The second world war marked a turning point for the stylish British car manufacturer Alvis. The conflict saw the company more focused on their aero engine and military vehicle business, and although they released rather traditional TA14 and 3-litre models just after the war, production of these cars had shrunk considerably by the mid-50s.
In 1955, Alvis teamed up with Swiss coachbuilder Graber for the Geneva Motor show in an attempt to impress the public once again. The very handsome TC 108.G attracted a lot of attention and Alvis realised that this would be the right step forward. Only three years later the new car, developed from the TC108.G in cooperation with coachbuilder Park Ward, was ready for production. The all new Alvis TD21 provided greater head and leg room coupled with better all-round visibility than the
TC 108.G and, as one would expect from a Park Ward body, seating comfort was excellent with thick and soft leather-covered seats and squabs giving a truly luxurious feeling.
Complementing the soft hide trim and deep carpets, the burr walnut facia panel completed the picture of a dashboard and interior in the best British tradition. A full range of Jaeger instruments was supplied, set in a central panel. The boot was large enough to hold all the luggage that four people could reasonably need on a long tour, the spare wheel being stowed in a hinged tray underneath.
A new cylinder head was introduced to the 6 cylinder 3 Litre Alvis engine with twin S.U.DH6 carburettors and a compression ratio of 8.4 to 1, increasing the output to 115 bhp net at 4000rpm. but designed for optimum power output in the middle of the rpm range. A single dry plate clutch formed the link to the four speed synchronised gearbox with a Salisbury rear axle transferring the power to the wheels. Independent front suspension by coil springs and double wishbone links provided a smooth ride all the way to a top speed of over 100 MPH.
According to a review in The Autocar in 1962 the car was “in a class of its own while retaining many traditional Alvis Characteristics”.
Although an expensive car, It sold relatively well with the company building a total of 1069 TD21's before the TE21 took over in 1964.
However, the most sought after Mk I convertibles were only produced in small numbers, but finding famous owners such as flying ace Sir Douglas Bader and the Duke of Edinburgh.
This 1961 Alvis TD21 Mk I Convertible (or rather, Drop Head Coupe) was first registered on the 9th of February 1961 and is in absolutely glorious condition.
The car was completely stripped for a complete inspection prior to a full engine-out restoration. Everything was repaired or replaced and the coachwork was finished in the rather striking and original Graber/Alvis ‘Piasio Green’ colour. Doors were aligned, hinges replaced, engine ultrasonically cleaned, cylinders re-bored, new pistons, cam bearings and new tappet adjusters fitted.
Most importantly, the car received a new 5-speed gearbox and clutch assembly, significantly increasing both acceleration and top speed. Complete rewiring included a full dashboard restoration. The Speedometer was recalibrated and the original radio reconditioned with modern components and equipped with MP3 player connection. The dynamo has been replaced with a high capacity alternator and the contact distributor made room for an electronic version. New springs and shock absorbers have been fitted all round as well as new stainless wire wheels and correct radial tyres. The heating system, fan etc. are fully functional and the dark green original seats and interior trimmings were re-installed after restoration. The exhaust system has been up rated to stainless steel and the brake and steering systems were completely overhauled.
The Alvis three litre engines are commonly known to have overheating issues. Fitting a large 6 cylinder engine into an engine bay with only small ventilation openings from the front and fuel lines and carburettors on the same side as the exhaust manifold is asking for trouble.
However, the cooling system on this car underwent a number of major alterations and improvements, resulting in a never overheating or vapour-locking engine even under the most testing circumstances.
Being a fast cruiser, safety is very important to this car. Therefore, the current owner decided to install front seatbelts, their colour matching the interior, of the roll-up type, they never get in the way and are fitted as they would have been originally.
This particular car is one of a very few made with an almost square rear license plate configuration with illumination on both sides, rather than the more common but less attractive oblong plate with the lights above it . Additionally, the car is one of only a handful equipped with adjustable reclining seats, enabling them to be set in ‘sleeping mode’.
This magnificent car was recently completely restored with great care and knowledge.
It is perfectly suited for long journeys with plenty of luggage space and easily keeps up with modern traffic - in fact it is well capable of outrunning it!
Priced at 110.000 euros
More photos and info on request.
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