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1952 Alvis TA21


  • One of the great names of British car manufacturing
  • Beautiful two-tone colour scheme with matching interior
  • Thorough restoration and mechanically sorted
  • Lovely condition throughout

The Background 

Launched in 1950, the TA21 was Alvis’s first all new post-war car, a generally bigger machine than its pre-war cousins, built on a stiffer chassis. The sophisticated all-new six-cylinder engine also gave the TA21 quite a bit more power than its predecessors. 

Early single Solex carburettor examples yielded some 86bhp, but later cars (such as this one) boasted twin SU carburettors and 93bhp. The most common version of the car was the Mulliner-bodied four-door sports saloon, but a drophead coupe could also be had with coachwork built by Tickford.

Production of the TA21 ceased in 1952 but the engine was used in other models right up to 1966.

The History

Prior to the present owner acquiring the Alvis, the car had in the region of £10,000 spent on panel replacement, a respray and a general mechanical fettling. Also, and with the current keeper, the saloon has had a further light refreshing and a new exhaust. 

It has been garaged since its restoration and only used sparingly for a handful of day trips.

The Paperwork 

As well as its V5, the Alvis retains some invoice from being rebuilt as well as photographs of the respray. 

There are later bills for sundry replacement items as well as the new exhaust. Most spares have come from probably the best-known Alvis specialist Red Triangle.

The Exterior 

Before its repaint, this fairly late production TA21 was simply grey, but the respray has given the car’s appearance a considerable lift. A lot of care has been taken and the two-tone finish looks professionally done. There is excellent colour separation (note the coachline grey in the maroon) and the finish is consistent across all panels and retain a deep shine over the whole car. 

The bodywork is free of ripples and gaps between doors, panels and the side-lifting engine covers are narrow and even along both sides. The sunroof has sunk a little at the back, but otherwise its fit is good and its paint finish in keeping with the rest of the car -that is, excellent. Door seals and especially the windscreen surround are generally good with just a little perishing on one or two edges. 

The beading between the mudguards and the bodywork looks to have been replaced when the car was repainted. The rubberised plastic is supple and even and shows no signs of overspray.

The chrome is another attractive feature of the Alvis. The big grill, bumpers and headlights (which have also been equipped with much stronger modern bulbs) all maintain a deep shine. There are no signs of pitting or discolouration here nor in the smaller fixtures such as the door and boot handles (save perhaps for the sidelight rims). The club badges at the front will not be sold with the car. 

The Interior 

The deep red of the leather makes the interior of the Alvis look very sumptuous. The hides carry a fairly gentle creasing and patina, with seat cushions and edges showing no undue wear and retaining all of their shape and detailing. Nor are there any areas where the colour has faded. Like the seats, the door cards maintain the same rich colour. All fixtures are securely mounted and the chrome on both handles and window winders is in very good condition.

The extensive woodwork – dash and door caps – is a strong feature of the car, its dark honey tone complementing the leather nicely. It shows a little very light wear or handling, but makes a very good impression. This goes for the controls and switches as well, which, if anything, show a light ‘rounding’ of the edges. The steering wheel leather looks like it might have been replaced and restitched and is in very good condition.

Looking above and below in the cabin; the headlining looks to be original and somewhat faded (there is a darker patch on the sunroof underside), whereas the carpets and mats look more vivid in their colour. Both are clean, show a good pile and the edges of the mats are neatly trimmed.

The Mechanics 

The Alvis’ motor, the famous Three Litre looks to be in fine fettle. There are no signs of leaks or areas of accumulated dirt – no mean achievement to keep it that way in this space – and neither the engine nor the carburetor assemblies show signs of corrosion. The radiator and the big air filter both look to be in very good condition, and hoses and ducting appear supple and healthy and quite new.

Jubilee clips are clean, with no corrosion or grime in their workings, while screws and nuts don’t look like they would take issue with a spanner. The battery is quite new.

The underside of the car looks to be quite sound. There is a degree of weatherproofing and both the underside of the body and the larger chassis components appear solid and strong. There is a degree of surface corrosion on suspension components, but everything looks to be serviceable and in good working order. Tyres appear quite new and in very good condition.

The Appeal

The name Alvis retains a certain gravitas amongst British car afficionados and this striking example of the TA21 does that name proud. Well maintained and in lovely condition, it will make a characterful and practical tourer for four people this summer (remember that sunroof). 

It could also reasonably see service as a wedding and event car and most certainly be welcome on the classic show scene where it has already been a prize winner.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1952
  • Make Alvis
  • Model TA21
  • Colour Grey
  • Odometer 97,661 Miles
  • Engine size 2993
Listing Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Yorkshire
  • Country United Kingdom

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