1938 Alvis 4.3 Litre Saloon by Charlesworth


Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1938 Alvis 4.3 Litre Sports Saloon by Charlesworth.

The Alvis Limited Car Record on file confirms this particular example was dispatched to Messrs. Tozer Kemsley & Millbourn Ltd of London for export to Australia on 21st December 1938. The Car Record confirms this is a matching numbers car where chassis number, engine number and body number all match. The Car Record confirms the original colour of the car was dark blue (colour code 43P). . It also notes the following particulars: standard fawn leather 14/39, Connolly’s vaumol luxan grain, wings – dark blue 43P, wheels – black, six “ACE” discs finished in blue 43P – fitted, extra spare wheel complete with cover – fitted, fender wells supplied, rear bumper bracket fitted, usual switch tail switch fitted, less tyres and batteries. Additional remark: 19×6.0 tyres will be fitted in Australia.

It is understood the car was delivered new to Mr. Eric K Vallance of Cronulla (Sydney), NSW. When he owned the car, it was registered in NSW as 2282. He kept the car until 1958. The next owner was Colin H Hopkins from Forestville (Sydney), NSW. When he purchased the car, the odometer read 73,924 miles. The car was then registered as BPT128.  The current owner’s father purchased the car in 1960 and it has been off the road since.

This car is incredibly original. It retains its original paint and original trim and as such it presents with lots of patina. The engine was rebuilt in the mid 1980’s and kept on an engine stand and regularly lubricated. It was installed in the car some years ago. The car is currently not driving, though it could be made to do so with minimal effort. The engine starts and runs, though it is missing part of its exhaust manifold (that will be sorted by the current owner), it has a fuel leak and a flat tyre.

Additionally, this car will require some recommissioning to become a reliable driver.

Today this Alvis 4.3 Litre Sports Saloon presents very well for an 80+ year old car that is extensively original. It still wears its original paint which is flaking and missing in places, but it looks very cool! The car looks to be structurally very good and the exterior panels show no signs of any significant corrosion. The exterior trim, including the front grill, headlights, spotlights and the horns, which give the front of the car a very stately appearance are in good condition. The car is fitted with a sunroof. The car should have two spare wheels, however, both are missing.

The interior of this car is been very well preserved. The tan upholstery, roof lining and dress timber are all original. The instruments and controls are all present and in good condition. The carpets are also intact and present quite well. Whilst the interior presents incredibly well for its age, it could be easily be tidied up to present even better.

Accompanying the car is the original Instruction Book (owner’s manual), the original Alvis Limited Car Record, some historical documentation and invoices dating back to the 1960’s and a hand written log book confirming the ownership of the car.

This Alvis 4.3 Litre Sports Saloon would make an excellent restoration candidate, however, our view is that a car is only original once so it should preserved.

Let the pictures tell the story . . .  this car would be a fabulous contender in the preservation class at a concours d’elegance.




In 1919 naval architect TG John took over a small Coventry based carburettor manufacturer named Holly Bros and founded the company TG John and Co Ltd. The company initially focused on making stationary engines, carburettors and motor scooters. Shortly after founding the company, John was approached by Geoffrey de Freville who was looking for a company that could manufacture and potentially use his advanced designs for a 4-cylinder engine with aluminium pistons and pressure lubrication.

Many people think de Freville was ultimately responsible for the name Alvis, something he himself has always denied.

In 1920 the first Alvis was introduced to the world, the Alvis 10/30. The car was available with a range of different body styles and was powered by a 4 cylinder engine designed by de Freville with a capacity of 1,460cc.  The car was an instant success and it gained a reputation for quality workmanship and performance, something for which Alvis became famous. The Alvis 10/30 remained in production until 1923 and in total 770 were made. The Alvis 10/30 was succeeded by the Alvis 11/40, the Alvis 12/40, the Alvis 12/50 and the Alvis 12/60.

On the 14th of December 1921 the company name was officially changed to The Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd.

Like many car manufacturers in those days, Alvis wanted to go motor racing. Their greatest achievement came in 1928 when their team finished 1st and 2nd in class at Le Mans and a highly creditable 6th and 9th overall. The car was powered by a 1.5-litre 4 cylinder supercharged engine with a single overhead camshaft. Interestingly, it was front wheel drive. Building on their success in racing, Alvis decided to offer a production ‘Super-Sports’ front wheel drive for the ‘experienced driver’. The Alvis 12/75 was an instant success and achieved high acclaim in the press. Unfortunately, the cost of producing such an advanced vehicle was high and with the great depression looming Alvis decided to stop the production in favour of more profitable models. In the end, only 143 were produced.

In 1927 Alvis introduced their first 6 cylinder model, the Alvis 14.75. The engine in the 14.75 became the basis for a long line of luxury 6 cylinder cars. The 14.75 was succeeded by the 16.95 in 1928 which was renamed Silver Eagle in 1929. In those days Alvis didn’t produce their own coachwork, instead they relied on the many available coachbuilders in the Midlands area. Companies like Car bodies, Charlesworth Bodies, Cross & Ellis, Duncan Industries, E. Bertelli Ltd, Grose, Gurney Nutting, Hooper, Lancefield Coachworks, Martin Walter, Mayfair Carriage Co, Mulliners, Tickford, Vanden Plas, Weymann Fabric Bodies, and Arnold of Manchester.

In 1931 Alvis introduced the Speed 20. It featured a heavily modified version of the 6 cylinder engine featured in the earlier Silver Eagle. By now it had increased to 2,511cc. In October 1933 Alvis introduced the Speed 20 SB which featured a new, all-silent gearbox that featured a synchromesh on the bottom gear, a world’s first. The car also had a built-in jacking system. In 1935, with the third iteration of the Speed 20, the SC, the engine size increased to 2762cc. Later that year Alvis introduced another iteration of their 6 cylinder engine, the 3 ½ Litre. Initially, the car was named 3 ½ Litre SA, but in 1936 it was renamed Speed 25.

In 1937 Alvis introduced the 4.3 Litre. It was available as a four door saloon or as a chassis only. Both the Speed 25 as well as the 4.3 Litre were well regarded and were considered one of the finest cars on the market and a direct competitor to Bentley. The 4.3 Litre remained in production until 1940. Different sources mention different production numbers, however, it is understood less than 200 were made.



  • -
  • Alvis 4.3 Litre Saloon by Charlesworth
  • 1938
  • Saloon
  • Manual
  • 78,097 miles
  • 4,387cc


Register interest if a similar car becomes available