Bonhams will be selling his car, a beautiful Alvis convertible.
Douglas Bader bought the TD21 drophead in 1961 when he was back working in the oil industry, his flying exploits – crashing, losing both legs, getting shot down in the Battle of Britain, being held in Colditz Castle – were well in the past.
He then lived in SW7 to where the new Alvis, with automatic transmission, was delivered by Brooklands of Bond Street. Bader kept the TD21 drophead, registration 27 CLF, until 1963 when he swapped it for a TE21 drophead. Obviously an Alvis fan.
And why not? As Bonhams says, the the Alvis was exactly the sort of car that would appeal to a fighter pilot. Based on a Graber design for the previous TC model, the 1959-introduced TD21 was built by Rolls-Royce’s in-house coachbuilder Park Ward. The car retained the torquey 3.0-litre six – for 120bhp and 100mph plus performance – but had improved handling, a roomier cabin and disc brakes. The Motor said at the time the car had “extra chic” and “should appeal to a select but important clientele”. It must have been quite a coup for them to have such a distinguished person driving one.
Douglas Bader’s car was restored in the 2000s and is a recent concours winner. With a guide price of £80-120,000, the Alvis comes with a history file that includes copies of original service sheets addressed to Douglas Bader.