Allard returns after 62 years with Le Mans continuation sports car

by Jeff Peek
25 September 2020 3 min read
Allard returns after 62 years with Le Mans continuation sports car
Photos: Allard / Matt Howell

Six decades after the Allard Motor Car Company shut its doors, and 54 years after founder Sydney Allard’s death, the British sports car company is back with the introduction of Allard Sports Cars’ JR continuation series.

The first new model in the series is based on the 1953 JR which competed at the Le Mans 24 hour race, the first of seven original JR race cars produced from 1953–55. The inaugural continuation car will be offered at RM Sotheby’s London Auction on October 31. RM has not revealed an estimate, but Allard places its value at £180,000 to £240,000.

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RM Sotheby’s sold an original 1953 Allard JR Le Mans Roadster (chassis no. 3403) for $605,000 at its 2013 Scottsdale Auction – £381,462 at historic exchange rates.

Allard returns after 62 years with Le Mans continuation sports car

The first JR continuation car was hand-built by a team led by Sydney Allard’s son Alan and grandson Lloyd, who were assisted by grandson Gavin, archivist of The Allard Owners Club. The team also included original designer Dudley Hume and former Allard chief engineer David Hooper.

“Watching my father build these cars in period is a memory that will always stay with me,” Alan Allard said, announcing the new Allard. “The skills he’s passed on to me are now with my son, Lloyd, who has engineered and built the continuation you see today. Over 84 years on since the first Allard car was built, car number eight [after the seven original JRs] continues my father’s legacy … If he saw what we were doing today as a family, I know he’d be proud – and desperate to see how it performs on track.”

Allard returns after 62 years with Le Mans continuation sports car

Sydney Allard grew up in London, the son of a Ford dealer, and became a successful rally driver who dreamed of producing his own automobiles. After serving in WWII, Allard opened Allard Motor Car Company in 1946. His sports cars were drophead coupé variants that carried stark bodywork and, generally, Ford and Mercury V8 engines. Allard managed to build approximately 1900 cars – including this charismatic 1951 Allard P1, a car with a fascinating history that’s recounted in this episode of Barn Find Hunter – before his financially strapped company became solvent in 1958. He later built the first drag cars outside of the U.S.

Allard, driving a JR powered by a Cadillac V8, led the first few laps of the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans before a collapsed rear suspension severed a brake pipe on the car and ended his race almost before it started.

He died of an undisclosed illness in 1966, just shy of his 56th birthday.

Allard JR sports car cockpit

The return of Allard comes after persistent rumors of a restart. According to the Allard Sports Cars website, “After years of discussion and co-operation with several individuals and Allard business ventures over a period of 35 years, some of which have resulted in the manufacture of a few modern ‘lookalike’ Allard J2X cars, the Allard family has decided to start the manufacture of authentic continuation Allard cars again, after a gap of over 50 years since manufacture ceased in Clapham, London, in 1958.”

In addition to fitting the JR continuation with a re-engineered version of the original-spec Cadillac 5.4-litre, overhead-valve V8 that delivers 300bhp at 4,500rpm, Allard is also offering three- and four-speed gearboxes and a quick-change rear differential for easy final drive ratio swaps. The body is constructed of aluminium. The family has also kept the original divided front-axle suspension and twin tubular chassis to retain the JR’s low weight of 998kg (without fluids).

The Allard name returns to sports cars

The first JR continuation model is a track-only race car; future built-to-order examples can undergo individual vehicle approval (IVA) to be made road-legal.

Allard is open to reviving its other classic models, perhaps even a version of the Palm Beach Mk3, which was never put into production. For now, however, let’s rejoice in the return of the JR.

Via Hagerty US

Why one enthusiast had to have an Allard in his life

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  • David Austin says:

    Great! My father, a Ford dealer at the time in NW London, purchased an Allard chassis , Ford V8 engine and front bonnet section and Willesden engineering built a unique 4 seater cabriolet body on it. He took it with me, age 13 and my mother to Italy in 1948 . We were then caught up in the Mille Miglia. We had a wonderful drive to Amalfi and back. Wonder where it is now ? reg. no. UMX 363.

    • James Mills says:

      Would be fascinating to know if the car is still in circulation, David. And thank you for sharing that tale – what evocative memories.

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