Alvis 1953 Roadster TB21


The TA21 was Alvis' last 'clean sheet' car design to reach production. The newcomer sought to move the marque back into a more expensive area of the market than its predecessor, the immediate post-war TA14, but remained faithful to many of the company's tried and tested engineering practices. Thus, it featured independent front suspension on a massive crossmember mounted to a rigid box-section chassis frame with leaf-sprung rear suspension, though there were telescopic dampers all round and hydraulic brakes, twin leading shoe at the front, made a welcome appearance. To keep the 2993cc OHV seven-bearing straight-six engine silent, light springs held the pushrods in permanent contact with the rockers. In the same way that Alvis had offered an open two-seater version of the TA14, it commissioned AP Metalcraft of Coventry to perform the same conversion on the TA21 chassis, creating the TB21, though it dropped the controversial grille used on the TB14 in favour of the traditional Alvis frontage. In keeping with its sporting pretensions, the cutaway doors were rear hinged and the windscreen could be folded flat. As the car was lighter than the TA21 the final drive ratio was raised from 4.09:1 to 3.77:1, helping to increase the top speed to 95mph and at the same time improving economy. But its high price of £1,598 kept the car exclusive and only 31 were built between 1951 and 1953.

This is the 29th of those 31. Supplied new to the chairman of The Lion Brewery in Blackburn, the Alvis was later stored in a Manchester warehouse - and trapped there for more than three years after building alterations made it nigh-on impossible to extract. Upon release it was advertised in the Manchester Evening News on March 20th 1962, and was bought the following day by the vendor's father, who at the time of purchase - 48 years ago last month! - owned four other Alvis and still holds the marque in high regard. He had the TB21 refinished in green. His son explains: "The car has recently been recommissioned after five years storage and the mechanic responsible says that it is running like a Swiss clock". He describes the engine and four-speed manual gearbox as "very good", the coachwork as "sound and solid", and the paint and interior as "presentable but would benefit from retrimming/refinishing". The Roadster is sold with the instruction manual - which unusually, and probably due to the TB21's very low numbers, was individually typed rather than being printed, several Alvis / Red Triangle bills dating back to 1963 and a fresh MOT certificate.

Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions

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