1950 Alvis TB14 Sports Tourer
The 16th of only
100 made and perhaps fewer than 30 surviving; recent body-off restoration;
many useful spares; find another one!
Alvis caused a sensation when it displayed a dramatic open
two-seater at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show. Called the TB14 Special Sports
Tourer, the bright red show car had an ivory leather interior and two luxury
features which really hit the headlines in austerity Britain: a cocktail cabinet
built into the passenger door and a ‘beauty parlour’ in the glovebox containing
a mirror, lipstick and perfume.
The TB14 had a curious back-story as it owed its origins
to a special that was built by Belgian industrialist and racing driver, Pierre
Goldschmid. Taking an Alvis TA14 saloon as his starting point, he commissioned
Belgian coachbuilder FJ Bidee to design a lightweight open two-seater body for
the car and also added an extra carburettor to the engine which increased the
power from 65bhp to 75bhp. On its first competitive outing at the 1947 Grand
Prix des Frontieres at Chimay, the special proved capable of 95mph and averaged
Alvis were so impressed that they decided to make a
version of the car themselves, modifying Bidee’s design slightly with heavily
cut away tops on the rear hinged doors, long and sweeping front wings, muscular
rear haunches, a fold down windscreen and a striking pear-shape front grille
(much like an Allard) with headlights behind it (much like a Peugeot).
Pleasantly surprised by the stir that the show car
created, Alvis commissioned AP Metalcraft of Coventry to make 100 bodies,
although the production versions lost some of the show car flourishes including
the lights-behind-the grille, the cocktail cabinet and the beauty parlour – boo!
The wings were steel but the rest of the coachwork was lightweight aluminium.
Costing £1,276 at launch in 1950, the TB14 was an
expensive car and although all 100 were quickly sold, the arrival of Jaguar’s
even more sensational (and slightly cheaper) XK120 rendered the TB14
Believed to be one of fewer than 30 surviving worldwide,
this particular TB14 is the 16th
example made (the first being
chassis number 23500) and was originally registered in Belfast in June 1950.
Little is known of the car’s subsequent history but our vendor acquired it five
years ago from a surgeon in Kingston-upon-Thames who had owned it for many years
as part of a collection of interesting classics.
The car had been off the road for at least 25 years and
the surgeon had begun to restore it including having a new set of front and rear
wings specially made in steel and two new doors made in aluminium. He had also
restored the chassis and retrimmed the interior in Connolly hide before other
projects got in the way and he decided to move it on.
A qualified engineer, our vendor bought the Alvis in a
dismantled state as a project to keep him busy in his retirement. Over the past
five years he has carefully rebuilt the car to the condition you see today. The
original engine (no. 23515) was in bits but the car came with a spare engine
which had already been rebuilt so this unit has been fitted and we are told that
it is only a few numbers away from the original (which is also included in the
sale if desired).
The vendor has tested the compressions and states that
they are all c.130psi which is exactly as they should be. The oil pressure can
be manually adjusted but is currently set on c.50psi when warm which is also as
it should be. A new high torque starter motor has also been fitted along with a
new SU fuel pump, new dynamo and regulator box, new wiring plus much else
The steering box has been rebuilt by Marles at a cost of
£2,340 and we are told that it is now lovely and light in operation, almost as
if it has power assistance, due partly to the relatively light weight of the
car. A new stainless steel exhaust system has been fitted and the headlamps
upgraded with xenon bulbs. Reversing lights are built into the rear brake lights
and modern flashing indicators are fitted front and rear. A brand new pair of
trafficators are also included but the vendor elected not to fit these as the
job would entail cutting slots in the shiny new steel of the front wings.
The speedo has been rebuilt and the five miles displayed is the distance
the car has covered since the restoration was completed. We are advised that the
rev counter is not currently working because it needs a new cable which the
vendor was unable to source in time for the auction. The car should have a
stainless steel stone-chip protector at the base of each rear
wing but only one of these is present so the other will need to be sourced or
The vendor has painted the car himself but a shoulder
injury has prevented him from finishing it to the proper standard so it will
require some final flatting and polishing to make it really shine. A spare tin
of paint is present in the boot should it be required. A useful quantity of
other spares are also included (two gearboxes; two brand new leaf springs;
steering box; extra Connolly hide; original engine etc) but these will need to
be collected from the Cardiff area if desired.
Documentation includes a
V5C, older V5, sundry invoices for parts acquired by the vendor, an Alvis TA14
instruction manual, technical literature about the model and a period advert for
the new TB14 taken from an April 1950 copy of The Motor.
Retaining its original (transferable) number plate, this
freshly rejuvenated and extremely rare Alvis is only reluctantly for sale due to
our vendor’s shoulder injury which means he can no longer comfortably drive old
cars, let alone work on them. Bid vigorously now and his loss could be your
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or