1960 ALVIS TD21 TWO-DOOR SPORTS SALOON
COACHWORK BY GRABER
Chassis No. 26239
Metallic silver grey with beige leather interior.
Engine: six cylinder in-line, pushrod overhead valves, 2993cc, 119bhp at 4,400rpm; Carburettors: twin SU; Clutch: single plate; Gearbox: manual four-speed with synchromesh; Suspension: independent front with coil springs and wishbones, rear semi-elliptic leaf springs to live axle; Telescopic dampers; Brakes: discs to front, hydraulic drum to rear, power assisted. Left-hand drive.
Formed in the early 1920's, the Alvis company quickly built a reputation as a maker of fine quality sporting motor cars with the four cylinder, 1,500cc 12/50 model. With its high polished aluminium 'duck's back' sports body, the 12/50 did well in every kind of competition from the 200 Miles Race at Brooklands to long distance reliability trials. A decade later came the impressive Speed Twenty-five and 4.3 models, endowed with independent front suspension and powerful six-cylinder overhead-valve engines.
In 1950 came the completely new Three-Litre, with a silky six cylinder engine putting out 90bhp at 4000rpm. At first, in the tradition of English specialist makers, performance was subordinate to great refinement. That changed with the arrival of the brilliant designer Issigonis at Alvis. One of his early assignments there was to evolve the Three Litre into the TC21/100, a conventional, even staid-looking, sports saloon, which in Grey Lady form nevertheless was guaranteed to be capable of 100mph. Alvis realised that the next step would involve a much more modern Gran Turismo body. Lacking the necessary home-grown styling talent, in 1954 they supplied the Swiss coachbuilder Hermann Graber, a designer with plenty of flair, with a 21/100 chassis and asked him to produce a closed body that might be put into production back home. The result was entirely satisfactory, a graceful two-door coupe with four comfortable seats that could also be produced in drophead coupe form. The engine was persuaded to give 119bhp without losing any of its smoothness. At first there were still servo assisted drum brakes, but front discs soon came along and the big Alvis went on to sell briskly. Only a few were built by Graber. Production, as had always been intended, was switched to the United Kingdom, but there are enthusiasts for the type who believe that the lines and detailing of the original Swiss-built ones are preferable to those of the later versions.
Delivered in April 1960 to a Swiss lady, this car has had two owners from new, the present vendor since 1989. Its speedometer reads 119,000km, which the car's condition does not contradict. Although it has not been driven prior to the sale, this attractive Alvis is described by the vendor as sound and running well. The leather interior is excellent, although the exterior might benefit from attention to the paintwork. With an active Owners' Club and dedicated parts suppliers, and being very much at home in modern driving conditions, the TD21 is a logical choice for the classic car enthusiast who enjoys rallies and tours.