These custom built flyers were the brainchild of South London car trader Sydney Allard, who produced an extraordinary assortment of innovative vehicles, manufacturing around 1,900 cars between 1936 and 1954. Of those fewer than 180 were the Allard company’s most sensational machines-the brilliant J2 (90 built) and J2X (83 built) competition roadsters.
These wore the final fruit, of Allard’s prewar experiences building one-off cars for customers who wished to compete in trials events. Sydney Allard found that American V8 engines with massive torque were ideal for the rugged terrain encountered when trialing, selling a pattern for his postwar racing cars, the J2 and J2X.
The J2 was but one model launched by Allard after World War II (he also introduced the J, K, L, M and N road cars) – but proved to be the headliner. The American sports car market was wide open, and Allard’s advanced J2 chassis with independent suspension (available as the J2X with a special enclosed LeMans body) was designed to take a succession of powerful American V8 engines, creating a high power-to-weight ratio that generated sensational performance. This not only made J2s potent competition cars, but also endeared them to American racers whose mechanics could work with familiar home-grown power plants rather than exotic European imports.
Success duly followed on both sides of the Atlantic, with many race wins recorded. A commendable third place in the 1950 Le Mans 24 was followed by a win in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, with Sydney Allard driving. But other manufacturers with more resources copied his cars and by the mid-1950s Allard’s presence as a manufacturer effectively ended. Find one of the surviving J2/J2Xs if you can, because the effort will be worthwhile – driving one of these awesome machines just once in a lifetime should be every classic- car racer’s dream.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1949 (until 1954)
Assorted American Ford V8s 3.6 l (220 cid) to 5.4 l (331 cid)
Top speed varied according to the engine, but was typically around 120 mph (193 km/h); 0-60 mph (97km/h) in 7.4 secs.
YOU SHOULD KNOW: One American driver who raced an Allard was Carroll Shelby, who subsequently used the formula of light British sports car body teamed with beefy American engine to create the iconic AC Cobra.