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Alvis TD 21 DHC

Alvis TD 21 DHC Published: 31st Aug 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Robert Couldwell’s Alvis isn’t as good as first thought but it’s coming along well

After my last running report the car was settling down nicely ready for some summer motoring. It wasn’t a great summer in 2017 but a gang of us escaped most Friday evenings to various pubs somewhere in the Sussex countryside. The posse included a Boxster, a Jaguar XK8 drophead and a little Mazda MX-5 (actually a Eunos). There were also monthly VSCC gatherings when a rather lovely Healey Tickford and a pristine MG TD joined the gang.

The run from the coast to the VSCC venue each month involves a fabulous drive across the South Downs followed by a high speed run on the A24 dual carriageway. Despite just 104bhp, the Alvis keeps up well enough with the traffic and happily cruises at 80mph on the extremely accurate speedometer.

These gatherings only last for two or three hours around lunch but are extremely convivial and involve a wonderful range of classics from little Box Sevens and Morris Eights to some extremely valuable Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and even a racing Riley; Alvis cars are always much in evidence. There is a hard core which seem to turn up on every event but there always seem to be cars previously unseen.

Come the end of summer, there were still jobs to do but nothing urgent so I left them until the annual autumn service and voluntary MoT.

The TC engine fitted to the first 25 TDs was not fitted with an external oil filter and at some time someone had usefully added a filter housing and oil pump to my car using some rather agricultural gas fittings to connect it. The joints were weeping quite noticeably and apart from wasting expensive oil, it was filling the drip tray underneath. So one of the jobs when the car was delivered to K and N, Jaguar XK and now Alvis specialists, was to improve the installation of this aftermarket pump/filter arrangement.

Fortunately, Keith Martin, the K in K and N is an engineer, not just a mechanic and was able to arrange for new fittings to be made. Another job was to improve the SU carburettor overflows which when I bought the car were just 4“stubs and any overflow would have dripped directly onto the manifold… I had jury-rigged a couple of plastic extension pipes as I didn’t feel confident enough to make a neat job of soldering copper pipes. Needless to say, Keith made short and beautifully executed work of the task and I now feel a lot safer!

My first objective when acquiring any ‘new’ classic is always reliability and as the Alvis was fitted with a dynamo, I decided an alternator was required and would certainly be necessary if power steering is ever fitted. I could not find an alternator kit specific to the TD21 but came across an alternator disguised as a dynamo which was a straight replacement. I have to say that Keith at K and N was not keen on the idea having had some issues with early types but as the one proposed came with a three year guarantee, we went ahead and it certainly looks the part and seems to work like it ought to!

Finding the pas funds

There has been no real progress on the power steering front so I am working on the worst case scenario – £4000 odd for Alvis, otherwise known as Red Triangle, to do the conversion. However, I don’t have that sort of money to lay out on this car so I am on an E bay ‘Bee’, turning out the garage and the loft and selling everything I don’t need. In the past I was a ‘collector’ and collected the most obscure objects, imagining they would all be worth huge sums of money at some time in the future. Judging by my sale prices that time hasn’t yet come… However, I have been surprised at the prices fetched for items which I would have thought worthless and suitable only for charity or the amenity tip. After six weeks I have netted £625 so there is some way to go but there is still a lot of stuff in the loft and I’m not giving up. Why don’t you try it?

One of the problems of owning a hand-built car from a company like Alvis, particularly an early one in the series, is it is not always possible to know exactly how details are supposed to be. For example, the door openings on my car are lined in aluminium but other TD21s I have seen have a rubber sill mat and neat stainless steel trim. Chris Prince, guru for Alvis parts new and used was able to supply the correct rubber matting and a couple of used stainless trims which cleaned up quite well.

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