South Londoner Sydney Allard’s eponymous car marque was a true giant-killer during the 1950s and ’60s, with his lightweight V8-engined racers very likely inspiring one-time Allard driver Carroll Shelby’s legendary Shelby Cobra. But Allard didn’t just build blisteringly quick cars such as the J1 and J2. He raced them, too.
After starting with a Morgan three-wheeler in 1929 at the age of 19, he progressed to a series of Ford-based specials of his own design, with which he achieved competition success in everything from sand racing to trials, sprints and rallies.
By the time the Allard company went bust in 1958, its founder had become a hillclimb champion, won the Monte Carlo Rally at his first attempt and taken third place in a J2X at the 1950 Le Mans 24 Hours.
That latter achievement encouraged Allard to return to the La Sarthe circuit in 1953, this time at the wheel of one of his JR cars with short-term F1 driver Philip Fotheringham- Parker as co-driver.
The ‘works’ team briefly led the race after Allard blasted past the Jaguar C-type of Stirling Moss on the first run down the Mulsanne Straight. But glory was short-lived, as a rear suspension collapse signalled the end of the JR’s outing after fewer than four laps.
Once the Allard company shut down, few could have imagined that a new Allard would see the light of day – until 2016, when Sydney’s son Alan and grandson Lloyd set about producing a continuation JR carrying chassis number 3408, marking it out as the eighth example built.
Created from drawings and wooden bucks made more than 60 years earlier by Allard’s in-house designer Dudley Hume, the car features hand-crafted aluminium bodywork by Hampshire-based Historic Metalworks and a re-engineered 5.4-litre Cadillac V8 engine. Fed by an original Edmunds intake manifold and twin Carter carburettors, it produces around 285bhp to give the car a suitably Allard-worthy 0-60mph time of 5.2secs.
Purposely built to almost the exact specification of chassis 3402 – the car that ran at Le Mans – the continuation is therefore FIA accredited and eligible to race at events around the world (including, of course, the Le Mans Classic). The authenticity extends to numerous original Allard parts, including the Marles steering box, Vertex magneto, modified J2 axle, front spindles and hubs and Allard speedo and tachometer.
Alan and Lloyd Allard, who revived the firm as Allard Sports Car in 2012, plan to build further JRs, which will be designed to Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) regulations so they could be registered for road use.
For now, the only way to own a new Allard within the next week is to buy this one.
On sale at RM Sotheby’s, London, October 31.