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Lot 308: 1965 Alvis TE21 Drophead Coupe - From the TV series, 'Kingdom' starring Stephen Fry

Automobiles and Associated Collectables, Coys (20 October 2007)

The name Alvis was always synonymous with craftsmanship and performance and the final models produced by this very British manufacturer were no exception. When production of the three litre cars ended in 1954 that might have been the end of Alvis cars for good had it not been for Swiss coachbuilder Graber, who for some time had successfully re-bodied Alvis chassis with his own elegant and modern designs. In 1953 Alvis reached an agreement to build the Graber cars under licence; Loughborough coachbuilder Willowbrook built the first model, the TC108G, but it was expensive and only 17 examples were built in three years. Production ceased in 1957 when Alvis, having bought the Graber rights two years earlier, struck a deal with Park Ward to build the cars at a more reasonable cost. The resultant new TD21 was announced in October 1958 and benefited from a strengthened chassis, sharp styling and increased interior space. A four speed manual gearbox became standard, as did front disc brakes on all but the earliest examples. It received excellent press, Autocar calling it "one of the most enchanting owner-driver cars imaginable". Initially power output was 104bhp, increasing to 115bhp for 1959 cars. A Series II version was launched in July 1962, distinguishable by slightly reworked panels, recessed fog lamps in place of the air vents and aluminium door frames, while all round disc brakes became standard as did a five speed ZF gearbox. The subsequent Series III of 1964 became the TE21 and, apart from another 15bhp, detail suspension and steering improvements, was visually a twin headlight TD21. Just 355 TE21 models were produced. Originally owned by the then Alvis Owners Club secretary, Oswald Trent, until 1976, this superb TE21 subsequently had four owners before being acquired by Haymarket Publishing Services, publisher of Autocar and Classic and Sportscar magazines, in May 1991. Already it had featured on the front cover of the February 1989 edition of Old Car (a copy of which accompanies the car) and in a feature inside the magazine covering the history of Alvis, and it later appeared in the April 1991 edition of Classic and Sportscar under its My Classic & I section, when it was the company car of then Autocar editor, Bernard Barnett. After 1993 the Alvis spent some eight years in Germany before returning to Britain in 2002, when it was reallocated its original registration plate. Although the car had been extensively restored during Barnett's tenure of the car - during which time it was gradually and comprehensively restored by marque specialist Chingford Autos, the work including a complete overhaul of the engine, brakes, suspension, power assisted steering and all ancillaries, as well as chassis repair work, new front wings, sills, glass, rubber seals and chrome, a new Everflex hood and a new wiring loom, all at a cost in excess of £40,000 - it nevertheless underwent more restoration in the mid-1990s, including further attention to the sills and rear wings, a full repaint, new carpets and leather hood bag, to bring it up to the required high standard prior to it forming part of a collection in Germany. In the same ownership since September 2002, the car has since had £2,000 expended on general maintenance and servicing and £400 having its original Motorola radio converted to FM wavelength by The Vintage Wireless Company, the latter featuring in the November 2005 edition of Classic and Sportscar in an article about discretely installed audio systems. This year LWH 128C gained further fame when it starred in the ITV 1 television drama Kingdom in which it was driven by Stephen Fry, and filming of a second series, in which the Alvis once more plays the eponymous Norfolk solicitor's everyday transport, was completed immediately prior to this auction. Beautifully presented in Alice Blue with complementary grey leather interior, and still retaining its German identification plates under the bonnet, it comes with a V5 registration document, a MoT test certificate valid until October 2008 and is described as being in truly outstanding condition. A very fine and very British motor car.

Lot Details
Auction Automobiles and Associated Collectables
Coys, Ascot, Berkshire
TypeCar
Lot Number308
Estimate£50000-£60000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£52100
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1965
Condition rating
Registration numberLWH 128C
Mileage-
Chassis numberTE2½7230
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors