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Speed 20 SD

Speed 20 SD Description

The type SD is the final flowering of the "Speed Twenty". This model has developed in a few years from the apogee of vintage sports car practice into a sophisticated machine with all the characteristics of high quality cars of the 1940s and 1950s.

It is mechanically indistinguishable from the SC. The SD took its place as the smallest engined version of the Alvis six cylinder range, which now included the 311 litre "Speed Twenty-Five" and the 4.3 Litre.

The first nine SDs were laid down in autumn 1935 and virtually all of this batch had distinguished histories. In particular, chassis no. 12779, which was bodied by Van Vooren of Paris as an exquisite DHC and caused a stir at the 1935 Paris Salon. This car survived World War 2 in a Paris garage and was "rescued" by the famous French collector, M. Serge Pozzoli, who loved it dearly. It is believed that this car is still alive and well, though hidden in a private French collection.

Chassis No. 12780, a most elegant and ingenious Lancefield Saloon, was owned by entertainer George Formby;

Chassis No. 12775 was probably Henly's demonstrator; Chassis No. 12782 was probably on the Alvis stand at Olympia in 1935. Chassis No. 12783, conducted by Charles Follett and a noble company, swept the board in the 1936 RAC Rally Coachwork Competition.

Two originally designated type SD Chassis Nos. 12784 and 12785 were lengthened in the wheelbase to become the skeleton of two experimental 4.4 litre straight eight cars.

The main group of 100 SDs were laid down between late autumn 1935 and spring 1936 and sold quite quickly; Charles Follett shifting at least a quarter of them.

A final batch of 40 SDs sold more slowly under the shadow of the new, bigger engined cars, but all found owners by April 1937.

Once again the beautifully proportioned "Speed Twenty" chassis (much less bulky than its later developments) inspired attractive coachwork. Most bodies were suitable for the high-speed carriage market and there were many lady purchasers.

Distinguished owners included George Formby, Lord Inverclyde (Chairman of Cunard), Viscount Maidstone, the Hon. G.J. Lyttelton and Captain Heathcoat¬Amery.

Nick Walker

Past Speed 20 SC & SD Model Secretary

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