Unveiled in August 1936, the 4.3 Litre was the undoubted flagship of Alvis' pre-WW2 range. Based on a sturdy, cruciform-braced ladder-frame chassis equipped with independent transverse-leaf front suspension and a well-located `live' rear axle, the newcomer also boasted driver-controlled Luvax shock absorbers, Marles cam-and-roller steering and Clayton Dewandre servo-assisted drum brakes. An enlarged version of that found in the Speed 25, its 4387cc OHV straight-six engine featured a seven-bearing crankshaft, alloy crankcase / sump, cast-iron cylinder block / head, triple SU carburettors and cluster valve springs (nine per valve making for 108 in total). Credited with developing some 137bhp and 175lbft of torque, this potent unit was allied to the marque's famous all-synchromesh, four-speed manual transmission. Reputedly faster than the equivalent Lagonda V12 and Bentley 4.25 Litre both in terms of acceleration and top speed, the Alvis 4.3 Litre was judged something of a `supercar' in period. Available with a choice of 10ft 7in or 10ft 4in wheelbases and in a variety of open and closed guises, it remained in production until 1940 by which time some 166 are thought to have been made (though, some sources suggest the figure was 183 or 198 cars).
However, one Alvis 4.3 Litre model stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of rarity, desirability and reputation. Introduced in late 1937, the Short Chassis Vanden Plas Tourer drew rave reviews from the contemporary motoring press. A true expression of the coachbuilder's art, the rakishly elegant four-seater was awash with fine detailing. As well as expected elements such as a fold-flat windscreen, encased spare wheel, sloping tail, louvered bonnet sides and cut-away doors etc, the design was punctuated by a clever belt line that emphasized its low build and delightful stepped edges to all four wings. Riding on Alvis' `jelly mould' wire wheels and typically finished in a two-tone livery, the 4.3 Litre Short Chassis Vanden Plas Tourer was arguably among the best looking road cars of its generation. While period road test figures - 0-60mph in 11.3 seconds and 103.45mph top speed - confirmed it to be one of the quickest too. Some £200 less expensive than a standard wheelbase Vanden Plas `Razor Edge' Saloon (£995 vs. £1,195), the short wheelbase Vanden Plas Tourer attracted surprisingly few sales. Indeed, it has long been held that just twelve Alvis 4.3 Litre Short Chassis Vanden Plas Tourers were built and supplied (eleven of which are known to have survived to this day)."