Graber Alvis TS21, 1967

The people of Bern are renowned for saying little and talking slowly. So, despite being luxury coachbuilders – such as Carrosserie Graber from Wichtrach – you would hardly expect them to create eccentric designs. Yet the coach-built bodies produced here between 1926 and 1970 adorned the most coveted cars in the world and were characterised by their simple beauty and minimalist design.

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Particularly honoured to have its cars fitted with coaches built by the Central Swiss company was the upmarket Alvis Car and Engineering Company Ltd from Coventry, England. The years 1950 to 1970 saw some of the most stunning interpretations of Alvis cars emanate from Graber, with special features including the traditionally slim C-pillar, which made the roof structure appear to float.

The extent to which Graber played a hand in Alvis’s fate can be seen by the fact that the last models, the T21 series, were heavily influenced by Wichtrach. Hermann Graber’s ideas flowed not only into series production, but even more so into designing special bodies, which Graber coach-built up until his death in 1970.

The 1967 TF21 is the last of the line of Alvis models. To mark the end of a long-standing tradition dating back to 1920, the TF was once again fitted with spoked wheels and channelled all 4.80 metres of its power onto the road. Despite being designed in 1950, the good old six-cylinder in-line engine with hanging valves still managed to transmit 150 horsepower from its three-litre cylinder capacity to the crankshaft. But this is just as irrelevant as a theoretical top speed of 192 kph. The Graber Alvis TF21 marked the end of an era involving more building and less blathering.