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90 MPH On Gravel: 1930 Alvis Speed 20

1933 Alvis Speed 20

Here’s an interesting find that was sent in by one of our readers. This Alvis Speed 20 was an impressive British cruiser that was capable of speeds topping 90mph. Apparently, a previous owner of this car tested out that claim on the gravel roads of Nigeria! This thing has quite a past and that fact will most likely add to the excitement when it crosses the auction later today. Thanks goes to Doug M for the tip!

Triple Carb Six

Most cars in the thirties were pretty primitive, but this thing was remarkably modern. The inline-six engine was smooth and powerful with three SU carbs and rubber mounts. The brakes worked well and the handling was great. A lubrication system fed oil through small pipes to all the joints. Sounds like the perfect car for a place like dusty Nigeria. Especially considering that the speed limit was 110mph there!

Four Spoke

Other than all the extra gauges, there wasn’t much evidence of the Speed 20’s capabilities inside. There’s room for four and safety features like seat belts were none existent. In fact, many roadster drivers believed it was unsafe to use anything that would hold you in. They preferred to “roll out” rather than being crushed under the car.

Pulling A Camper

Hopefully the camper trailer was not attached during those high-speed antics! Someone obviously knew how to have fun. They enjoyed their sports car to its fullest and there was even an article published about their experiences in Autocar back in 1944 that was entitled “Fast Work In Africa”. I wasn’t able to find a copy of it online, but I bet it’s a good read.

Speed 20

This rough looking diamond will be sold by Brightwells in Leominster, Herefordshire, England and you can get more information here on their website. This might be too short of notice and too far away for those of us in North America, but that’s okay because I found something else that is a little closer to home. Stay tuned…


  1. Van

    This is car porn
    You should be ashamed
    At least you won’t get in trouble for jumping in more than one.

    Like 0
  2. NotchNut

    For the most part, this car looks to be very complete. Interesting find.

    Like 0
  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I love the weathered, beaten look of a well used warrior rather than the shiny, ‘don’t touch’ garage queen. As was previously mentioned, this is car porn.

    Like 1
  4. Julles

    Some cool cars on the auction site and with the value of the pound having dropped, much more interesting prices.

    Like 0
  5. charlie Member

    I spent my high school years, in boring classes, drawing cars like this.

    Like 0
  6. Keith Matheny

    70k @ auction so 30k is not that far on the other one?

    Like 0
  7. J.P.

    No way this thing was on the market very long.
    If it’s this beautiful now,think how it will be with some careful restoration.

    Like 0

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