1962 ALVIS TD21
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
This is luxury motoring the old-fashioned way, with simple, smooth mechanicals, a comfortable leather-lined cabin and plenty of style. The 2993cc straight-six engine is quiet and docile at low speeds, but has plenty of verve on the open road; twin SU carburettors mean that it’s a willing performer. The gearchange is firm but precise, with four long-legged ratios and a smooth clutch. The heavy steering is less relaxing, but the suspension set-up helps the car to feel reasonably sporting when cornering, despite ironing out bumps and potholes.
Most of the underside is solid, but part of the offside sill and nearby chassis member have rusted through and require repair, as does the lower portion of the offside rear wing. The upper body panels are very straight, with the boot lid and bonnet fitting well in their apertures, although there are small bubbles by the rear numberplate recess, offside headlamp and offside rear wheelarch. The paintwork on the driver’s door is slightly off-colour, but the extensive external brightwork is all present and correct.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
The Jaguar XJ-S front seats won’t be to all tastes but their gently worn cream leather covers are a good match for the original rear seat and door trims and the original front seats are also included in the sale. The rest of the cabin is very well presented, with tidy cream carpets and an unmarked headlining. The elegant wooden dashboard has good lacquer and a lustrous shine, although the rev counter needle is rather jittery.
UNDER THE BONNET
The huge history file dates back to the 1970s and shows that this Alvis has received plenty of mechanical care over the years. Recent receipts show evidence of a new clutch and work to the suspension, steering and electrics. It’s hard to fault the clean and shiny engine, too, which runs smoothly and revs keenly, with a healthy 60psi oil pressure under load and no exhaust smoke. The fourspeed manual gearbox changes without complaint, assisted by a smooth-operating clutch. There are no knocks or rattles from the suspension over uneven surfaces and the braking system – discs front, drums rear – pulls the car up straight and true with no pulling to either side.
THE CCW VIEW
There are Alvises currently on the market that are in better condition than this one, and it will need some work doing to it sooner rather than later. However, it’s a rather regal classic that you can enjoy and improve as you use it, and it appears to be mechanically healthy enough to enjoy as it is without any undue worry. Rectify some of the rust issues and you’ll have a lot of car for your money.
Twin SU carburettors deliver strong performance. XJ-S front seats, but originals are included in the sale.