1950 Alvis TB14 Sports Tourer
The 16th of only 100 made and perhaps fewer than 30 surviving; recent body-off restoration; many useful spares; find another one!
Alvis caused a sensation when it displayed a dramatic open two-seater at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show. Called the TB14 Special Sports Tourer, the bright red show car had an ivory leather interior and two luxury features which really hit the headlines in austerity Britain: a cocktail cabinet built into the passenger door and a ‘beauty parlour’ in the glovebox containing a mirror, lipstick and perfume.
The TB14 had a curious back-story as it owed its origins to a special that was built by Belgian industrialist and racing driver, Pierre Goldschmid. Taking an Alvis TA14 saloon as his starting point, he commissioned Belgian coachbuilder FJ Bidee to design a lightweight open two-seater body for the car and also added an extra carburettor to the engine which increased the power from 65bhp to 75bhp. On its first competitive outing at the 1947 Grand Prix des Frontieres at Chimay, the special proved capable of 95mph and averaged 67mph.
Alvis were so impressed that they decided to make a version of the car themselves, modifying Bidee’s design slightly with heavily cut away tops on the rear hinged doors, long and sweeping front wings, muscular rear haunches, a fold down windscreen and a striking pear-shape front grille (much like an Allard) with headlights behind it (much like a Peugeot).
Pleasantly surprised by the stir that the show car created, Alvis commissioned AP Metalcraft of Coventry to make 100 bodies, although the production versions lost some of the show car flourishes including the lights-behind-the grille, the cocktail cabinet and the beauty parlour – boo! The wings were steel but the rest of the coachwork was lightweight aluminium.
Costing £1,276 at launch in 1950, the TB14 was an expensive car and although all 100 were quickly sold, the arrival of Jaguar’s even more sensational (and slightly cheaper) XK120 rendered the TB14 uncompetitive overnight.
Believed to be one of fewer than 30 surviving worldwide, this particular TB14 is the 16th example made (the first being chassis number 23500) and was originally registered in Belfast in June 1950. Little is known of the car’s subsequent history but our vendor acquired it five years ago from a surgeon in Kingston-upon-Thames who had owned it for many years as part of a collection of interesting classics.
The car had been off the road for at least 25 years and the surgeon had begun to restore it including having a new set of front and rear wings specially made in steel and two new doors made in aluminium. He had also restored the chassis and retrimmed the interior in Connolly hide before other projects got in the way and he decided to move it on.
A qualified engineer, our vendor bought the Alvis in a dismantled state as a project to keep him busy in his retirement. Over the past five years he has carefully rebuilt the car to the condition you see today. The original engine (no. 23515) was in bits but the car came with a spare engine which had already been rebuilt so this unit has been fitted and we are told that it is only a few numbers away from the original (which is also included in the sale if desired).
The vendor has tested the compressions and states that they are all c.130psi which is exactly as they should be. The oil pressure can be manually adjusted but is currently set on c.50psi when warm which is also as it should be. A new high torque starter motor has also been fitted along with a new SU fuel pump, new dynamo and regulator box, new wiring plus much else besides.
The steering box has been rebuilt by Marles at a cost of £2,340 and we are told that it is now lovely and light in operation, almost as if it has power assistance, due partly to the relatively light weight of the car. A new stainless steel exhaust system has been fitted and the headlamps upgraded with xenon bulbs. Reversing lights are built into the rear brake lights and modern flashing indicators are fitted front and rear. A brand new pair of trafficators are also included but the vendor elected not to fit these as the job would entail cutting slots in the shiny new steel of the front wings.
The speedo has been rebuilt and the five miles displayed is the distance the car has covered since the restoration was completed. We are advised that the rev counter is not currently working because it needs a new cable which the vendor was unable to source in time for the auction. The car should have a stainless steel stone-chip protector at the base of each rear wing but only one of these is present so the other will need to be sourced or fabricated.
The vendor has painted the car himself but a shoulder injury has prevented him from finishing it to the proper standard so it will require some final flatting and polishing to make it really shine. A spare tin of paint is present in the boot should it be required. A useful quantity of other spares are also included (two gearboxes; two brand new leaf springs; steering box; extra Connolly hide; original engine etc) but these will need to be collected from the Cardiff area if desired.
Documentation includes a V5C, older V5, sundry invoices for parts acquired by the vendor, an Alvis TA14 instruction manual, technical literature about the model and a period advert for the new TB14 taken from an April 1950 copy of The Motor.
Retaining its original (transferable) number plate, this freshly rejuvenated and extremely rare Alvis is only reluctantly for sale due to our vendor’s shoulder injury which means he can no longer comfortably drive old cars, let alone work on them. Bid vigorously now and his loss could be your gain…
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email email@example.com
* All charges are subject to VAT