1959 Alvis TD 21
Early TD with manual gearbox and wire wheels; low mileage; lots of history; for recommissioning
Launched in October 1958, the Graber-styled Alvis TD21 was an immediate success, the combination of a luxury interior, elegant bodywork and 100mph performance proving immensely attractive to the well-heeled clientele at which it was aimed.
The Motor described it as having "a Jeeves-like quality of responding to its master's whim" while Autocar praised it as "one of the most enchanting owner-driver cars imaginable," singling out the quality of the Park Ward coachwork with doors that "close with a majestic clunk - more like an air of finality than a noise."
Qualities that were no doubt appreciated by owners as august as the Dukes of Edinburgh and Windsor, Sir Douglas Bader and James Mason – all as quintessentially English as the car.
Powered by a torquey 120bhp straight-six engine mated to a four-speed manual gearbox as standard, the car was capable of effortless high speed cruising and handled exceptionally well for such a stately machine. Just 1,069 TD21s were made before it was replaced by the TE21 in 1963.
This particular car is a very early example that would appear from its chassis number to be the 75th car made and still retains its original drum brakes all round. First registered on 23rd April 1959, it was first owned by Alan Nash of Aldborough, Norfolk, who sold it a year later to W Marsh of Dorset from where it moved to Wales in 1972. A few more owners came and went before the car was sold by Brightwells to our vendor in 2013.
Prior to his purchase, the car had been the subject of a careful examination by a local car restorer who declared the chassis and frame to be in excellent condition. A bare metal respray was undertaken and the brightwork rechromed. The entire braking system was overhauled with new pipes throughout and the suspension bushes were replaced with new Koni shock absorbers fitted all round. A new West of England cloth headlining was also fitted as was a custom-made stainless steel exhaust and a new radiator.
The engine was subsequently removed and fully rebuilt with new pistons and an unleaded head conversion however the car was very little used after that and has since spent most of its life in storage.. .having been filed away in dry storage since 2014. At this point, it was running nicely, the mileage having increased to just 44,248 miles.
The mileage on the clock is said to be genuine and is backed up by a run of old MOTs back to 1969 - it has spent long periods in hibernation. The history file includes the original buff log book, many bills for work carried out to date and the original owner's handbook.
The vendor has not attempted to start the car since he stopped using it in 2014, so it will need some coaxing into life and a thorough recommissioning before use once more. The engine turns freely and it was running nicely when it stopped!
As can be seen, there are a few blemishes to the paintwork as shown in the photos and the inside would improve with a good clean, but it has the makings of a really lovely car, with its four-speed manual gearbox and wire wheels to boot. These aristocratic cars don't come along everyday.
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