1964 Alvis TE21 Series III

Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.
Chassis Num: 27162
Sold for $66,000 at 2012 RM Sothebys.
The Alvis Company was formed after the conclusion of the 1914-1918 War and quickly built a reputation for delivering attractive luxury cars fitted with many technological advancements. By the 1950s, they were producing limited numbers of exclusive vehicles based on Graber body designs, with coachwork by the legendary London coachbuilder, Park Ward, and powered by an all-new six-cylinder motor. In the mid-1950s, the first production Avlis styled by the Swiss carrossier Hermann Graber appeared, bringing with it Continental styling and a modern design.

The Park Ward built TD21 was introduced for 1959 and replaced the first Graber-styled coupe, the TC108G. Inside, the TD21 had increased headroom and legroom, especially in the rear. Lockheed servo-assisted disc brakes were now an option, becoming standardized for 1960. Up front were stacked headlights, first seen on Graber's Alvis coupe at the 1963 Geneva Salon.

The TE21 was a development of the TD21 and was introduced in 1963. They had vertically stacked quad headlamps and powered by a 2993cc inline six-cylinder engine with a modified cylinder head and manifold. The engine produced 130 horsepower and was mated to a ZF five-speed manual gearbox or an optional Borg-Warner three-speed automatic. Between 1963 and 1966, Alvis produced just 352 examples of the TE 21. In July of 1965, Alvis was taken over by Rover.

This Alvis was originally delivered to Brooklands of Bond Street on August 6th of 1964. The TE21 was professionally converted to LHD, hen it was purchased from company CEO Rowland Simmons in September of 1966. At that time, it was fitted with electronic ignition, thermostatic engine cooling fan, engine compartment extractor fan, period Reuter reclining seats, inertia reel seat belts (front only), anti-theft device and an upgraded Harvey Bailey Engineering suspension kit comprising thicker front sway bar, rear sway bar and Spax adjustable shock absorbers. The pedals were moved forward a bit to accommodate taller drivers who are also aided by the telescopic steering wheel.

Powering the TE21 is a 2993cc inline six-cylinder engine offering 130 horsepower and mated to a ZF five-speed manual transmission. There is an independent front suspension and four-wheel disc brakes.

In 2012, this Series III Drophead Coupe was offered for sale at RM Auction's Scottsdale, AZ event. It was estimated to sell for $100,000 - $125,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $66,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2012
The first vehicles to bear the Alvis name, founded by Thomas George John and G. P. de Freville, appeared in 1920. Production of the Alvis vehicles would last for 47 years ending in 1967. The vehicles quickly built a reputation for performance and for their durability, and quality craftsmanship. The company, during its lifespan, would also be involved in the production of aero-engines and military vehicles.

The Speed 20 was introduced in 1932 and were available in various configuration. Production would continue until 1936. The 4 door touring version was the standard configuration with Cross & Ellis handling these coachwork orders. The 4 door saloon was courtesy of Charlesworth. The two door tourer, two door sports saloon, and drophead coupe versions were created by Vanden Plas.

When introduced the engine offered was a six-cylinder unit with pushrod overhead valves, three SU carburetors and about 86 horsepower. Their engines were referred to as 'Silver Eagles'. The suspension was comprised of semi-elliptic in the front and rear. 14 inch drum brakes provided the stopping power. Specifications varied and were continually improved. In 1933 the Crested Eagle was introduced which used an independent suspension with a transverse leaf spring and wishbone setup.

In 1933 Alvis introduced to the world a gearbox with synchromesh on all forward gears. This advancement made the vehicles much easier to drive and offered considerably better performance.

In 1936 production of the Speed 20 ceased with around 750 examples being produced.

In the post World War II era, production resumed with the TA14 which drew its design inspiration from the 12/70 of the pre-war era. Under the bonnet was a four-cylinder engine which was solid, durable, and adequate to carry the car at speed. This vehicle represented a major accomplishment for the Alvis Company. The factories and production methods of the Alvis Company, like so many other war-torn European Companies, had sustained much damage due to the war. The Company was used to producing a rolling chassis and allowing final assemble to be handled by custom coachbuilders. Many of those coachbuilders had not survived the war; the ones that had were quickly acquired by other manufacturers trying to re-establish themselves as a business.

A new engine and chassis were created by the early 1950s. The engine had six-cylinders and displaced three-liters. Both the chassis and the engine would persist with the company during its remaining lifespan - which lasted until 1967.

The Saloon bodied cars were dubbed the TA21 and were designed by Mulliners of Birmingham, just as its TA14 sibling had been. Tickford was tasked with creating the dropheads; this was their talent which they provided to other British marques, such as MG.

It was not long before Tickford and Mulliner were acquired by other companies, Standard Triumph and Aston Martin respectively. Alvis turned to Graber of Switzerland to aid in production. From 1955, all Alvis bodied cars were based on designs created by Graber. Willowbrook of Loughborough was tasked with final assembly. The cars created during this era are among the most attractive and sought after of the Alvis history. Few were created, mostly due to the high cost of creating these one-off designed cars.

In 1958, the TD21 began production with Park Ward building the bodies. This was a good attempt at full-scale production, and was soon followed by the TE21 and the TF21 models. The TF21 was introduced in 1966 in both Saloon and Drophead configuration. The purchaser had a choice of their manual or automatic geaboxes, and had a top speed of over 125 mph, the fastest vehicle Alvis ever produced during its entire lifespan. In total, 109 examples of the TF21 were created before the company ceased production in 1967. They were unable to compete with other marques in terms of price and modernization. The company switched their business to the production of armored protected vehicle production. The were incorporated into British Leyland and became apart of Rover, which was later bought by United Scientific Holdings plc in 1981 and the name was changed to Alvis plc.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010
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