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Lot 104: Alvis TE21 Saloon

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (13 July 2011)

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. In 1963 it was replaced by the TE21, immediately distinguished by its stacked-headlight front end, another design flourish by Swiss coachbuilder, Graber. Maximum power was now 130bhp courtesy of a new cylinder head and torque was up to 172lb/ft, with a choice of five-speed ZF manual or automatic gearboxes. Lockheed servo-assisted disc brakes were now standard and power steering was available as an option. Tested by Autocar, a TE21 could hit 60mph in 12.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 108mph. An extremely rare car, only 349 were made before it was replaced by the TF in 1966. All are increasingly sought after today. This particular car was built towards the end of 1964 and delivered to the Arnold Wilson dealership in Leeds on 1st October 1964. First registered in April 1965 it had the desirable options of power steering and a five-speed ZF manual 'box. Originally dark green but since repainted dark blue, it has been in the current ownership for the last 10 years while the previous owner kept it for 15 years. Appearing to be in good sound condition throughout with a nicely preserved beige leather interior and beautifully refurbished woodwork, it still retains that precision door closing action praised by Autocar all those years ago. A sophisticated 'whoosh-click', it is unique to the Alvis T-Series cars and a reassuring sign that the doors have not drooped nor the chassis been bent. The car also drives very well with a notably smooth and quiet engine, as we discovered during a short test drive on the occasion of our visit to take these photographs. Regularly seen on classic runs and at Alvis club events, this car has been well looked after in the current ownership by specialists like Earley Engineering, Ian Harris and Fisher Restoration. It comes with a copy of the original factory build sheets and a small amount of history with a current MOT and tax. Values of these wonderfully understated saloons have risen strongly in risen years and this well-preserved and well-specified example looks a shrewd investment at the guide price suggested today. One to buy now while you can still afford to!

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
Lot Number104
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberKPK 354C
Chassis number27169
Engine number27169
Engine capacity (cc)2993
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2