Allard J2 and J2X
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
was a motor trader from London who liked to go racing, and to compete in trials. In 1936 he built the very first Allard
Special, which was based on a Ford V8 chassis and running gear, but which also used part of a GP Bugatti's body shell!
He then went on to build another 11 Specials before the outbreak of war, all Ford based, with V8, or Lincoln Zephyr V12 engines. After the war, while the family retained its Ford dealership, Allard
set up the Allard Motor Co
., to build cars, announcing his first models in 1946. These used side-valve Ford V8 engines and transmissions
, special chassis, and split-beam independent front suspension
with transverse leaf springs.
The original competition two-seater was the J1, and this was replaced by the legendary J2 in 1950; this latter iteration was manufactured with an aluminium body, separate cycle-type wings, a ladder-style frame, coil spring independent front suspension
, and a De Dion rear end.
The J2 boasted an impressive top speed of 110 mph, helped in the main by its fitment of a 160bhp Cadillac
V8s power plant, although Allard allowed a variety of different engines to be fitted. Most cars sold in Britain used an ex-military 4.4 litre Mercury
V8, some with Ardun overhead-valve conversion cylinder heads
, which had been designed by Zora Arkus Duntov.
It was with the Cadillac
engine fitted that Allard
himself, co-driven by Tom Cole, took third place at Le Mans in 1950
, and Allards of this, and the later J2X type (1951
), won hundreds of races in North America during the 1950’s. “X”, in this context, referred to the new design of tubular chassis frame applied to all Allard
cars from 1952
It was probably Allard
who started the tradition of exporting cars to the USA without engines or transmissions
, for enthusiasts to fit themselves. From 1953
(in spite of a Monte Carlo win for the intrepid Sydney Allard
), Allard's sales fell away as export competition from cars like the Jaguar XK120s became too fierce.
The less sporting models, such as K, M and P types were simply not fast enough, and the K3 Tourer was not sporting enough. Allard
tried to boost sales by going “down-market” with the Palm Beach models, which were smaller smoother-styled, and with British Ford four-cylinder or six-cylinder engines, but these were commercial failures. So too was an attempt to sell Allard’s with twin-cam Jaguar engines, and the last cars of all were built in 1959
himself was a great European drag racing enthusiast, and later dabbled rather successfully in the tuning-up of small Ford models. Sydney Allard passed away in 1966