Rare Tickford-bodied 100bhp DHC; one of only 81 made; just five owners
from new with a vast history file; runs beautifully; a wonderful example of
this quality open tourer
Introduced in 1953, the Alvis TC21 3-litre was aimed at the sort of chap who might also have a Bentley MkVI or a Lagonda 2.6 on his shopping list. A chap like the Duke of Edinburgh perhaps, or Sir Douglas Bader, both of whom succumbed to the charms of the Alvis. While a steady chap like the Duke might opt for the Mulliner Saloon version, a raffish sort like Bader could (and did) opt for the Tickford Drophead Coupe in top spec TC21/100 Grey Lady form.
With a high compression cylinder head and taller final drive ratio, it was credited with 100bhp and a headline-grabbing 100mph top speed. Only 81 TC21/100 Dropheads were made before the TC21 was replaced by the TC 108G Saloon in 1956.
This particular Grey Lady has had just five owners to date and comes with a vast history file from new. Copies of the original build sheets show that it left the factory in December 1954 finished in black with a fawn Connolly interior and a fawn hood. Supplied new via Arnold Wilson of Leeds, it was first owned by local firm Holt & Co who kept it until 1964 when ownership transferred to Mr Sam Rata of Kenton, Middlesex, who was to keep it right up until 1999.
Mr Rata had the engine rebuilt in 1966 and then used the car extensively on club events and continental tours, a large file of invoices documenting meticulous upkeep over his 35-year ownership, Red Triangle maintaining the car from the 1970s onwards. He also repainted the car from its original black to dark green.
The next owner was a classic car dealer and long-standing Alvis Club member, Mr W F Fryer of Kilburn, who acquired the car in 1999 when the odometer was showing c.27,600 miles. He went right through the car before using it on a 3,000-mile tour of America in 2000, as shown in photos on file.
He was to keep it until 2010 and looked after it well, the service book showing 7 services at Red Triangle during his 11-year ownership. He also had the seats retrimmed in butterscotch leather and fitted a new set of MWS wire wheels. A complete new clutch assembly and a new rear main oil seal were fitted in 2001 and a new radiator the following year. In 2004 the cylinder head was rebuilt and converted to run on unleaded petrol. In 2005 it got a new set of carpets and it may also have been repainted in its current two-tone green livery during his ownership, although there are no invoices to support this.
In October 2010, when the odometer was showing c.59,200 miles, the car was acquired by a Dr R Legge of Edinburgh who kept it until 2017, numerous invoices and work sheets showing that it continued to be meticulously maintained during this period.
In October 2017, when the odometer was showing 72,050 miles, our vendor acquired the car and it has been carefully maintained by Red Triangle ever since. Apart from regular servicing, this has included fitting electronic ignition; electric cooling fan; stainless steel exhaust; halogen headlamps; new kingpin and suspension bushes; all new brakes plus various other jobs.
Immediately prior to the auction the car was sent to Red Triangle for a full service and a thorough check-over, their detailed report (which can be emailed to bidders on request) showing that it had good compressions on all six cylinders. They did note that the gearchange crunched intermittently when changing into 3rd and the car pulled to the left under hard braking but this is because the brakes have just been re-lined and need to be bedded in for a few miles before they can be adjusted.
Although it no longer needs one, it has an MOT until July 2024 with just a few minor advisories (fuel pipe chafing at filler neck; slightly worn o/s/r suspension bush; slight play o/s/f wheel bearing; slight play o/s/f ball joint). Not bad for a 70-year-old! There are also 22 old MOTs charting the gradual accumulation of mileage from 20,630 in 1980 to today’s total of 73,718.
Other documents include an original owner’s maintenance manual and parts catalogue; period Alvis Three Litre sales brochure; Red Triangle parts catalogue and Blaupunkt Verona stereo instructions. A hood cover and tonneau are stored in the boot along with a wheel-changing kit; starter handle; new spare tyre and a new set of spark plugs. There are also two sets of keys and two spare radiator mascots, one a Grey Lady and the other a simple chrome cap.
As you can see in the photos, this is a lovely looking Alvis with just a few minor paint imperfections here and there. Carefully maintained by all five owners, it has been starting promptly and running beautifully as we have moved it around on site. All it needs now is an enthusiastic sixth keeper who can add their own chapter to its interesting life to date.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
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