Rolf bought it new in 1935 at the age of 21. He was one of three brothers who owned a textile business in Bohemia, and for his home in Bohemia he wanted a quality car—built by hand and by craftsmen—so he spoke to William Lyons, Lagonda, Bentley, and finally, Alvis. Out of those, he thought the Alvis was the most sophisticated, and so he ordered their Speed 20.
As Nazism crept across Europe, the car was caught in the fray. After the annexation of Czechoslovakia, Rolf dismantled the engine and buried it, so nobody could easily take the car. After the war started turning against Germany, Rolf got the car back up and running, but as the Nazis fled, the Gestapo requisitioned the car at gunpoint to use as an escape vehicle.
A few months later, Rolf was driving in the snow in his more discreet Skoda when he saw a mound of snow next to a garage with some red paint poking through; after scraping the snow off the bonnet it was quite obvious it was the Alvis!
The soldiers had tried and failed to convert its fuel source from petrol, and had left it. Rolf stripped the equipment and traded 400 cigarettes for 20 gallons of fuel from the Kommandant’s chauffeur, added a box to hold the fuel, stripped the interior and reupholstered it (with his family’s silver inside), and drove the car back to the UK in 1945, navigating by the stars, eventually making it over the Channel on a troop ship.