Critics of the TC 108G liked its style and performance, but
passenger and luggage accommodation were unsatisfactory. Accordingly the
amalgamated firm of Mulliner Park Ward, by now a Rolls Royce subsidiary,
was approached to redesign the body to meet with British market
requirements. The result was the TD 21 introduced late in 1958.
Mechanically the early cars were similar to the TC 108G and TC 21/100
except that the Alvis made gearbox was supplanted by a 4-speed Austin
Healey unit, a retrograde step, but one that must have saved money. This,
coupled with savings on the body cost, allowed a substantial price
reduction. An anti-roll bar was added to the front suspension. Park Ward's
redesign of the body retained a superficial resemblance to Hermann
Graber's original, but allowed greater room, especially in the rear, and
better luggage capacity.
1959 TD 21 Mulliner Park Ward DHC
Once again Alvis had a successful car. The standard bodies
were two door, a saloon and a drophead coupé. Lockheed front disc brakes,
augmented by a vacuum servo, were offered, initially as an option, and as
production proper got under way a better cylinder head, with 12 ports and
higher compression, plus larger SU carburettors, raised power to around
120 bhp and speed to 105 mph. Wire wheels could be specified, also
reclining seats and Borg Warner automatic transmission, the latter in
conjunction with a higher axle ratio. Thankfully the pistol grip handbrake
was replaced by a substantial lever between the front seats fairly early
during the production run.
1960 TD 21 Series I Mulliner Park Ward saloon
The instrument panel in the middle of the dashboard now
included a tachometer. A few cars had Laycock de Normanville overdrive, a
worthwhile fitting. For younger readers, this was an electro-hydraulically
operated mechanical device which stepped up the gearing after the gearbox,
normally operable on third and top gears only. For 1962 the Series II
version had slight revisions to the body work, aluminium framed and
panelled doors being substituted for the wood/steel items, and the spot
lamps repositioned in the front panel. The rear number plate mounting was
simplified. Disc brakes by Dunlop were now fitted to all four wheels.
Except for the very first cars, the German ZF five speed gearbox, with
direct drive on fourth, was fitted, the Borg Warner three speed automatic
remaining an option. Nearly 1,100 TD 21s of both series left the works.
1963 TD 21 Series II Mulliner Park Ward Saloon
The TE 21 came in late 1963 for the 1964 model year.
External revisions were a new front panel incorporating four headlamps, in
vertical pairs on each side and modifications to the rear wings. Under the
bonnet a new cylinder head with larger valves, new exhaust manifolds and a
larger bore exhaust system put power up to 130 bhp and speed to 112 mph,
at the expense of some increased noise. In 1965 power steering became an
option and it would appear that most cars were fitted with it. Chassis
were still being exported to Hermann Graber who fitted his exquisite more
or less one-off bodies at the high prices his clientèle was prepared to
pay. The construction and finish of these was rather superior to the
English bodied examples. TE 21 production was just over 350 examples.
TE 21 Mulliner Park Ward DHC and 1920 10/30
The last Alvis, the TF 21, came in 1966. Rather more than
100 were made. Externally, there are no changes from the TE, but the
engine was uprated to 150 bhp with a further rise in the compression ratio
and the fitting of triple SU carburettors on a water-heated manifold. An
improved, closer-ratio version of the ZF gearbox was fitted, and the
instruments were now positioned in a binnacle in front of the driver.
Power steering became standard on all but a few of the very earliest
chassis. Adjustable dampers were fitted at the rear. Top speed went up to
1966 TF 21 Graber coupé
Alvis left the field of car manufacture with its head held
high, and never compromised the ideals of the men who worked so hard at
all levels in the early days of the firm to give it the reputation it
still enjoys. The company remained independent almost to the very end of
its car-making life and the name has not yet suffered the ignominies of
badge engineering or spurious revival as have so many of its competitors
from the golden years. In the end the company left car making because it
had been swallowed up by the tottering British Leyland empire and internal
BL politics effectively killed off Alvis car production. The company has
continued to prosper and still produces high quality engineering products.
It maintains a keen interest in the products of its past.
1968 TF 21 Graber DHC - the last Alvis passenger car
The survival rate of the cars is high: they were well built
and keen owners usually looked after their cars well. Many records were
destroyed by the bombing of the factory in the war, and later owners were
asked to provide sample parts so that new drawings could be made to allow
the production of fresh spares. This fantastic support continued to the
very end of car production, even beyond. If the accountants could have
seen the correspondence relating to small details of cars made over thirty
years before they would have been horrified at the "waste" of resources.
Great things are not done by those who count the cost of every word and
deed. When Alvis was forced to give up support, others took up the cause
and few, if any, Alvis cars are off the road today through lack of spares.
Many Alvises remain in use today and many are still driven in anger in
historic competition. They're pretty successful too.
1966 TF 21 Mulliner Park Ward DHC
||1070 (all bodies)
||1575 kg / 3472.3
||2.993 liter /
182.6 cu in
||2 SU HD6
||4 Speed Manual
||Rear wheel drive
||115 bhp / 85.8 kW
@ 4000 rpm
||206 Nm / 151.9 ft
lbs @ 2500 rpm
|Power to weight
||119.9 mph / 193.0