1952 Allard J2X LeMans

1952 Allard J2X LeMans 1952 Allard J2X LeMans 1952 Allard J2X LeMans Roadster
Chassis #: J-3055
The Allard J2 was introduced in 1950. It had a DeDion rear axle with coil springs and located by radius arms. There were 90 examples made with most being sent to the United States as rolling chassis where they were equipped with Oldsmobile and Cadillac engines. At the 1950 24 Hours of LeMans, a J2 Works Car was entered and miraculously finished in third place after it has lost every gear except the top.

In 1952 the Allard was re-chassied and named the J2X. The chassis had small-diameter tubes that were stiffened by sheet skinning. In the rear was the DeDion setup similar to the J2.

The FIA, the international governing body of motor sport, in Paris, France announced new racing regulations for the 1952 season that prohibited mudguards or fenders. All cars were to have enveloping bodies that fully covered the wheels. To comply with the rules, a new Allard body was created from aluminum by the Encons body shop. When finished, it was dubbed the J2X LeMans. A second car followed and sold to customer Frank Curtis. Both cars were equipped with Chrysler V8 engines and both were ready in time to contest the Silverstone production sports car race, held on May 10th of 1952. One of the cars finished 3rd behind Stirling Moss's Jaguar and Ken Wharton's Healey. The car was entered in the sports car race but failed to finish due to mechanical troubles. The car driven by Frank Curtis also DNF'ed after it spun off the course.

After the cars inaugural debut at Silverstone, which served as a great test session for the cars, they were made ready for the 24 Hour of LeMans race. Both cars were given a four-speed gearbox with close ratios. Frank Curtis was paired with Arkus Duntov, the individual who would later become know as the father of the Corvette. Syd Allard was paired with Jack Fairman in car bearing registration MXF969, the example shown. MXF was driven from London via cross-Channel ferry to LeMans.

When the flag fell signaling the start of the race, it was Fairman who was behind the wheel of MXF. Duntov was in the Curtis-owned car. Fairman drove until 7pm before passing the duties over to Sydney Allard. Duntov had run into problems; his car experienced brake failure at the end of the Mulsanne Straight. His car was damaged and 56 minutes were lost while trying to recover and repair it.

Allard drove MXF until 10pm. His lap times had been very consistent, at just over 5 minutes. They slowed as the hours grew later, due to developing mist which limited visibility. At 10pm, MXF was in 8th overall and the Curtis car was in 26th.

Fairman drove the car until 1am Sunday morning, having completed 103 laps. He had a three-lap lead over the ninth-placed car when duties were passed to Syd Allard. Allard drove until 4am and was now sitting in the 6th overall position. Curtis was in the 18th position.

MXF was brought back into the pits around 5am with reports that the engine did not seem to be running correctly. Allard drove it for a short time but was forced back into the pits when the engine began giving serious problems. The car had been driven for 13 hours and averaged over 92 mph. Its day at LeMans had ended.

The Curtis car completed 134 laps before a broken axle-shaft sidelined its attempts.

MXF was then sold to an American who has kept the car until the present time. In 2007 it was brought to the Bonhams Auction, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia, held at the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club in Carmel, California. The lot was estimated to sell for $850,000 - $950,000. It has seen very little use since it LeMans days; sadly, this car failed to sell at auction.

This car is nearly identical to its days at LeMans. Sometime during the 1954 or 1955 year the gearbox was replaced with a Borg Warner T10 transmission. The initial Chrysler V8 engine that was used at LeMans was replaced around 1953 with a Cadillac V8 unit.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
In 1929 Sydney Herbert Allard began working in the Adlards Motors garage, an official Ford dealer, preparing racers for international motor racing. His Allard Specials quickly proved their potential and Allards reputation began to build. After racing motorcycles and three-wheeled Morgan's, he began racing four-wheeled vehicles. During World War II, the Allard Motor Company repaired military vehicles. Though their duties kept them very busy, Allard still found time to design and build sports cars.

In 1936 the first Allard Special, commonly referred to as the CLK5 because of its registration number, had been created using Ford products. It sat atop a Ford 40 chassis, outfitted with a Ford flat-head V8 engine, and given a Bugatti Type 51 body. The cockpit was pushed back as far as possible with much of the weight resting on the rear wheels. The lightweight construction and ample ground clearance made the Allard Special a formidable opponent on the racing circuit. This success translated to increased interest in a production version of the Special. Prior to World War II, a few Specials were created that were powered by the Ford V8 or a Lincoln V12. The flat-head engine and its manifold design was its Achilles heal, which often overheated at high speeds. Nevertheless, the Specials continued to be highly competitive, though produced in limited numbers.

After World War II, Allard introduced the J1. Under the hood was a 3.6 liter Ford V8 engine matted to a three-speed manual gearbox. The engine continued to suffer from overheating problems and was criticized as being underpowered. The front suspension was a split axle with a live axle in the rear. Transverse leaf springs were also used in the front and rear. The J1 carried a full body with removable wings which could be replaced with cycle fenders, leaving the J1 prepared for road and track. In total there were twelve examples of the J1 produced.

The J1 was quickly followed by the K1, a two-seater sports car. Produced in larger quantities, the K1 was profitable and provided means in which to continue their race car creations.

The next iteration of the Allard race cars was the J2, introduced in 1950 and designed similar to its J1 sibling. The transverse leaf springs of the J1 were replaced with coils and the live axle was changed in favor of a De Dion setup. The engine was moved even further back putting extra weight on the rear tires, a design Allard continued to favor. The Ford side-valve V8 was the engine of choice however a variety of engines were used including Cadillac's pushrod V8 and Chrysler's HEMI.

A year later the J2X was introduced which was nearly identical to the J2 but had its engine moved forward providing more cockpit room. The J2X Le Mans and JR were enclosed bodies and the final iteration of the J2 racer.

Sydney Allards greatest appearance at a sporting event came in 1950 when he and Tom Cole drove a J2, powered by a Cadillac engine, to a first in class victory and third overall finish at the prestigious 24 hours of Le Mans race. This was truly an impressive accomplishment and a testament to the abilities of the automobile. The Allard J1, J2, and J2X racers have dominated racing on many continents and continue to provide stiff competition in modern Historic sporting events.

In 1959 Allard was forced to cease production due to financial difficult and rising competition from other marques. A total of 1908 Allards had been constructed.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2006

1952 Allard Models

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