First published in the January 2013 PEDC newsletter
The Allard J2X was a car designed for high performance throughout. Only 83 were ever built. It has a rugged rail frame supporting a very spartan light aluminum body and a semi-independent suspension system. It utilizes a deDion rear-end arrangement and a split-beam front axle. High-performance Alfin-manufactured aluminum brakes are employed inboard on either side of the differential in the rear and are oversized on all four wheels.
The Allard J types were offered with several different engines, but the most successful ones in international racing were powered by the Cadillac 331, usually modified to a high-performance status. Three-speed Lincoln transmissions were also usually installed. The result was a car that weighed only a few pounds over one ton with up to 300 horsepower. Needless to say this was a truly dazzling performance combination for any cars of that early 1950s era. These machines were great race winners back when they were introduced and played a dominant role in the sports car racing scene up to the mid-1950s.
It seems that I acquire an Allard J2X about every 50 years! I purchased my first one (#3147) new early in 1953 and used it exclusively for about a year and a half before regretfully selling it upon entering pilot training in the USAF late in 1954. During that time I developed a great affection for the car, which I used as my only transportation and also raced at several national Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events, including the Watkins Glen Grand Prix in the autumn of 1953. In the intervening years of family and career building I always held hopes of someday purchasing another Allard.
That happy event occurred in 2001 when I was able to buy my current Allard J2X (#3077). This machine had left the factory in October of 1952 and was shipped to a California dealer. It was equipped with the usual Cadillac 331 engine with a three-speed Lincoln transmission. It is believed to have been raced locally in California, and its first known owner was “Tiny” Gould in 1975. It later passed through the Don Marsh Collection and then traveled back home to the UK in the late 1980s where it was club raced and featured in an article in Classic & Sportscar magazine.
Since purchasing the car, I have driven it some 26,000 miles around the country. It has always been driven in the same configuration it has been shown in, that is, without a top or windshield. In many ways driving the car over long distances is more like motorcycling than automobile touring. One’s greatest wish in summer trips is for the presence of light rain as that helps defray the considerable heat one is exposed to from the floor/firewall, the hot transmission at one’s side, the relentless wind, and the sun. It’s all worth it, however, for the fun that motoring in the car always is.
The machine is astonishingly fast with acceleration performance that is remarkable at any speed. One must throttle the car gingerly when passing, for example, as traction is easily lost with throttle bursts, even at speeds exceeding the very high ones encountered on our Western interstates.
In #3077 I have made round trips to Florida, Texas, and twice to the West Coast and have participated in three 1000-mile rally tours, including the wonderful Colorado Grand, which is considered the finest invitational classic car tour event available in the United States. The car has also been shown two times at the Amelia Island Concours and numerous local shows, including the annual PEDC shows in Spring Lake Heights and Ocean Grove. It has also appeared twice at the Monmouth County Concours and the Pittsburgh Concours among several others. It has received numerous prizes at these events and always seems to attract interested and interesting viewers.