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1965 Alvis TE21 Sports Saloon

Auction House


Auction Sale

auction € 22,000 - 28,000


Engineer T G John founded the Alvis company in 1919 when he acquired the rights to an automobile engine, and with it the brand name of its aluminium pistons - Alvis. Manufactured by T G John Ltd, the first Alvis - the 10/30hp - appeared in 1920 and the subsequent 12/50 succeeded in establishing the firm's reputation as builder of fine sporting cars. More luxurious models were developed during the 1930s, though always of a sporting inclination, but in the immediately post-war years the range might best be described as worthy but unexciting.

That all changed in 1955 when the first production Alvis styled by Swiss


Graber appeared, bringing a much-needed injection of Continental style and modernity to the Coventry manufacturer's range. Introduced at the 1958 Motor Show, the Park Ward-built TD21 replaced that first Graber-styled coupé, the TC108G. The latter's torquey, 3.0-litre, overhead-valve six was retained, and after February 1959 came with 120bhp on tap courtesy of a redesigned 'six-port' cylinder head. Inside there were improvements to the accommodation, with increased headroom and legroom, especially in the rear. Lockheed servo-assisted disc brakes were now an option, becoming standardised for 1960. Sporting a distinctive stacked-headlight front end first seen on Graber's Alvis coupé at the 1963 Geneva Salon, the successor TE21 model – also known as the 3-Litre Series III - entered production the following year. Maximum power was now 130bhp and there was a choice of gearboxes: ZF five-speed manual or Borg Warner automatic, while the adoption of the German firm's power assisted steering was another welcome development. Alvis had completed a total of 349 TE21s by the time production ceased in October 1966, most of which were two-door sports saloons. The successor TF21 model only lasted for another year, its passing marking the end of Alvis passenger car production.

An automatic transmission example, this rare TE21 has been in the vendor's possession for the last 23 years. The Alvis was owned for the first ten years of its life by a Dublin businessman, who sold it to a titled owner in County Kerry. This second owner changed the exterior colour to RAF Blue and then, after another ten years, sold the car to a financier. The latter let the Alvis deteriorate until it was bought, as a restoration project, by the current owner, who proceeded to carry out a 'bare metal' rebuild in 2005. The restoration involved returning the car to its original blue metallic livery, though the original interior was left untouched. Offered with an old-style logbook.

Find this original car listing at Bonhams