1960 Alvis TD21 Drophead Coupe ***Quintessential British Motoring***


Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1960 Alvis TD 21 Drophead Coupe.

This particular example was dispatched to Alvis Agent WJ Skelly of Motherwell in Scotland on the 25th September 1961 and was first registered with the UK registration TMS 593. The car left the Alvis factory as a TD21 Coupe, finished in metallic grey (colour code P508) with a red leather interior, grey headlining and red carpet. Somewhere between 1968 and 1978 the car was painted blue. In 1994 the car was acquired by an Alvis enthusiast in Blackburn. He acquired the car from the previous owner who lived in Cumbria. At that time the car had been of the road for quite some time. In fact, the most recent road tax badge on the car stated it had expired in September 1977. When he acquired the car, the odometer read 67,000 miles which at that time was confirmed as being genuine.

After some comprehensive recommissioning work, he managed to get the car back on the road. He used the car to attend several club rallies and car shows. In 2008 he gifted the car to his son.

His son was also a real fan of the Alvis brand and had owned and rebuilt 7 Alvis motor cars before taking ownership of this TD 21. He decided he wanted to completely restore the car.  It was stripped down and that’s when he discovered that the roof pillar framework was in a really poor condition. It would have required a lot of work to restore, so he decided to completely remove the roof and convert the car into a far more glamorous TD 21 Drophead Coupe. It took him 4 years to complete the project and during the restoration the car received new inner and outer sills, new rear and inner wings and the boot floor was rebuilt with new metal where necessary. The bare shell was resprayed in metallic blue, and all parts which required it were rechromed. Mechanically, all the brake pipes and hoses were replaced, the shock absorbers, trunnion pins & wishbone bushes were replaced, new anti-roll bar bushes were fitted, new front wheel bearings were fitted, the brake discs & pads were replaced and the rear springs were rebuilt.  Electronic ignition was also fitted. A new spare wheel tray was fitted, a new stainless steel exhaust system was installed, the centre dash panel was relacquered and a new soft top and frame were installed.

To complete the project, the engine was serviced, new external core plugs were fitted, the cooling system was flushed and all contamination was removed from the block.

All this work was completed in July 2011 and the car was registered again in the UK as TMS 593.

The quality of the work was such that the Alvis Owner Club has written a letter which states “ . . . I have inspected the above car which is a DHC conversion from a standard TD 21 coupe. The work has been carried out as near as possible to an original Park Ward DHC design and to a very good standard. The car would be accepted in the Alvis Owner Club and would be suitable for all competitions within the Club”.

The current owner acquired the car in 2012 and subsequently imported it into Australia. There is an import approval on file dated 17th May 2012. Since arriving in Australia the car has been used extensively. The owner has used it for a number of road trips, club events and even as a wedding car for family and close friends throughout Queensland, NSW and Victoria. A few years back the owner removed the engine from the car stripped it down and rebuilt it using new pistons and rings.

Even though the car now carries an older restoration, it still presents pretty well. The light blue paint, which shows the elegant lines and details perfectly, is generally in good condition. From say a meter away the paint looks good, however, on closer inspection there are a number of stone chips and some paint imperfections. This car is no trailer queen, it is a country car that does get driven. The exterior trim is similarly presented. Overall, the chrome and bright work is all still in good condition but upon closer inspection you’ll find a few scratches here and there consistent with the age of the car.

For a hand built convertible car with an aluminium body, the panel gaps are all very good. This also further reinforces the quality of the conversion and restoration.

The interior is very British and, in a way, quite similar to what you’d find in other British luxury cars of that same period like a Bristol or a Lagonda. The dashboard is simple yet functional and the wood work is all still in a good condition. The leather upholstery on the front and rear seats and the door cards is in a good condition. The red carpets are also tidy and complete the look of the interior, which is just a ‘nice place to be’. The soft top, which is also finished in red to match the upholstery, is also in good condition.

This car starts easily, even from cold. You just pull out the choke, turn the ignition on, give the fuel pump a few seconds to fill the SU carburetors with fuel, then you turn the key and the car starts pretty much at first turn of the key. Out on the open road this car is just a nice cruiser. It’s clear this car has been used and maintained on a regular basis. Everything works the way you expect it to. The gear changes are smooth going up and down the gear box. The steering is direct and the car is quite easy to drive. In fact, the more you drive it the better it gets.  For a 60+ year old car, it still easily keeps up with modern day traffic and when required, the brakes do a good job stopping the car.

At first glance the design of this car is simple, yet the more time you spend looking at it the more details you see! Check out the swage line in the rear quarter panels, the vent openings at the front of the car (each with an Alvis triangle) and the boot handle!

To quote Classic & Sports Car magazine “ . . .  If you want a quiet, distinctive gentleman’s carriage that is a pleasure to use over long journeys, look no further”.

