OWNING AN ALVIS SPEED 25
Hugh Bradnum’s first Alvis was a TA21 Tickford drophead, but since then he’s discovered the charms of the Speed models. He has acquired not only this Speed 25 but a couple of closed cars too, including a 1932 Speed 20 which participated in the 1933 and 1934 RAC Rallies. The tourer, though, has a story that sets it apart. ‘ERF 349 has been through at least 14 previous owners and has been exported to the USA twice. While there, and in dilapidated condition, it was once lost in a poker game,’ explains Hugh. ‘Over here, it was used in the late Fifties by a bank cashier from Blackburn to export stolen cash to Switzerland hidden in the near-side spare wheel cover.’
By 1997, the car reached an owner with the means and patience to give it the restoration it deserved. Hugh and Ann Bradnum are now bearing that task themselves along with Ann’s 1936 3.5-litre coupé, supplied new for a young lady’s 21st birthday present and the only one bodied by Gurney-nutting.
‘It didn’t look too bad, but the rivets in the chassis had worn their holes oval,’ says Hugh. ‘So it had to be stripped right down and reriveted. Then we discovered that the wood in the body frame was also decaying and we’re now about five years into the restoration. Any unrestored Speed model carries that kind of risk – they’re not the kind of cars that can be maintained on a shoestring!’