In 1964 a new AOC member wrote to the Bulletin about the 1937 Speed 25 Charlesworth saloon he had owned from new and had done 131,000 miles. His name, rather inappropriate perhaps, was Sloman of Strawbery Hill, Twickenham. A photo of the car at Crystal Palace appeared in Bulletin 132 & 133 August & September 1964, Page 13.
The car had not been heard since the 1960s until an email yesterday from the daughter of the second owner. “my father, John Dunworth, donated an elderly black “Alvis” to a museum in about 1974-76. I know nothing more about it than that, but I had a ride in the back seat as they were trying to get it going on its journey from the National Physical Laboratory (where he was then Director) to whevever it ended up, and I was about 5 or 6 at the time. I’ve maintained his love of classic cars and still have his 1972 Mk 1 Ford Escort van. He died a few years ago, having reach the ripe old age of 100, and I think I asked him about it at one point before he died, but I cant’ remember where he said it went to.“
Mr Dunworth was never a member of the AOC so I asked for a few more clues!
“I’m afraid you’re dealing with a 45yo memory here, from a time when my early childhood memories are a bit limited…!! It was black, had leather seats (very musty inside) and you could access the engine from the sides rather than a modern hinged bonnet by the windscreen wipers, because I remember watching my father working on the engine in his shirtsleeves, trying to get it going again (gunky, old petrol). I think it had a bench front seat. It was not a convertible. It had (I think) a small running board. My mother thinks he bought it from someone at the National Physical Laboratory (in Teddington) called Mr Sloman in 1965/66 – possible registration HHA 176 – she’s pretty sure that’s right, or very close to right.”
Well HHA was enough to discover the Speed 25 and Mr. Sloman.
“So Sloman must have sold it almost immediately to my father, then, because I think he had it by 1965. It was used by him at the NPL until 1975-76, and was supposedly donated to a museum somewhere. (My father replaced it with a 1963 Vauxhall Cresta which was restored about 15 yrs ago and is still around somewhere – he donated it to the Vauxhall club) and his beloved Mk1 Ford Escort van which we still have…“
So the question is, which museum received the Speed 25?
Mr Sloman’s letter makes interesting reading – the price of a Speed 25 saloon at that time was between £75 and £150.