The Allard Motor Company in London, England, built the P1. Production of the P1s ran between 1949 and 1951 amounting to only 155 automobiles. At the same time, strategic materials such as steel and aluminum were very difficult to obtain from the British Government and it was mandatory to justify export business. The Ford components made maintenance easy on the P1 in America and a great number of P1s were exported to the United States. The original sales price of the car was 1,277 British Pounds (approximately $2,000).
With a 3.5-liter standard V8 engine, the top speed was 85 mph. The P1s were successful on the racing circuit and one P1, driven by Sydney Allard, won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1949.
An encounter with any Allard model, save perhaps the highly respected and relatively famous J2 and J2X models, will often leave even learned car buffs scratching their heads. These rare and homely British brutes appear odd with their cumbersome styling, but Allard cars enjoyed racing success and engineering sophistication uncommon in the products of such a small firm.
Take, for instance, the ingenious and oft-copied, though then relatively new, idea of stuffing big American V8s into relatively small and lithe European chassis. Allard excelled at the practice of shoehorning these substantial engines into its trim creations, endowing its cars for both street and track with the reliable, effortless power of a hefty Detroit mill. The suspension on Allards, too, demonstrated the company's engineering capability. A carefully-designed, independent front suspension and de Dion rear axle ensured competent handling and surefooted traction. The high quality of engineering found in Allard's cars enabled a healthy racing career for the company, with the likes of John Fitch and Carroll Shelby competing successfully in the offbeat Brits.
A two-door saloon, the Allard P1 was larger and more practical than cars like the race-ready J2 for which the brand was better known. With familiar V8 power, though, the P1 offered plenty of thrust despite its considerable size. And even though the P1 looked nothing like a racing car, it too enjoyed considerable racing success when a Ford-powered example won the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, with company owner and founder Sydney Allard driving.
The Allard P1 may never be as highly respected as the more essential Allard racers, but its combination of reliable power, thoughtful engineering, and clumsy yet endearing style make it an accurate representative of the Allard brand. Sources:
'Allard History.' Allard Register n. pag. Web. 10 Jul 2011. http://www.allardregister.org/allard-history/.
'Allard P1.' Motorbase n. pag. Web. 10 Jul 2011. http://www.motorbase.com/vehicle/by-id/230/. By Evan Acuña