History of the 1963 - 1966 Alvis TE21
The Alvis TE21 was a two-door, four-seater coupe or two-door, four-seater convertible with a front engine and rear-wheel drive. It was made from 1963 to 1966 when it was superseded by the Alvis TF21, a car which has the distinction of the being the last of Alvis’ grand tourers.The TF21 was built from 1966 to 1967
The Alvis Three Litre Series III, more popularly known as the TE21, first appeared in late 1963 and it represented a refinement of its TD21 predecessor. As with the older model, there was a box-section chassis and a steel body with an aluminium boot, bonnet and roof made by Park Ward. There were independent front coil springs and wishbones with an anti-roll bar and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs with telescopic dampers and recirculating ball steering. Braking was by discs front and rear and the TE21 could be distinguished from the TD21 via its vertical dual headlamps and a new cylinder head that boosted the power output to 130 bhp. Wire wheels remained an optional extra.
Power steering became optional from late 1964 onwards and in March 1966 the TE21 was largely replaced by the Three Litre Series IV, commonly called the TF21, although the former Alvis remained available to special order. The Alvis TF21 boasted a new dashboard layout, upgraded suspension and a more potent engine with a raised compression ratio, three carburettors and 150 bhp on tap gave a top speed of over 120 mph. The last examples of the Alvis TF21 were made in 1967, a move much regretted by car enthusiasts around the world.
Power for the Alvis TE21 and TF21 was from a 2,993cc S6 OHV plant, with twin SU carburettors on the TE21 and triple SUs on the TF21. The transmission was an all-synchromesh five-speed ZF box with a Borg Warner three-speed automatic as an extra.
Be it a fixed-head or a drophead, the Alvis TE21 and TF21 have a distinction that is entirely their own. Every version is much sought after, particularly the soft tops. A TF21 in convertible guise can command especially high prices; a mere 106 TF21s were made and all but 20 were saloons. Power steering is regarded as a worthwhile fitting by many owners while all of these cars were made to the highest standards. The engines are known to overheat and their restoration can prove exceedingly expensive, as can repairs to the hide-trimmed cabin. The brake calipers can seize, the chassis should be inspected for corrosion and it can be very difficult to find parts for the ZF gearbox.
Alvis TE21 and TF21 rivals range from the Bentley S2 and S3 Continental and the Bristol 407 and 408, to the Jensen 541S and CV8.