Firebird Description

The Firebird was produced as the successor to the Firefly and incorporated changes to keep abreast of developments. The altered brake-shoe pivot positions incorporated in the later Speed 20s, the later type of central nut for the wheels and the cast brass grease caps were all used.  A chassis modifcation allowed the installation of the then, new and now-legendary all-syncromesh gearbox, in fact, most of the fitting and accessories on the Firebird were in line with the other models i.e. bonnet catches, dynamo/water pump unit and pistons etc. Although typically of Alvis, certain details like the Hobson Telegauge, twist-type choke control, no fan, solid front axles, single centre engine mount and brake cross-shaft with inside adjustment handwheel were stubbornly retained.

There were, however, no fundamental changes to the model during its production and all models were designated SA 13.22. Small changes to the exhaust system, the clutch pedal linkage and the addition of a front bumper were about all.  The car lacked the charisma of its larger stable-mates, although it was constructed out of similar and in many cases identical parts i.e. hubs, axles, brakes, chassis (smaller in overall size but the same sections and thicknesses).

The standard issue Alvis 4-cylinder engine was expected to drag this lot about with acceptable performance, which it did very well considering a single SU carburettor did somewhat deny the driver the ability to pour spirit down its throat as one can with big brother.  An average of 24 mpg is standard consumption for this car, although as much as 30 can be achieved under perfect conditions without leaning the engine to damage point.

The model was not a great market success when new; the last car was bodied at Cross & Ellis in June 1935 but not sold until December 1936 which meant that when Alvis announced the Firebird as the continuing 4-cylinder model for 1936 every car they were able to sell through that year was at least 6 months old.

Firebird SA 13.22

Powered by an 1,842 cc 4 cylinder overhead valve Alvis engine, the Firebird had an aluminium body on an ash wood frame. As with other Alvis cars, it was built as a rolling chassis then sent to the coachbuilders Cross and Ellis or Holbrook. A four speed all-synchromesh gearbox was fitted and the chassis was lubricated by grease nipples grouped under the bonnet, with grease carried to the components by piping.

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