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Speed 25 Offord Roadster
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  Alvis Speed 25 Offord Roadster

  Article Image gallery (7) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1937
Numbers built:1
Designed by:Offord & Sons
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 21, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionOperating in an exclusive niche market, Alvis catered for those who wanted a sporty ride combined with luxury. In 1936 the company set out to revive their model line-up and introduced three new models. These were all fairly similar and directly derived from the last version of the highly successful Speed 20 model.

The base model featured a new 3.6 litre straight six cylinder, which was quite a step up from the 2.8 litre unit found in previous Alvis Models. The chassis was slightly lengthened compared to the Speed 20, but very little was changed. The second model was identical to the 3.5 Litre, but was powered by an even larger 4.4 litre engine and was referred to as the 4.3 Litre. Both long wheel base cars were available as rolling chassis only for coachbuilders to body. The most popular was the third version, combining the 3.6 litre engine with the short Speed 20 chassis to form the Speed 25.

All three versions shared a sturdy ladder frame chassis, independently sprung at the front. On all four corners driver adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers were fitted. Another technical marvel was the four speed gearbox that was equipped with synchromesh on all forward gears. Not quite state-of-the-art were the drum brakes, which were still cable operated and required a strong left foot to slow the heavy car down from the high speeds it was capable of. The driver and his passenger(s) were treated on a very luxurious interior with adjustable seats, proper ventalation and sufficient luggage space.

With only minor modifications the three cars produced until the outbreak of the War. To counter the newly found speeds a brake servo was fitted as standard from 1937. At the same time a short chassis version of the 4.3 Litre was added to the line-up. Of these the 12 examples bodied by Vanden Plas as a Tourer are the most sought after of the entire series. With almost 400 examples produced, the Speed 25 was the most popular, outselling the larger 4.3 Litre two times. Customers clearly favoured the wheelbase chassis or bigger engine over the base 3.5 Litre of which Alvis only constructed 60 chassis.

Although the Speed 25 was officially delivered as a complete cars, some chassis were sent off to coachbuilder for a custom body. The featured example is one of these, equipped with a Roadster coachwork designed and built by Offord & Sons. Since it was restored it has scored a perfect 100 points at the most prestigious concours, including Pebble Beach and Amelia Island. The one-off Roadster is pictured here at the 2005 Meadowbrook Concours d'Elegance where another class victory was added to the car's impressive tally.

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  Article Image gallery (7) Specifications