Fancy a ‘recreation’ with a difference? Then how about this frankly fabulous Allard J2X MkII that originally cost £125,000 and was built in 2003 –a full 49 years after the last of the original 83 J2Xs left the factory?
London-born Sydney Allard was a natural engineer whose love of motor cars led him to start racing a Morgan three-wheeler in 1929 at the age of 19 (it was later converted to four), before progressing 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.
During the war, Allard ran a repair shop that specialised in renovating Ford Army vehicles, a business that thrived and resulted in him employing more than 200 people – but his real love always lay with building high-performance cars, usually by combining powerful large-capacity engines with lightweight chassis in a formula that would later be adopted by Carroll Shelby, a onetime Allard racer who went on to create the celebrated Shelby Cobra.
With time on his hands post-war, Allard set about using his large supply of leftover Ford parts to develop a two-seater sports car with a box-section chassis, transverse leaf springs, distinctive, open bodywork – and, of course, a punchy, American V8 engine. His first effort, the J1, built from 1946-47, was made available as a pure competition car or as a two- or four-seat tourer, with the former variant being offered only to people who would campaign it and, therefore, demonstrate the performance that put Allards among the fastest-accelerating cars of their day.
The J1 evolved into the even more competition-orientated J2 in 1950, but eight years later the Allard Motor Company went bust. Allard died in April 1966 at his home in Sussex – eerily enough on the very night that arsonists set fire to the dormant Allard factory in London’s Clapham.
In keeping with Allard’s V8 tradition, the Canadian-built MkII runs a 350bhp GM RamJet driving through a five-speed manual, overdrive gearbox. Modern race-specification brakes ensure it stops as swiftly as it goes and – to accommodate today’s sometimes larger, more safety conscious motorists – the glassfibre body features a cockpit that’s been extended by four inches and placed over an energy-absorbing chassis with impact bars and rollover hoops.
Modern suspension and steering also make the car easier to handle than the original version, while a surprisingly generous amount of luggage space and that beautifully trimmed interior mean it’s a viable proposition for a bit of touring.
It could be described as a more practical, thinking man’s alternative to an AC Cobra.
2003 Allard J2X MkII
On sale with Hexagon Classics, London N2, hexagonclassics.com