TRYING A ” SECOND-HANDER “
V. A 1929 “SILVER EAGLE” ALVIS.
WHEN one considers the large number of Alvis on the road of six or seven years old, many of them not looking older than a year or so, and all capable of a performance of which many modern cars might well be proud, it hardly seems that one only two years old can be called second-hand
At least that is what we felt when we stepped into the very smart fourseater coupe which was kindly put at our disposal by Charles Follett, Ltd., of 18, Berkeley Street, who are the distributors for this marque. The car in question, taken from their stock of used cars is known, we believe, as the ” Clubman’s coupe,” a designation which we must confess to like very much less than the very nicely finished and cunningly planned body which it is used to denote. One is always inclined to think of a “clubman,” as being a overfed rather formal attire, and addicted to exPensive cigars. Why, heaven knows, for most of us belong to clubs and do not, we hope, answer the above
description. However that is all entirely beside the point, which is that this particular Alvis was a six-cylinder, one of the Silver Eagle” range, and of 1929 vintage. The 4seater coupe body was very luxuriously equipped, all the upholstery was pukka leather, and the seats among
Lthe most comfortable we have occupied for a very long tune. The only thing that could be said against the body was that it was rather heavy compared with a normal . °Pen type, and so slightly restricted the acceleration and hill climbing of the car.
Not that one would have been aware of this if one had not already experienced the performance of a similar car with light bodywork, and which was slightly quicker off the mark.
Luxury however, has to be paid for somehow and the Penalty here is negligible as this model, although of comforting sober appearance, is nothing like so sober when it comes to showing some other sports cars just where they belong in the scheme of things. Endeavouring to remember that we were in a secondhand car and not a new one, we tried to detect signs of wear and tear. The body work was in as good condition. as new, and was quite free from rattles or drumming. The engine was smooth and powerful, though one or two unimportant taps suggested that the valve clearances would bear looking over. It started instantly from cold on the starter which is a good sign that the valves and also the electrical equipment are in fr
sound order. The clutch was smooth, and the indirect gears were quiet, with just that steady hum, unmixed with other noises which tells of good workmanship, and rigid shafts. First gear was hardly ever used, even for getting away, as second did just as well and saved time. It would run up to 35 m.p.h. on this gear, and to between 45 and 50 m.p.h. on third, while the maximum speed on the level was 74 m.p.h. We actually attained a 3 or 4 m.p.h. higher speed than this under more favourable conditions.
. The steering showed no signs of wear, and being fairly high geared gave a pleasant and positive control, though we would personally fit a slightly larger wheel if the car were ours.
When first taking the car fast over a not-too-good surface, the springing appeared rather soft, but a trial with a spanner showed that the Hartford shock absorbers had been left slack, and a turn on each of them transformed the suspension completely.
The car was admirably steady, both on corners and on the straight, and during 300-400 miles driving, mainly on winding roads, we found it handled with all the accuracy one would expect in a car built by a firm with real racing experience.
The brakes were smooth and powerful, but being direct acting without servo assistance, were fairly heavy to operate, though not to such an extent as to make driving tiring in any way. Altogether a pleasant car with a definitely sports performance, and at £295 it is another example of the fact that good second hand cars are cheaper to-day than they have ever been.
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