A DE-LUXE ALVIS THE NEW 31.-LITRE CAR COMBINES A STRIKING PERFORMANCE WITH THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF SILENCE, SUSPENSION AND GOOD LOOKS
If you have a friend who has a prejudice against the genus ” Sportscar,” take him out in the new 3L-litre Alvis. A smoothness which is supposed to be the perquisite of the touring chassis is combined with the perfect handling, high all-out speed and liveliness which the sporting enthusiast regards as essentials. Of course, this latest product of the Alvis factory is a costly car, but the outlay is reflected in the finish and care which is lavished on the chassis and the distinguished air which characterises the car as a whole. If such refinements were not worth paying for, none of the world’s finest cars would be on the market to-day.
The chassis follows the same advanced design as that of the Speed Twenty, with independent front-wheel suspension, a low chassis-line and a rigidly-braced frame which forms an ideal basis for open or closed coachwork. The engine is a newlydesigned seven-bearing unit, and by virtue of an ample capacity, produces the necessary power without recourse to high revs, or compression-ratio.
We took over the car in the Centre of London and were at once impressed with the silent running of the engine, and the way it pulled away down to 15 m.p.h. on top gear, Or 10 if the ignition were slightly retarded, getting away smoothly on the same ratio if need be. The suspension with the shock-absorbers slacked off was as flexible as anyone could wish for, without the impression of instability, and meets the most exacting requirements As regards use as a town-carriage cum sports car. Crowded streets were soon left behind, and we quickly gained the road to the open country. It did not take long to appreciate that the _car we were driving was fast as well as smooth, and a speed of over 90 m.p.h., admittedly with a slight following wind, revealed the sporting possibilities of the new chassis. Telecontrol shock-absorbers were fitted, but unfortunately the rear ones required replenishing with fluid. Not wishing to lose the advantages of the small amount BRIEF SPECIFICATION Engine : Six cylinders. Bore 83 torn., stroke 110 mm., capacity 3,571 c.c. R.A.C. rating 25.03 Push rod operated, o.h.v. Dual
Ignition, magneto or mil. Three S.C. carburetters.
Gear-box : Four speeds and reverse. All forward ratios constant-mesh and fitted with synchre-mesh mechanism. Ratios 4.11, 5.9, 8.34, and 12.95 to 1. Central change.
Suspension : Independently sprung front wheels with transverse Cantilever spring. Semi-elliptic at rear.
Dimensions : Wheelbase 10 ft. 7 in. Track 4 ft. 8 in.
Weight with four-door saloon body, 35 cwt. Price : chassis 1775. Four-door saloon
11,270. of by-pass road, we did not trouble to remove the floor boards to pump in a further supply, but even without the extra ckinping, the long rear springs gave satisfactorycontrol of the car. The latest type of tele-control shockers have an external adjusting nut in addition to the hydraulic control, and at a subsequent
stop, we tightened these up to get the small extra amount of friction required for fast cornering.
Boisterous, squally winds and a succession of rain showers made conditions unpleasant for fast motoring, and we were content at first to make our way steadily into the teeth of the wind at some 65 m.p.h., not unpleased for once to b?. in a warm saloon, and conscious that the throttle was only half open.
The Alvis is essentially a car light to Control. The independent suspension prevents any any kick-back in the steering, which is light and free to handle, and the steering encourages a gentle hold even at speed. The whole car has an easy, effortless stride which fairly eats up the miles and leaves one unfatigued even after the longest journey. Given throttle on main-road hills, it sails up with steadily-increasing speed, nearly always in top gear, and the power available at low speeds gives a smooth, but definite get-away after slowing down for corners.
As conditions improved, the car seemed to call for higher speeds, and soon we were cruising at 75. This is the nornial cruising speed when road Conditions permit, and as the engine is turning quietly and smoothly at only 3,400 r.p.m. there is no reason why it should not do so indefinitely. Above 78, a certain amount of .engine noise and vibration becomes apparent, though only in comparison with the silence lower down. As has been said, under favourable conditions the road .speed goes up to 90. Repairs at Brooklands Made it impossible to get a timed maximum speed, but from two-way tests on a suitable piece of straight road and a comparison of the rev.-counter and speedometer figures, we should place it at 86 m.p.h. As may be appreciated, the gears are not much required in normal running, but they are there to be used when needed. The special Alvis gear-box which has synchro-mesh mechanism on all ratios, is much lighter to control than on previous models We have driven. The
lever can be pulled gently over or snapped across the gate when a quick change is required, while double-clutching can be performed by those who prefer to drive in the normal way. The majority of experienced drivers still feel a keen satisfaction in a smooth, clean-cut gear change, and with a stiff lever which comes naturally under the hand and a responsive engine, the Alvis responds with verve when one calls for flat-out performance.
