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Alvis history                    
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Alvis Seventeen and Silver Crest 1937 - 1940

our thanks to the Alvis owners club


These cars, and their four-cylinder companion the 12/70, were designed by George Lanchester, who was on the Alvis staff at the time. They were intended to appeal to a slightly wider market, especially business users, and be simpler to manufacture than the Firebird and Silver Eagle models they replaced. A higher proportion of bought-in components was used in their manufacture, although finish was to traditional Alvis standards. Both used engines with block and crankcase cast together in iron, with the timing chain at the front. The Silver Crest was made with 6 cylinder engines of 67.5 x 110 mm, 2362 cc (TF 16.95) and 73 x 110 mm, 2762 cc (TD 19.82).

1937 Silver Crest Holbrook saloon

The name Seventeen was initially used for the smaller-engined car. On the earliest cars a single Solex downdraught carburettor was used on the smaller engine, soon changed to triple SU units as on the larger. Outputs were 95 bhp for the larger engine and 68 for the smaller. These engines were mated to a unit-construction all-synchromesh gearbox of more compact design than that used on the "Speed" models; very good it was too.

1937 Silver Crest Cross & Ellis DHC

Design of the 10' wheelbase chassis was lightened and simplified compared to earlier models. Independent front suspension was by transverse quarter - elliptics and wishbones, whilst at the rear conventional half-elliptic springs were to be found. The rear axle and steering gear were "bought in", from ENV and Burman - Douglas respectively. 16" bolt on wire wheels featured, along with fully compensated Bendix-Cowdrey rod-operated brakes, instead of the Alvis system used hitherto.

Saloon bodies were by Holbrook; four and six light styles being offered. They were comfortable and roomy. Maximum speed was 71 or 80 mph according to the engine fitted. These are very practical cars and it is greatly regretted that so very few survive of over 340 made.Special bodywork was confined to a short run of very pretty dropheads by Cross & Ellis, and a solitary limousine by Charlesworth which happily survives.

1937 Alvis 19.82 Silver Crest

dimensions & weights
Wheelbase 3048 mm 120 in  
Track front 1422 mm 56 in  
rear 1422 mm 56 in  
Length 4699 mm 185 in  
Width 1778 mm 70 in  
Ground clearance 178 mm 7 in  
Kerb weight 1524 kg 3360 lb  
Weight distribution
Fuel capacity 72.7
UK Gal
US Gal
Type S-6
12 valves total
2 valves per cylinder
Bore stroke 73.00mm 110.00mm
2.87 in 4.33 in
Bore/Stroke ratio 0.66
Displacement 2762 cc
(168.548 cu in)
Unitary capacity 460.33 cc/cylinder
Compression ratio 6.48:1
Fuel system 3 SU carbs
Aspiration Normal
Max. output 92.3 PS (91.0 bhp) (67.9 kW)
@4250 rpm
Coolant Water
Specific output 32.9 bhp/litre
0.54 bhp/cu in
0-50mph (80 km/h) 13.20s
0-Quarter-mile 21.70s 
Top speed 133 km/h
Power-to-weight 59.71 bhp/ton
Engine location Front
Engine alignment Longitudinal
Suspension Front I.TL.
Rear LA.SE.
Transmission 4M
Drive RWD
Top gear ratio 1.00
Final drive ratio 4.55