The TF21 is the last of the line of Alvis cars, made in 1966-67 and enjoys a high survival rate as the model many Alvis enthusiasts have aspired to.
The Mulliner, Park Ward coachwork is unique as being the only car for which Rolls-Royce produced coachwork for another car maker. Of the 100 TF21s they produced, 20 were drophead coupes of which 12 had zf manual gearboxes. 39 of the saloons had zf boxes.
A further six cars were Graber bodied, including the very last Alvis car made, a cabriolet.
Serial TF21 owner, Adam Gilchrist, has sent us some useful data for TF21 owners from the handbook on the power steering and lubrication in general:
Mark Seligman sent this 1986 photo of 27410 with Austin 3 litre headlamp surrounds and Marchal foglamps in Graber style air intakes which was posted on the website in January 2013 and created quite some interest. Mark wrote:
“My wife’s cousin, Irene, Marquesa de Torrehermosa’s last Alvis was a TF21 saloon which we inherited but sold as it was in such poor condition. She wanted an Alfa Romeo when at university in the 1930’s, but her father insisted that she have a British car, and bought her an Alvis. She had Alvii continuously until her death in 1986. Red Triangle supplied them all in later years, secondhand I believe. For some years, there was a photograph of her Grey Lady upside down in Garve, the local town, following an accident. She emerged angry, but with just a scratch! The photo has sadly gone missing. There are numerous stories about her at the wheel of her Alvii, many of which feature in a book about her published by my wife some ten years ago.
I sold the TF in 1987 to a man who drove up to the Highlands in a Land Rover with a trailer from Portsmouth. He wanted it for the interior (rare, being a TF21). It was so rusty, the wheels would not turn on the axles. Note the scarab radiator mascot, together with the unusual fog light arrangement in the air intakes. Not unattractive and loosely in the tradition of the TD21 Series 2, as well as being quite professionally done. Not so sure about the headlight surrounds, and definitely not very keen on the indicators (no sidelights either, but the Marquesa was pretty much a law unto herself up here).
I bought the TE21 DHC as a replacement. The car and the Marquesa lived at Achanalt in Ross-shire. Its other claims to fame are that it is where W.O. Bentley used to stay as a boy (and where his brother’s ashes were scattered by him), and where the founder of the Royal Flying Corps, later the RAF (Captain Bertram Dickson) is buried.”
I then had a call from Brian Chrimes (ex RT) who told me more about this car. It was Brian (at RT) who modified the front as the body came off a Series 2 after Rowly Simmons had run off the road and damaged the original TF. Apparently Rowly used to collect the old cars from the Marquesa when they were completely shot, ususally after about three years, when she had her new (secondhand) one. Wayne Brooks sent photos of the car with Dutch plates.
Mark said “I know Brian, but had never thought to ask him about the Marquesa’s Alvii. She adored them all! Most of them ended up being painted khaki (she was once in the Rifle Brigade), but this last of the line for her avoided that fate.”
Club records show that the car went to Holland with Christo van Zweeden and was converted to left hand drive. Christo has responded saying:
“27410 is still in my possession. I bought the car from a Dutchman, who bought it from RT. It was said RT did a total restoration. My vendor was very disappointed about the quality of the work that was done, so he refused to accept the car and several additional work was carried out.
The story took place in the mid of approx 1995/6. I think in this stage the color of the car was changed from beige into peony red. Also the RHD was modified into LHD, very helpfull for motoring in town at home.
I am now trying to find the former owner(s) to get the complete steps/provenance.
Does anybody keep these details? Any snip would be very appreciated”
So another gap remains to be filled in this history. Since this was written the car has been restored and sold to a new owner.
Neil Millington wrote “The TF Saloon 27410 looks quite good with Austin 3 litre head lamp surrounds. In truth I had forgotten about the enlarged land crab, a shame, because I’m sure it was under rated but probably suffered from the poor build quality that Austin Morris suffered from in those days. My own TF21 chassis number 27456 is towards the end of production and was registered by Alvis Limited on the 15th February 1967.
Further information is included in the letter below It is interesting to know that the current engine number 27456 presumably the same as the original which suffered the water loss. I suppose with a hammer and a set of number stamps you could have whatever engine number you wanted there by keeping all numbers matching.
27411 TF21 Radford Fisherman coupe
A former keeper of 27411, Robin Johnston wrote: “This TF 21 known as the Fisherman’s Coupe has unique features as supplied new.
The first owner, a Mr Edward Farr, was a keen fisherman, and requested various modifications to his new TF 21 before delivery. The most conspicuous was a deeper boot opening, and split folding rear seats, all to allow fishing rods to be carried.
Other extras included Reutter front seats, a one shot handle for the driver’s door window, and a wood rimmed steering wheel like the one he had seen on an Aston Martin at the Motor Show.
I was very interested in John Fox’s contribution re the TF21 and I would like to add a little to it. In 1974 I acquired cars numbers 27471 and 27472 which are certified by Alvis and Red Triangle as the last two cars to leave the factory. There were other chassis that went to Graber in Switzerland which would seem to have included 27470 which John Fox describes as the last of the line of Alvis cars. Car no 27472 was I understand supplied to the proprietor of a chemical company at Loughborough and and when I acquired it from his widow, the mileage was 19000 and is now just on 100,000. Car number 27472 I understand was supplied to the president of Champion Spark Plugs and has a Webasto roof, electric windows and reclining seats. I acquired it from the second owner, Lord Baden Powell when the mileage as I recall was 73,000. Both cars were advertised in the same AOC Bulletin. I decided on 27472, an automatic saloon, on account of the lower mileage. I was then advised by the owner’s business manager that she had decided not to sell and so I went ahead with 27471 from Lord Baden Powell, only to be advised that 27472 was available to me after all so I took that one as well knowing that I could make a later decision on which to keep. I still have them both.
27473, 27474 appear to gone to Graber in October 1966 and 27475 in February 1967 although it was not completed until August 1968. Certainly your cars are the last MPW cars.Click here for Fifty Years of the TF21 – 1966-2016For a Register of Alvis TF21 cars, as they left the factory
Do you own a TF21 or owned one in the past? If you would like to be included in the updated Register and receive a copy, click UPDATE YOUR DETAILS
For more on Graber bodies Alvis click on Graber