The engine runs up smoothly to 3,500 r.p.m., but from then on, a slight roughness is felt, and though there is no red mark at 4,000 r.p.m., increasing noise and vibration suggested that this was the useful upper limit. The road speeds at 4,000 .r.p.m. in the indirect gears are : first gear 24 m.p.h., second gear 37 m.p.h. and third gear 58 m.p.h. Second and third gears are inaudible except for a slight hum on the over-run. The clutch is fully up to its work and takes up smoothly from a light pedal pressure. After a hundred miles of fast touring, we considered we had learnt all there was to know in this direction, and thereupon settled down to some really rapid motoring. With the shock •absorbers firm, the driver has no cause to remember he is at the wheel of quite a large and heavy saloon, and the car can be slung round corners in a most satisfying way and without that squealing of tyres that suggests that the car is being driven harder than it likes. The steering is light and free but has plenty of caster action, and the front wheels follow just the desired path even on a rough adverse Camber. The driving position was satisfactory, and in spite of sitting low behind a spacious bonnet, the top of the nearside wing could still be seen. The back of the driving seat was sloped back too much to suit our own particular prefer
ence, though restful enough for the front passenger, but this could easily be
modified to the owner’s liking. Average speeds depend so much on the roads on which they are put up that they can only be given with reserve, but over one give-and-take road we put in a comfortable 53 miles in an hour and a hundred miles in just over two. Considering that much of the latter run was done after dark, with patches of wet road and a number of 30-mile limits scrupulously though reluctantly observed, it
says much for the handling and stability of the car. The Lucas P100 lamps were excellent, allowing a safe 85 m.p.h. in places, and 50 is quite safe with the two Pass-lights, which are brought into use when meeting oncoming traffic in use. Charging and lamps are controlled by lever on the steering wheel boss. The brakes unfortunately were off colour, and were in obvious need adjustment. As it was, they pulled car up dead straight in eighty-five from forty m.p.h. The Speed ” Twenty tested last year in MOTOR SPORT which was fitted with brakes of
pattern could be pulled up in sixty feet, so those of the 3i should have similar figures when properly adjusted. The car we drove was fitted with a particularly handsome four-door saloon built by Messrs. Freestone and Webb of
Willesden. The lines were essentially sporting without being unorthodox, and are in keeping with the fine workmanship of the chassis. The car was finished in light blue, with a dark blue waistline. The seats were upholstered in soft leather. The rear seats provided ample width and leg room for six-foot passengers and, being set well forward on the rear axle, should be just as comfortable as those in front. The tail of the car is devoted to a spacious locker and the tools are carried in a locker with a fitted tray. A sliding roof is standardised, and the quarter windows swing open to give full ventilation in the back of the car.
The engine, which is distinctly compact for a seven-bearing unit of 3i litres capacity, displays a number of original points. In the first place, a set of twelve valve springs of small diameter and disposed around the valve stem are used instead of the usual concentric type. Increased silence and freedom from valvebounce is claimed for this arrangement. Then the camshaft and all auxiliaries are driven by chain from the rear end of the crankshaft, where the drive is not subject to torsional vibrations. The valve rockers and push-rod ends, like almost all other parts of the engine, are lubricated under pressure.
The cylinder-head and the block are of steel, and have exterior water passages, which are thus independent of the cylinder-head gasket. The crankcase is separate and aluminium casting of great strength. A fan and a pump assist the cooling of the large radiator, and the pump and dynamo are each •accessible on the off-side of the engine.
Coil ignition is used Jar starting, in conjunction v ith a special auxiliary carburetter, and the engine is then switched over to the polar-inductor magneto, the distributor of the latter being also utilised for the coil ignition.
Three S.U. carburetters are fitted, and are effectively silenced by two A.C. cleaners mounted between them. Two S. U. electric pumps supply the fuel from the 17-gallon rear tank. A reserve tap is fitted under the scuttle. The petrolconsumption worked out at 14 m.p.g., and the fuel recommended was Esso Ethyl.
The clutch is of the single dry-plate type, and the synchro-mesh gear-box has already been discussed.
The chassis is upswept in front, with a massive box-section Cross-member in front of the engine. Apart from the usual cross-members, the floor wheels help to brace the structure at the rear, together with a deep steel pressing in line with the rear spring mounting. The chassis is sharply upswept to clear the rear axle, and the bottom of the upsweep is bridged with detachable strengthening plates. The well-known independent frontwheel springing has a transverse cantilever spring passing over the sidemembers, while the lower ends of the steering pivots are supported on swinging radius arms. The rear springs are underslung half-elliptics. Tele-control friction
shock-absorbers are fitted front and rear.
The chassis equipment is so thorough that it would be impossible to enumerate all the fitments, but two important items are the one-shot lubrication, pedaloperated from the front seat and the D.W.S. permanent jacks. The instrument board is neatly laid out with all necessary instruments, and we also liked the new Lucas wind-tone horns.
The 3i-litre Alvis is making its entry into the ranks of de-luxe sports cars at a time when there is a real appreciation for this type of vehicle. There can be no doubt of its hearty welcome amongst discriminating motorists.
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