Monday, October 10, 2011

The Allard J2

by Mike - 

Sydney Allard founded the Allard Motor Company in England in 1936. Allards usually used a large American V8 engine in a small, light British sports car chassis and body, giving a high power-to-weight ratio preceding the better known AC Cobra.

The first Allard used a Ford flathead V8 in a body that was primarily a Bugatti racing car.

Specially ordered Allards used a variety of large Ford engines, including Lincoln Zephyr V12s. By 1939, the beginning of WWII, twelve Allard Specials had been built. Sydney Allard was planning to go into volume production, but the war interrupted his plans.

Allard's company worked instead on Ford powered trucks during the war, and when the war ended Allard had accumulated a large inventory of Ford parts.

Using these Ford parts, and bodywork of Allard's own design, three postwar models were introduced: the J, a racecar sports car; the K, a larger car intended for street driving, and the L, a family car with four seats. All used primarily Ford components allowing for easy maintenance.  Sales volume was reasonably good, and Allard introduced additional, larger models, the M and N.

Sydney Allard realized the potential of the market in the United States where the people had money to spend on cars and there were few sports cars to buy after World War II.

Allard created a model targeted for the American market, the J2, fitted with a new independent rear suspension. They were available with a variety of different American engines, including a new Cadillac V8, which was much more powerful than the Ford engines.

Allard soon realized that the best approach to this market was to ship a rolling chassis to the United States and have the engine installed locally. This proved to be very successful, and the American components made it much easier for service and parts sourcing for Allard’s customers.

Allard produced approximately 1,900 cars until the company shut down in 1966.

The model shown here is a 1955 J2R and was photographed at the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue in August 2011.

The Allard story is one of the chapters in my book European Style with American Muscle.

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