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Collector Car News

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1950 allard j2 roadster

An excellent example of a successful Anglo-American hybrid, the J2 Allard offered incredible performance for the period at a moderate cost. As a result, they were very popular in US and European racing and their list of competition successes is most impressive, including first-place finishes at Sebring, Bridgehampton and other race courses throughout America. During the production run of 1950-51 a total of 99 examples were built. Ideal for the now popular runs and rallies throughout this country and Europe, a well-turned-out J2 is equally at home on the show field.

The long-nosed competition-style J2 featured Allard's well-known split I-beam axle on the front end, attached to coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers. A three-section track rod and two idler arms were attached to the back of the split axle, while radius arms located the axle beams. At the back, a de Dion axle assembly was attached to coils and telescopic shocks. Power was delivered by a Ford-sourced torque tube.

The first J2s were powered by hopped-up Mercury flathead V8s, but as their racing successes grew so did the racer's need for speed. Before production ended, these cars were carrying not only Ardun OHV-equipped flatheads, but fire-breathing V8 Cadillacs and Chrysler's new powerhouse Hemi V8s as well.

The J2 chassis had exceptionally deep side members connected by four large-diameter tubes. Besides these tubes, the transmission had additional bracing. The bodies on J2s were made of lightweight aluminum attached by quick-release fasteners and small bolts, making it very easy to strip the car for mechanical work or testing purposes. Some models meant for strict competition work with big V8s were delivered with 40-gallon fuel tanks. It's easy to tell a large-tank car as the spare tire is mounted between the front fender and the cockpit rather than at the tail.

This car was delivered to Moss Motors in California on April 24, 1950. It is equipped with a 331-cubic-inch Cadillac V8 developing 300 bhp, thanks in part to a high-performance camshaft and triple two-barrel carburetors. Polished stainless steel side pipes complete the mechanical picture of this car, which was fully restored in 1998 as a road-going sports car rather than an out-and-out racing car. It is in superb condition and was a prize winner at Pebble Beach in 1999.

{analysis}{auto}275{/auto} This car sold for $97,200, including buyer's premium, at Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale sale, held January 20, 2002.

Take a good, close look at an Allard, especially the J-series cars like this one and the even hairier J2X models, and you'll see why they've earned the nickname of "The Blacksmith's Revenge."

Depending more on the hot rodder's approach of sheer horsepower derived from cubic inches rather than sophisticated tweaking of smaller-displacement powerplants, the Allard Js, like the Cobras to follow, owe more to American than European influence in their startling performance abilities.

The handling of these cars has always been controversial, like that of early Porsches. It's said that once you learn the quirks of the split-axle front end, you can make an Allard perform around curves and corners as well as any serious competitor. And even if you can't lead through the corner, you're dead certain to nip the other guy down the straight, thanks to the Allard's stupendous power-to-weight ratio.

Indeed, until the arrival of more powerful and sophisticated machinery from Jaguar, Ferrari and Maserati, the Allard J2s and J2Xs were the cars to beat. They offered more bang for the racer's buck than any other big sports/racing car of the time-and at a price that wasn't nearly as dear in terms of purchase and maintenance of the aforementioned exotica.

Today, Allard J2s enjoy a steady demand among vintage sports car racers and collectors. A few years ago, when Allard was the featured marque at the Monterey Historics, the cars went through a dramatic price spike. Now market levels have eased to more rational positions.

This car appeared to be, as the description said, a road-ready example that's also competitive on the show circuit. It could also be turned into a pretty nasty vintage racer with a minimum of work, if that's your thing.

The price Barrett-Jackson fetched for this car was fair and indeed looks rather cheap when compared to contemporary 1950s rivals wearing prancing horses or tridents on their badges. One thing's nearly as certain as taxes. When one of those Italian beauties, with its gorgeous shape and high-strung engine, pulls up beside an Allard at a traffic light or a start line, the old cycle-fendered beast from suburban London with its American heart will smoke it without even having to break into a mechanical sweat.-Dave Brownell{/analysis}

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