Allard L-Type

Allard L-Type

Total Production: 191 1946 - 1950
'The new Allard', said The Autocar in February 1946, 'has changed its sporting tweeds for a lounge suit.' There were other changes. Allards were no longer specials, for their builders had taken on a new identity. The Allard Motor Company, formed in 1945, now operated from a kind of factory in South Hill Park, Clapham, and a whole collection of workshops around South and West London. On the strength of a stockpile of Ford V8 engines and parts built up during the war years Sydney Allard launched into full-scale production of a range of aggressively styled modern looking touring cars while most British car manufacturers were still planning theirs. It hardly mattered that they were mostly Ford; in the car-starved Britian of the 1940's there was soon a waiting list for the Allard. The formula was very much as it had been in the 1930's only now the Ford Pilot V8 engine was installed well back in a chassis frame of Allard's own devising. Helped by the excellent Marles steering and that rearward weight bias, the handling was considered to be excellent. The independent front suspension, for all its simplicity, was seen as thoroughly up-to-date. There was power and acceleration in abundance and the 'long' rear axle ratio of 3.6:1 used at first gave these tourers an easy gait up to a maximum of around 85 mph. After the chassis destined to become L-Type open tourers were built in South Hill Park, they were towed across London to the Hilton Brothers' workshops in Fulham where the hand-crafted, ash-framed, coachbuilt bodies were installed. By the standards of the time, they provided roomy accommodation for four people in comfortable leather-trimmed seats. They were fully carpeted and the hood and removable sidescreens were practicable and weatherproof, although a sports-type fold-flat windscreen was also provided. The L-Type remained in production from late 1946 to 1950, during which time 100 were built.During the 1940's and 1950's, the name Allard was a highly esteemed motor manufacturer. Some of the world's most influential people were the proud owners of an Allard automobile including Carroll Shelby, Clark Gable, Richard Dimberley, John Fitch, Jack Fairman and Frank Curtis. On the racetrack, racing Allard version were incredibly fierce competitors. Sydney Allard, the company's founder, won the British Hill-climb Championship in 1949 and the challenging Monte Caro Rally in 1952 and became one of Britain's leading competition drivers. The Allard Motor Company Limited was a British company founded in 1945 operating in south London.

While most British car manufacturers were merely in the developmental stage following the war years, Sydney Allard was launching a full-scale production of an aggressively styled modern range of touring vehicles. Mostly Ford V8 engines and parts, the Allard Company progressed from special-builder to motor manufacturer. Using a similar formula from the 1930's, the Ford Pilot V8 engine was now installed far back in a chassis frame of Allard's own planning. Handling was excellent thanks to a superb Marles steering wheel and rearward weight bias. The independent front suspension was thoroughly modern and impressive power and acceleration along with the long rear axle ratio of 3.6:1 brought the car up to a top of speed around 85 mph.

Introduced late in 1946, the L-Type open tourers chassis was constructed in South Hill Park. They were then transported across London to the Hilton Brothers' workshop in Fulham where the ash-framed, handcrafted, coachbuilt bodies were fitted. The L-Type tourer was incredibly roomy for up to four people and provided a comfortable ride on leather-trimmed seats. The interior of the car was fully carpeted while the hood and removable side screens were weatherproof. A sports-type fold-flat windscreen was also provided.

The L-Type utilized Allard's trademark independently suspended split front axle and transverse-lead rear end in a chassis that was 6 inches longer than the contemporary K-type. The extra length was put to good use in the rear accommodating the two passenger seats. The L-Type used Ford/Mercury components that were incredibly easy to acquire from Ford in the UK, much like the majority of production Allards. The L-Type was available with a choice of the 3,622cc Ford V8 engine or the modified 4,375cc Mercury engine.

Godfrey Imhof was a close friend of Sydney Allard, and was responsible for the bodywork design of the L-Type. He also undertook the design of the two-seater roadster K1 and the short-chassis J1 two-seater. Imhof managed to create a flowing line in the design of the sports tourer and saloons, but was able to keep a masculine ruggedness in the design of the competitive sports models. The L1 had a wheelbase of 9 feet 4 inches and utilized the 95 bhp engine. The bodywork of the automobile was made of aluminum and formed an appealing 'wind cheating' shape that aided in the acceleration.

During its production span a total of 191 L-Types were manufactured from 1946 through 1948. Today only 19 units remain, with only seven found in the United States.


By Jessica Donaldson