The J2 Allard is best described as a sports car that feels like a free motorbike. Although it looks like a car, many have testified that it gives you the feeling that you’re driving a motorcycle that is close to the road and feeling the wind on your face. Carroll Shelby used to drive a J2 Allard and where he got the inspiration for the AC Cobra. Zora Duntov, Chevrolet Corvette’s creator, was also inspired by the J2 Allard.
In 1945, Sydney Allard tried to venture into manufacturing sports cars. Sydney Allard’s company was based in London. Allard was already designing sports cars before the war was over, most of his early designs were based on the Bugatti and his prototypes were built using parts from an old Bugatti. Allard’s designs had a great start and continued to be a success after the war.
After the war, the market for sports cars in the US grew. This is probably due to the influence brought by American airmen that spent a lot of time in Britain and were exposed to the joys of sports cars. Several American airmen even brought their sports cars home and the market for the sports car in America was born. The market grew larger as the 1940s came to an end, especially after the Jaguar XK120 was introduced in 1948 which certainly got the attention of the automobile industries in Britain as the XK120 was originally designed by Sir William Lyons to be a show car. They were really surprised when the public was very willing to spend money on these sports cars, this put the Jaguar’s show car into full production. Sydney Allard saw the opportunity and built a sports car with an aluminum body mounted on a lightweight chassis and is powered by a large American V8 engine which proved to be a very successful design.
By 1950, Sydney Allard competed his J2 Allard in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and although the 3-speed gearbox lost its 1st and 2nd gears, Allard was still able to place 3rd. Allard efforts were greatly rewarded.
In 1950, the J2 Allard was usually powered by either a 3.6 L side-valve V8 that powered the Ford Pilot which produced 86 horsepower, or the 4.4 L Mercury V8 that produce 110 horsepower. Many saw the potential of the J2’s design and soon enough, many started to use more powerful engines on the J2. Eventually, the J2s were sold as body kits with no engines so that the owner has the freedom to choose any engine they want and as expected, many were very creative in the engines they used.
This J2 Allard with chassis #J2121 comes in British Racing Green finish and was built on August 24, 1951. It had a Mercury Flathead V8 that was modified by Ardun, it was then sold on March 28, 1952, to its first owner. In 1963, it was passed down to Gerry Belton, former manager of Allard Promotions, who did some work on it that includes the reworked upholstery by the same person who worked with it at the factory.
In 1968, this J2 was then purchased by Bob Judd, an American Allard fan, who lived in London during that time. Bob wanted to add more power to the J2 by replacing the old engine with a modern V8 but he also wanted to preserve its authenticity. Confused, Bob went to ask the men who originally built the J2 if it’s ok to install a Shelby Cobra 289 Hi-Po V8 into the car. They said that if the 289 will make the J2 faster then there is no reason that he should not do it, Sydney Allard would never pass on the opportunity to make his creations faster so Bob should do the same and he did.
The upgraded J2 Allard had the same performance of a standard Shelby Cobra as they have the same power to weight ratio. The exhaust pipes are located bellow the passenger’s side which gives a full filling tune that is known as “Wagnerian”.
This J2 Allard will be auctioned at the Quail Lodge auction by Bonhams at Quail Lodge’s West Field, 7000 Valley Greens Drive, Carmel, California this August 19.
This J2’s original tool kit and several documents will be included. A very exciting classic sports car that will surely be a great addition to any collection.
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