1954 Alvis first owned by WW2 Fighter Pilot Ace Sir Douglas Bader

Going under the hammer at H&H Classics Auction at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford

18/08/2021     General News

This stunning 1954 Alvis TC21/100 Drophead Coupe was supplied new to Group Captain Douglas Bader, one of the RAFs most famous pilots whose fighting career made him a legend. The car will be sold by H&H Classics at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Wednesday, 8th September for an Estimate of £70,000 - £85,000.

Classic Alvis for sale H&H Classics Auction

The car is notable for being the first Alvis owned by Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, DL.

It has matching chassis and engine numbers and has been well maintained since undergoing an extensive restoration during 2010-2012. It has been a frequent and well-respected visitor to the Goodwood Revival for many years. It is one of just 81 TC21/100 chassis to wear Tickford Drophead Coupe coachwork.

The Alvis comes with extensive paperwork including works build sheets, owners handbook, sales brochure, period press articles and correspondence.

Damian Jones, Head of Sales at H&H Classics comments: “Whoever secures this wonderful car will own something quite unique, the very first Alvis bought by one of Britain’s legendary heroes.”

WW2 Pilot Sir Douglas Bader

He was a Battle of Britain pilot unlike any other. His determination in the face of adversity has led him to have a RAF legacy that will be known through the generations. The start of the Second World War spelt opportunity for Bader, who had been medically discharged from the RAF following a plane crash in late 1931.

He was credited with 22 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable and 11 enemy aircraft damaged.

Bader joined the RAF in 1928, and was commissioned in 1930. In December 1931, while attempting some aerobatics he crashed and lost both his legs. Having been on the brink of death, he recovered, retook flight training, passed his check flights and then requested reactivation as a pilot. Although there were no regulations applicable to his situation, he was retired against his will on medical grounds.

Classic Alvis for sale H&H Classics Auction September 8th

After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, however, Douglas Bader returned to the RAF and was accepted as a pilot. He scored his first victories over Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940. He then took part in the Battle of Britain and became a friend and supporter of Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory and his "Big Wing” experiments.

In August 1941, Bader baled out over German-occupied France and was captured. Bader made a number of escape attempts and was eventually sent to the prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle. He remained there until April 1945 when the camp was liberated by the First United States Army.

Bader left the RAF permanently in February 1946 and resumed his career in the oil industry. During the 1950s, a book and a film, Reach for the Sky, chronicled his life and RAF career to the end of the Second World War. The film stars Kenneth More and was directed by Lewis Gilbert. It won the BAFTA Award for Best British Film of 1956.

Bader campaigned for the disabled and in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1976 was appointed a Knight Bachelor "for services to disabled people". He continued to fly until ill health forced him to stop in 1979. Bader died, aged 72, on 5 September 1982, after a heart attack.

Classic Alvis Interior

View the full lot listing here.

Register to bid ahead of the auction here.