The first production Alvis to be styled by Swiss carrossier Graber appeared at the Paris Motor Show in October 1955. Based on the existing TC21 Grey Lady chassis, the newcomer brought a much-needed injection of Continental style and modernity to the Coventry manufacturer's range. Lighter, stiffer and with a much smaller frontal area than the traditionally styled Grey Lady, the Graber Alvis enjoyed much improved handling and a higher maximum speed in excess of 100mph.
The first Graber-styled model - the TC108G - was built by coachbuilders Willowbrook, before production switched to Rolls-Royce's in-house coachbuilder Park Ward on the introduction of the re-styled TD21 for 1959. The TD21 retained Alvis's torquey, 3.0-litre, overhead-valve six, which in up-rated form now came with 120bhp courtesy of a redesigned cylinder head. Inside, there were improvements to the accommodation, with increased headroom and legroom, especially in the rear. Lockheed servo-assisted disc brakes were an option, becoming standardised for 1960. The Motor magazine summed up the TD21 thus: 'As a perfectly serviceable everyday car with extra "chic", extra performance, and high standards of comfort and safety, its appeal to a select but important clientele should be strong.'
This right-hand drive example has the desirable four-speed manual gearbox and is presently registered in the Netherlands where it has been used sparingly in recent years. The TD21 is finished in red with beige hood and cream interior and in generally good order throughout. The body is sound with good panels and fit. The paint is an older application and holding up well, as is the brightwork. The interior upholstery, trim and wood is also good and would respond well to cleaning and detailing. Although the underbonnet area would benefit from a steam clean the car is in good working order.
With most post-war cabriolets of British manufacture such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce beyond budget for many, the elegant Alvis TD21 convertible represents elegant and affordable four-up motoring for the family.