Classic Cars - Allard J2

Sydney Allard

The Allard J2 and Allard J2X were the Caterham, or Lotus 7, of their day. Which is roughly the late forties, early fifties. They were hand-built cars fitted with large American V8s and they were ferociously quick for the time with 0-60mph coming up in under 8 seconds and a top speed of over 130mph.

Sydney Allard was a South London motor trader who started building specials for motor sport, and then after the Second World War he started to build road cars and did quite well. There was a distinct shortage of most things at the time. But as those shortages reduced and other manufacturers like Jaguar could gear up production and start to under-cut his hand-built car's prices so the number of cars Syd sold fell away and in 1955 he went out of business. Even doing well in the Monte Carlo Rally in one of his own Allard P1 saloons didn't help him.

An Allard P1

An 1948 Allard P1 Saloon seen at the Great West Road Run rally at Aust Services, Aust, Bristol, England.
An 1948 Allard P1 Saloon seen at the Great West Road Run rally at Aust Services, Aust, Bristol, England. | Source

The Allard J2 and J2X

Many of his cars came with the Ford flathead V8, or its more powerful 3.9-litre Mercury variant, but the Allard J2 and J2X had the later Cadillac OHV V8 under the hood. Less than 180 examples were built of the 180bhp monsters which offered little in the way of creature comforts, but did threaten to put laxative manufacturers out of business. Very fast in a straight line, but the handling and brakes had a reputation for being only average.

The Allard Motor Company now exists in Wales, with Alan Allard, Sydney's son running the business and concentrating on performance modifications usually involving turbochargers or superchargers. In fact, Alan Allard wrote a book on the subject, still seen as one of the leading technical handbooks on the subject.

Alan is also the President of the Allard Owners Club since his father's death in 1966.

One of the J2X cars that Sydney Allard used in the 1952 Le Mans was up for sale not long ago for $1,200,000. The cars seem to have strong following in America where a replica of the J2X is still manufactured.

Cruising in My Allard

Allard J2 Technical Specs

Engine: V8, 5420cc
Power: 180bhp
Brakes: Drum all around
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Suspension: All-independent
Top speed: 130mph
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 8 seconds

Jay Leno on the Allard J2

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