Accompany the car is an Alvis Archive Certificate, Manual of Instructions (owner’s manual), some historical documentation including a  UK V5, invoices, some restoration details, a document summarising the UK history of the car, restoration photos and an Australian import approval. This car was featured in the March/April 2021 issue of Alvibatics, which is the Australian Alvis Owner’s Club magazine. There is also a spare wheel and aftermarket  jack.


  • Nice example of an Alvis TD 21.
  • Expertly converted to a drophead coupe when restored.
  • Lovely colour scheme
  • A well presented, nice driver that is ready to use and enjoy.



In 1919 naval architect TG John took over a small Coventry based carburetor manufacturer named Holly Bros and founded the company TG John and Co Ltd. The company initially focused on making stationary engines, carburetors and motor scooters. Shortly after founding the company John was approached by Geoffrey de Freville who was looking for a company which could manufacture and potentially use his advanced designs for a 4 cylinder engine with aluminium pistons and pressure lubrication.

Many people think de Freville was ultimately responsible for the name Alvis, something he himself has always denied.

In 1920 the first Alvis was introduced to the world, the Alvis 10/30. The car was available with a range of different body styles and powered by a 4 cylinder engine designed by de Freville with a capacity of 1,460cc.  The car was an instant success and it gained a reputation for quality workmanship and performance, something for which Alvis became famous. The Alvis 10/30 remained in production until 1923 and in total 770 were made. The Alvis 10/30 was succeeded by the Alvis 11/40, the Alvis 12/40, the Alvis 12/50 and the Alvis 12/60.

On the 14th December 1921 the company name was officially changed to The Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd.

Like many car manufacturers in those days, Alvis wanted to go motor racing. There greatest achievement came in 1928 when their team finished 1st and 2nd in class at Le Mans and a highly creditable 6th and 9th overall. The car was powered by a 1.5-litre 4 cylinder supercharged engine with a single overhead camshaft. Interestingly, it was front wheel drive. Building on their success in racing, Alvis decided to offer a production ‘Super-Sports’ front wheel drive for the ‘experienced driver’. The Alvis 12/75 was an instant success and achieved high acclaim in the press. Unfortunately, the cost of producing such an advanced vehicle where high and with the great depression looming Alvis decided to stop the production in favor of more profitable models. In the end only 143 were produced.

In 1927 Alvis introduced their first 6 cylinder model, the Alvis 14.75. The engine in the 14.75 became the basis for a long line of luxury 6 cylinder cars. The 14.75 was succeeded by the 16.95 in 1928 which was renamed to Silver Eagle in 1929. In those days Alvis didn’t produce their own coachwork, instead they relied on the many available coachbuilders in the Midlands area. Companies like  Car bodies, Charlesworth Bodies, Cross & Ellis, Duncan Industries, E. Bertelli Ltd, Grose, Gurney Nutting, Hooper, Lancefield Coachworks, Martin Walter, Mayfair Carriage Co, Mulliners, Tickford, Vanden Plas, Weymann Fabric Bodies, and Arnold of Manchester.

In 1931 Alvis introduced the Speed 20. It featured a heavily modified version of the 6 cylinder engine featured in the earlier Silver Eagle. By now it had increased to 2,511cc. In October 1933 Alvis introduced the Speed 20 SB which featured a new, all-silent gearbox which featured a synchromesh on the bottom gear, a world’s first. The car also had an built-in jacking system. In 1935, with the third iteration of the Speed 20, the SC, the engine size increased to 2762cc. Later that year Alvis introduced another iteration of their 6 cylinder engine, the 3 ½ Litre. Initially the car was named 3 ½ Litre SA, but in 1936 it was renamed Speed 25.

In 1937 Alvis introduced the 4.3 Litre. It was available as a four door saloon or as a chassis only. Both the Speed 25 as well as the 4.3 Litre were well regarded and were considered one of the finest cars on the market and a direct competitor to Bentley. The 4.3 Litre remained in production until 1940. Different sources mention different production numbers, however, it is understood less than 200 were made.

Like most other car manufacturers in the UK, Alvis was involved in producing armaments during World War II. Car production still continued, but unfortunately the factory was severely damaged during the November 1940 bombing raid of Coventry. It wasn’t until November 1946 that Alvis announced and was able to build a new car – the TA 14. In 1950 the TA 14 was succeeded by the TA21. Subsequent models included the TC 21, TC 108G, TD 21, TE 21 and TF 21.

Alvis introduced the TD 21 In 1958. Built by Park Ward, the TD 21 was available as a coupe, a saloon and a drophead coupe. In 1962 the car received a minor upgrade before production ceased in 1963. Like all Alvis cars from the post war period the TD 21 was quintessentially British. It was built ‘the old school way’ with a separate chassis, coach built wood, steel and aluminium body shell and luxurious cabin full of Connolly hide and burr walnut.


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  • Alvis TD21 Drophead Coupe
  • 1960
  • Drophead Coupe
  • Manual
  • 94,191 miles
  • 2,993cc

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