When the Alvis TD21 was launched in October of 1958, there was overwhelming press and public acclaim. The magazine Autocar called it “one of the most enchanting owner-driver cars imaginable.” Most TD21s wore steel bodywork by Park Ward, although the trunk, hood and roof were aluminum. A few additional cars had bodies by Graber. Underneath was a box-section chassis. Inside, the cabin featured the finest leather trim and standard features included an adjustable steering column, a petrol reserve and footwell air vents. Wire wheels could be specified as an optional extra.
The first 25 Alvis TD21s had the engine and all-drum brakes of the previous TC108G, but from March of 1959 the TD21 could be had with servo-assisted front discs. These later became standard. The cylinder head was also improved. In 1960, overdrive became available and January 1962 saw the Alvis TD21 upgraded as the Series II with integral fog lamps, new tail lamps, four-wheel disc brakes and aluminum rather than wooden door frames. During that same year, a t-speed transmission became standard equipment. The Alvis TD21 ceased production in late 1963. Famous Alvis TD21 owners included the Duke of Edinburgh and Group Captain Douglas Bader.
The Alvis TD21 engine was a 2,993cc S6 OHV unit with twin SU carbs. The gearbox was initially an Austin-Healey 4-speed with synchromesh on the top three gears and optional overdrive, but later versions had a fully synchronized ZF 5-speed.. A Borg Warner 3-speed automatic was an optional extra.
The road manners, engineering, appearance and legendary attention to detail combine to make the Alvis TD21 one of the finest British cars of its generation, even if it doesn’t have the same level of widespread appreciation as Bentleys and Jags. The dropheads naturally command higher prices than the standard saloons, and Graber-built models are exceedingly rare and desirable. Water ingress was a common issue on the TD21, which means that the rear wings, sills, boot floor and around the roof should all be checked. The rear window and the door jambs of the early TD21s are wooden and are known to rot, and the four-speed gearbox is known to suffer from weak synchromesh on second gear.