Established in 1923 for the purpose of building high-class coachwork for cars, Freestone & Webb Limited, V. E. Freestone & A. J. Webb were at Unity Works, Brentfield Road, Stonebridge Park, Willesden, London, NW10.
Thanks to research by James Taylor, we have identified nine Alvis chassis in our database mounted with Freestone & Webb bodies in the 1930s and much has been written about most of them over the years in AOC Bulletins:
The first four are Speed 20 SB models in two designs, 1372 and 1404
Speed 20 SB Freestone & Webb 1064 Pillarless 1372 Saloon 10864, AUC 356 (scrapped)
Speed 20 SB Freestone & Webb 1071 Pillarless 1404 Saloon 11189 fate unknown
Speed 20 SB Freestone & Webb 1076 Pillarless 1372 Saloon 11265, RV 4715 (preserved)
Speed 20 SB Freestone & Webb 1072 Pillarless 1404 Saloon 11270, 558 GDA (c. 1963) Now with a Tourer body.
The next four appear to have been ordered by Alvis Limited as a batch with consecutive body numbers and were well publicised:
3½ Litre SA Freestone & Webb 1172 Pillarless 1609 Saloon 13086, Grey, Blue Wheels Blue Leather, Despatched 12 October 1935. AKV 927 featured in “the Motor” on February 4, 1936 – a 600 mile prolonged trial including data obtained at Donington for the first time – “…in our considered opinion it is the finest car which the company has yet produced“. Then to Capt. Newsome, Corsham, Wiltshire 5 November 1936 –
3½ Litre SA 25.63 Freestone & Webb 1173 Pillarless 1609 Saloon 13093, 13564, 17891, BDU 156, despatched 20 December 1935 a pillarless saloon in blue was reportedly on the Freestone & Webb stand at the 1935 Olympia show. It was the subject of a prolonged 2,000 mile Continental test in The Autocar of February 28th, 1936 covering eight pages (for a week to cover the final stages of the Monte Carlo Rally) and Motor Sport in February 1936.
3½ Litre Register, page 2 & back cover photos of 3½ Litre 13093 BDU 156.
3½ Litre SA Freestone & Webb 1174 Pillarless 1609 Saloon 13106, 13555, 17780, CD 5153 (survives) 227 289 (NZ), Despatched 21 November 1935
3½ Litre SA Freestone & Webb 1175 Pillarless 1609 Saloon 13138, JU 9326
Further information on the 3½ Litre model is available by clicking here
The final and ninth car is not pillarless.
4.3 Litre SA Freestone & Webb 1217 4 door 4 light 1765 Saloon 13164, EJJ 663 Believed body survives
Speed 20 SB Freestone & Webb Pillarless Saloon 10864, 11316, 15609, AUC 356, was despatched 1 September 1933. Bulletin 361, February 1988 has a letter from Peter Martin (7323Sc) with its known history and demise. It was reportedly an Olympia Show car, in battleship grey & birch grey, on the Freestone & Webb stand.
“My father purchased this car in 1955/56 for £95 and she was used as the family car, replacing a 1937 Vauxhall 10, until about 1960 when I suspect the introduction of the MOT test caused an enforced lay up. I now have to confess that I was responsible for breaking the car up in 1966 when we decided she was beyond repair.” Fortunately Peter retained the identification plates and has donated them to the archives.
A surprising feature of this design is the boot arrangement – apparently not too successful as opening on a wet day deposited any water into the boot.
Speed 20 SB Freestone & Webb 1076 Pillarless Saloon 11265, 11715, 16177, RV 4715, was despatched 9 April 1934. It was owned in 1954 by Leonard Light (see Bulletin 14). The next owner J. J. Lealman, advertised it in Bulletin 75 in October 1959 “resprayed white with red wheels”. Paul Sansom has owned it since 1963.
In Bulletin 297, November 1978, Page 247. L. Light, writes from, Bridport, Dorset.
I am delighted to learn from Mr. Lines of Alvis, Ltd. that the Club and yourself are still going strong. During the late forties and fifties I owned a number of cars and I am wondering if you can tell me from your records if the following are still on the road and where can they be seen.
Firebird AWK 817 Engine 13020 Chassis 12568 Car No. 17415
Speed 20 YY 5586 Engine 10513 Chassis 10063 Car No. 14787
Speed 20 BGN 436 Engine 12300 Chassis 11850 Car No. 14787
Speed 20 RV 4715 Engine 11715 Chassis 11265 Car No. 16177
If further details of above cars are required I can probably supply them.
L Light 4.9.78
See AOC Bulletin 502, Nov/Dec 2006, Page 564.
Speed 20 SB Freestone & Webb Saloon 11270 has been replaced by a VdP style Tourer. AOC Bulletin 406, October 1992, Page 15 Photo of 558 GDA captioned The Blanchet Speed 20 at Shuttleworth. M. Blanchet was the Managing Director of Lola Cars.