor Leslie Howard, shipbuilder Sir Alan Anderson, engineer Dennis Foden, novelist Alec Waugh, to name but a few.

Charles Follett was again at the fore-front of type SC "Speed Twenty" competition success. "Mr. Follett's racer", a completely standard-looking Vanden Plas tourer, chassis number 11960, won two races at Brooklands in 1936 at an average speed of more than 96mph; was second and third in other races, lapping in one race at over 103mph. The type SC "Speed Twenty" also performed well in RAC Rallies; Miss Streather and Messrs. McCallum, Collins, Whitford-Hawke and Follett all winning awards.

The type SC "Speed Twenty" engine and chassis were the basis of the "Speed Twenty-Five" and 4.3 litre cars, as well as the later "Crested Eagles". Production was laid down in two batches over the period September 1934 to November 1935 with a couple of cars being despatched later, one as late as June 1936. Chassis numbers ran from 11886 to 12135 and from 12736 to 12774 inclusive.

Body production, by Charlesworth, Vanden Plas, Cross & Ellis and a variey of others, totalled 174 saloons, 57 drop head coupes, 49 tourers, 2 fixed head coupes and 7 unknowns. In a few cases we know the coachbuilder but not the type of coachwork and vice versa.

The "Speed Twenty" was of course an extremely well-engineered car. Alvis was equally well-served by their coachbuilders, it seems, since in spite of war and austerity at least 183 cars out of 289 survived in running order until the mid-1950s. 95 Cars survived until the mid-1990s, nearly 33%.

Nick Walker

Past Speed 20 SC & SD Model Secretary

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