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1937 Alvis Silver Eagle

Story and History

1937 Alvis Silver Eagle 4 door Open Tourer by Cross & Ellis
Previously restored

Engineer T G John had founded the Alvis company in 1919 when he acquired the rights to an automobile engine and with it the brand name of its aluminium pistons – 'Alvis' and quickly thereafter he introduced the first Alvis car - the 10/30hp - appearing in 1920

Despite the somewhat conservative image Alvis has today, T G John Ltd produced some technically innovative cars in the inter-war period, pioneering front-wheel drive technology and championing small-capacity, high-performance engines and he also introduced an 'all synchromesh gearbox in 1934 - all very avante-garde stuff

When the new Silver Eagle was introduced in 1934, the leading motoring magazine of the time, Motor, summed their experiance as follows:-

'Well equipped, beautifully finished and of up-to-date design, the price of £595 is moderate considering the quality of the chassis and coachwork,'

First introduced in 1929, the Silver Eagle was revamped for '34, gaining a stronger X-braced frame and a new all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox. The sturdy and reliable Alvis six-cylinder engine was available in either 2,148cc or 2,362cc capacities and produced 60-70bhp, which was good enough for a top speed of around 75mph and comfortable cruising at 60

Equipped with the larger capacity engine, our Silver Eagle is the last and only to have been delivered in 1937 by the factory and is fitted with the very elegant Cross & Ellis Open Tourer 4 door bodywork

Cross & Ellis bodied many Alvis' as they were based but a stones throw away from the Alvis works and the quality of their bodywork was well known at the time

In correspondence with the Alvis Owners Club historian, a previous owner was trying to establish why this car had been held-back by the factory until 1937 - the last of the Silver Eagles production had been completed and delivered in 1936

The outcome of those discussions would indicate that it may well have been a development car that the works retained

One indicator to this fact of it's retention maybe the additional gauges located to the right of the driver on the dash. These two dials are specific to this car and are for a hydraulic damping system

Operating on both front and rear suspension - the pipe work and the gauges are present, whist the dampers have been replaced with normal units

Many factories used their own product to development work and it seems that '13522' was used primarily this purpose - when the development team had finished the factory then spruced up the car and sold her

Again the latter versions of the Silver Eagle were superior to the earlier versions

The chassis based on the Speed 20 SA and amended to take the all synchro-gearbox

The steering, braking , wheels with knock-on hubs, propeller shaft and rear axle were all identical with the more expensive Speed 20 model

This final Silver Eagle was stroked by 100mm and had a front bumper fitted.

The factory records are scanned in the file - so we have a very interesting Alvis here and one for the aficionados

Moreover when the last owner purchased found her it was this interesting history together with such a good history folder, for the chap from whom he purchased her, had spend 5 years having her sympathetically restored, keeping the original interior as original as possible, whilst removing the body from the chassis, repairing the ash frame as required and then repainting her beautifully

Chrome works and mechanical works undertaken to his expenditure was to the tune of £40.000 - all bills are within the history folder too

Since when a fresh engine rebuild has been undertaken, taking the 2.3 litre engine up to 2.5 litre giving her a spirited turn of foot

The engine is as sweet as a nut - all final tuning has been undertaken by Phil Smorley better known for Bugatti expertise

Obviously owned by many Alvis enthusiasts, the Owners Booklet lists at least 4 previous owners who were members of the Club and the originality and personality of this special car is evidenced by the personal touches seen on the fascia board - the factory dials for the special suspension, extra dials for this and for that, fob watch applied to the fascia, volt meter and even a Silver Spoon ...........

So we have a very fine Alvis with original body work, engine and gearbox as fitted by the factory and sold in 1937

CAR NO 18698


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Previously Sold
Engine Size
Transmission Type
4 Speed Manual
Miles Recorded
Chassis Number