Using a crashed Ford V8 coupe on to which he had grafted the body from a Grand Prix Bugatti, Sydney Allard constructed one of the most unlikely of all pre-war trials specials. However, the Allard Special's lightweight construction and relatively powerful American V8 engine, although not the first such combination, demonstrated the formula's potential and provided the inspiration for future imitators including Carroll Shelby, who acknowledged Allard's influence on the Cobra.
After WW2, Allard progressed from specials-builder to motor manufacturer, though the latter activity was really little more than a means of financing the company's competition programme. Despite its small size and limited resources, Allard's achievements were legion in the immediate post-war years, Sydney himself finishing 3rd at the 1950 Le Mans in a J2 sports-racer and winning the Monte Carlo Rally outright in a P1 saloon. Allard's 3rd place at Le Mans should not be underestimated, for he and co-driver Tom Cole had been lying 2nd ahead of works Aston Martins, Ferraris and Jaguars when the bottom two gears of the three-speed gearbox broke. Such was the flexibility of the American V8 that they were able to continue to a class-winning finish using only top gear.
Introduced in 1950, the competition-orientated J2 two-seater employed Allard's trademark independently suspended 'split' front axle and a De Dion rear end with inboard brakes. Like the vast majority of production Allards, the J2 used Ford/Mercury components, these being readily obtainable from Ford in the UK. However, importing engines, such as Cadillac's powerful new overhead-valve V8, into Britain was prohibitively expensive so it was not unusual for cars exported to the USA to be fitted with the customer's choice of engine on arrival. With one of the larger of these installed the Allard J2 was more than a match for any contemporary sports car in a straight line, Jaguar's XK120 included. The majority of J2s produced ended up in the USA where they were raced with considerable success, dominating SCCA events.
A relatively rare, right-hand drive example, chassis number '1570' was delivered new shortly after the model's introduction in 1950 via Tate of Leeds to Messrs Maurice Wild and T 'Cuth' Harrison. Fitted with a Cadillac engine, the Allard was driven at venues including Gamston, Croft, Shelsley Walsh and that year's TT at Dundrod in Northern Ireland. In 1951 the J2 was sold to Norman Woolhouse of Barlow near Sheffield, who continued to compete with it. In 1963 Woolhouse sold the Allard to Arnold Welton, who had begun stripping the car before giving up and selling it a few weeks later to Malcolm Dungworth.
Acquired in December 1963, the Allard was stripped, rebuilt and repainted Royal Blue in time for the Harewood hill climb on 12th April 1964. A 5th place was followed up by a 6th at the 24th April Harewood meeting and then a 1st on July 12th. Dungworth's best time of 56.2 seconds was set at the 12/13th September meeting, prior to which the Allard had won its class at Shelsley in July. The season ended prematurely when the gearbox broke at the Church Fenton Drag Festival in September. Various period photographs showing the car in action are contained within the history file.
'MWE 254' was back on the road in early December, but with Dungworth offered a works-backed drive by TVR for 1965, the Allard was put up for sale (see correspondence on file). In February 1965 the car was sold to Paul Hope of Eccles, Lancashire. During Hope's ownership the original engine blew up and was removed, and the car then had various other power units including Jaguar. A Ford V8 had been installed by the time the car was exported to the USA.
The Allard subsequently passed through the hands of dealer Brian Classic and in 1987 was sold to Nick Mason's 'Ten Tenths' collection. In 1995 Nick Mason sold the car to racing driver/motor dealer Frank Sytner. Later that same year it was offered for sale at auction and purchased by the current owner. Currently fitted with a Ford V8 engine and an Alvis gearbox, the car is said to be running well.
Reliable, easy to maintain and delivering plenty of 'grunt', this charismatic Anglo-American sports-racer is offered with sundry invoices, current MoT and UK V5 registration document, and comes ready to participate in a wide variety of historic motor sport events.