While attention has tended to concentrate on Prince Charles’s DB6 Volante, it’s sometimes forgotten that his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, is also a connoisseur of British cars. And his choice? An Alvis.
The Duke’s 1961 Alvis TD21 DHC SII was exhibited at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year as part of the Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance. This later model, a 1964 TE21, is for sale at Classic Driver dealer Altena Classic Service in Holland.
Only 300 or so of the later series of ‘TE’ Alvises were built in coupé and drophead coupé forms (compared with around 1000 TDs in total) and the model itself was to last only until 1967, when the final TF21 was produced.
The purchase of an Alvis said a lot about the buyer. The car was not slow (the 130bhp straight-six would propel it above 100mph with relative ease), yet it did not shout ‘performance’, ‘money’ or ‘extravagance’.
If a 1960s Ferrari was a car for an international playboy or industrial magnate and an Aston or Bentley suited a British sportsman or captain of industry, an Alvis was simply ‘fit for a prince’: in this case, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.