Alvis TD21 dhc
Glorious Alvis boasts restored bodywork, a full service and a factory-fitted automatic gearbox, Mike Renaut checks it out.
This Alvis looks smart, with smooth and shiny paint over straight bodywork boasting excellent panel gaps. In the extensive history file are the original logbook and period owner’s manual. A stack of bills, invoices and letters, some going back to 1972, suggest the car has been well looked after. New carpet and door trims, cylinder head gasket and gearbox mounts were fitted in 2015. Exhaust manifolds were replaced, along with the boot seal and front dampers. Paint and bodywork renovation was done by marque specialists between 2000 and 2002 as part of a comprehensive cosmetic restoration that included a new mohair hood. A complete rewire with new loom was undertaken in 2001. Much of the trim including bumpers was rechromed too. Chassis and sills were structurally repaired, while several older welds were further improved. Body repairs were evidently finished in lead and photos are included. The owner kept a running cost total that had exceeded £41,000 by that point. Close inspection reveals the bodywork’s minor blemishes that are consistent with use.
Mechanically all is well. A marque specialist carried out a 3000-mile service with full inspection and 100-point check in 2017, and invoices reveal some £8700 was spent during the year. The need for new top wishbone mounting rubbers was noted but no flaw was apparent during our test drive. Though not legally required, the car was Mot’d in March 2018.
The cold engine fires willingly and idles smoothly at an indicated 750rpm. There is no smoke or fluid leaks and temperature and oil pressure gauges seem normal. The engine bay would benefit from a clean and some paint – notably on the bulkhead and airbox – but nothing appears to need attention. An adjustable Kenlowe electric fan is mounted in front of the radiator. All four Michelin radials have sufficient tread.
The non-powered steering feels heavy at low speeds but lightens noticeably on the move, while the brakes halt the Alvis far better than expected. The car also boasts the optional Borg Warner three-speed automatic. The gear selector is positioned below the period MW/LW radio, and the auto makes this a very relaxing drive with gear changes all but imperceptible. Reverse also engages without jolts or bangs.
The convertible top, including plastic rear window, is in great condition – just minor exterior scuffs and some headlining marks. The folding mechanism and rear passenger courtesy light operates perfectly, and there’s a clip-on tonneau. The mellowed grey leather interior has no tears or obvious wear, the rear seat looks new and there are front inertia reel seatbelts. The wood dashboard, door caps and carpet are decent, though the boot carpet is worn.
The condition and driving impresses. It’s only let down by a dusty and messy engine bay, but a few cable ties a good polish there would result in an extremely nice example.
Smart Alvis drophead comes with plenty of history
Seats, dashboard and carpets impress
Engine bay tidy-up would boost appeal