1953 Allard K3 Roadster
- Sydney Allard’s rare British-American grand tourer
- Equipped with a Cadillac V-8 and period speed equipment
- Wonderfully evocative, largely original condition
Long before Carroll Shelby had the idea to force-feed oversized American V-8 power into lightweight British roadster bodywork, Sydney Allard was doing it in London. Allard's lightweight, frighteningly rapid sports and racing models cleaned up at tracks around the world until well into the 1950s.
Naturally, what races on Sunday sells on Monday, and the K3 was Allard’s attempt to offer a more civilized variant of the J2 and J2X models seen at the track. It featured a twin-tube steel chassis with semi-independent swing axle front suspension and a proper de Dion rear axle with inboard-mounted drum brakes, wrapped in full-width alloy bodywork that mimicked the new Austin-Healey 100/4. The single front bench seat could accommodate three adults on its 56-inch width, with clear floor space for the middle passenger provided by a clever off-set gear-change lever located to the left of the driver. Twin fuel tanks fitted into the rear fenders, creating more luggage room, and there was a real cloth-covered folding convertible top.
Some 57 of the 62 Allard K3s built were delivered to the United States, the majority without engines, so that the dealer or first owner could install a V-8 of the purchaser’s choice. Many were fitted with Cadillac power, and still more of those, regardless of Allard’s touring intentions, took to the track.
According to the Allard Registry, the car offered here was ordered on April 14, 1953, and it was delivered on May 20, 1953, to the Allard Motor Company, of New York City. It was shipped with modifications to allow fitment of a Cadillac V-8, disc wheels, and a 3.78 rear differential. Early owners included Mr. Karley, William Turner, and Jansen Parker Young, and the car was reportedly raced extensively in its early years. The Allard still wears its badges of honor, literally, reflecting display at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Concours d’Elegance in 1953, 1954, and 1955, as well as communications worker badges from 1955 and 1956, a communications worker badge from Bridgehampton in 1956, and another badge from Brynfan Tyddyn in the same period.
This wonderful K3 remains in largely original condition, aside from an older change of color to red and somewhat newer leather upholstery, and it still packs a vintage Cadillac V-8 with dual four-barrel carburetors and period speed equipment, such as a slightly hotter cam than standard, sure to provide thrilling performance. Copious accessories include period-correct seatbelts, gauges, Talbot mirrors, and Borrani wire wheels with two-bar knock-offs. Formerly displayed at the Larz Anderson Museum in Massachusetts, it remains very much “as it was” and provides an opportunity to return an original Allard to the snarling speeds of which it was once capable. It would be ideal for the Colorado Grand, and prospective tourers are happily invited to test-drive the car at Amelia.