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TD21 Description

TD21 srs I DHC

Although not described as the Series I the TD21 was shown for the first time at the 1958 Motor Show. The TD21 was a further refinement of the Graber body style optimised for mass production. Mulliner Park Ward or MPW, the name by which the TD, TE and TF are frequently referred to, had the tooling and staff capable of producing the bodies in numbers that met demand. The individual bodies being mated with chassis driven down from Coventry, before being returned back to Coventry for final inspection.

The changes made not only reduced the cost of production,but increased the internal passenger space; the earlier bodies having been criticised for limited rear passenger leg and head room.

The opportunity was also taken to upgrade the cars mechanicals. The long running gearbox installed in nearly all cars up to the TD21, a derivative of that used in the 1937 12/70, was dropped in favour of an Austin gearbox similar to that used in the Austin Healey.

This opened up the possibility of an automatic gearbox, which had been something requested for some time.

TD21 srs I Saloon

A new head, which raised the compression ratio to 8.4:1 gave the car 115 bhp at the fly wheel. To match this the brakes were changed for Lockheed discs on the front.

Alvis were the Masters of Production Engineering and as a result, the first cars featured the new body work but not the mechanical changes and were essentially to the same spec as the TC108G cars.

During the production runs, changes were subtle and typical of low volume production cars. An example being the early doors were steel over wood and these were replaced with doors of aluminium construction to save weight. As with any coach built car, Alvis could and did entertain requests from buyers, the most obvious of which is the way that the Duke of Edinburgh’s car features a taller windscreen and a hydraulically operated roof. The car was received well by the press and buyers, with some 784 cars being produced between 1958 and 1962, including 34 for Hermann Graber, which was twice the number dispatched for the TC108G. But this was a period of sharp competition and Alvis could not afford to stand still, resulting in the development and production of the TD21 Srs II from 1962 onwards.

Jonathan Huggett

TD21 Model Secretary

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