If hot rods had been invented in England, Sidney Herbert Allard would have been their originator. In 1936 he built a successful trials machine from Ford and Bugatti parts. His 1949 National British Hill Climb Championship came in a loud and fearsome special with four rear wheels powered by a war-surplus V8 Steyr tank engine.
The first postwar production models of the Allard Motor Company, founded in 1946, featured American Ford flathead V8s, more often than not fitted with Zora Arkus-Duntov’s Ardun speed parts such as intake manifolds and cylinder heads. By the early 1950s, large American OHV V8s like Cadillac and Chrysler Hemis became available. In true hot rod fashion, Sidney wasted no time shoehorning these into his J2 and J2-X sports racing models.
The first Cadillac engine obtained from the US was immediately installed into Allard’s own J2 racing car that was entered in the 1950 Tour of Sicily and, in the same year, the 24 hours of Le Mans, where Allard finished third overall.
The J2 and J2-X Allard models were also extensively raced in the US in the early 1950s, scoring road racing victories in the hands of such legends as Tom Cole, Erwin Goldschmidt and Fred Wacker over the latest Ferraris and Jaguars.
Handling and braking deficiencies notwithstanding, Allards scored major overall race results at Le Mans, Monte Carlo, Watkins Glen, Pebble Beach and Sebring, where the J2s finished first and second in 1950. Obviously the American hot rod idiom “There is no substitute for cubic inches” was embraced by Sidney Allard.
The Allard J2-X pictured here was originally purchased by two GM engineers who installed a water-cooled three-speed HydraMatic transmission. In its British Racing Green paintwork, this Allard truly embodies all of the best attributes of an early 1950s British roadster.
The fact that this Allard is a true dual-purpose street car and track racer was recently proven when Dan Marsh won his race in it at Laguna Seca, drove the car to Pebble Beach, and was awarded the prestigious Monterey Cup.