1953 Allard JR Le Mans Roadster

• Estimated 350-hp, 365-ci Cadillac overhead valve V8 engine with dual four-barrel carburetors, 4-speed manual transmission, semi-independent front suspension with split axle, rear De Dion axle with coil springs and tubular shock absorbers, and Lockheed four-wheel hydraulic brakes 

• One of only seven Allard JRs built

• One of two factory entries to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1953

• Driven 145.35 mph by Zora Arkus-Duntov down the Mulsanne Straight

Beautiful or brutal — take your choice — these Allards were the epitome of early 1950s sports-car design, with their slim alloy bodywork, cycle fenders, flashy knockoff mounted wire wheels and huge powerplants. Cornering at speed was a challenge as a result of Sydney Allard’s affection for a semi-independent front suspension.

Allard’s J2X cycle-fendered sports cars looked both brutal and beautiful, but Sydney knew they were aerodynamically disadvantaged on longer circuits such as Le Mans. Accordingly, the new envelope-bodied and streamlined JR model was introduced for 1953. These were essentially mechanically identical to the J2X, although seriously modified for circuit racing. Only seven JRs were built, with two cars serving as factory entries at the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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