1952 Allard K2 Roadster
- Rare example with Chrysler Hemi power from new
- Perhaps unique Hemi with side-mount spare and De Dion rear axle
- Older restoration presents superbly
- Archetypal Anglo-American sports racer; a terrific event car
Sydney Allard was a stouthearted racing driver and car constructor. In the 1930s, he had built a dozen Ford-based specials for British trials competitions, some with Lincoln engines and many with a split-axle independent front suspension developed by Leslie Ballamy. During World War II, his London garage rebuilt Ford vehicles for British forces.
In 1946, with plenty of engines and parts on hand but no government contracts, Allard introduced the K1, a two-seater on a box-section frame with transverse leaf springing and Ballamy’s independent front axle. Either Ford or Mercury flathead V-8 power was available. Light and powerful, the K1 boasted excellent acceleration. It was succeeded by the J1, a shortened K1 intended for trials and sprints, and a four-seater, the M1.
As the J1 became the J2, so the K1 evolved to a K2 version in 1950. The aluminum body was redesigned, adopting a smoother look with a Healey-inspired grille. The Ballamy front suspension was changed from leaf springs to coils, and De Dion rear suspension was optional, as were wire wheels. Although normally built with Ford or Mercury flathead V-8s, K2s could be ordered to accept more powerful engines, usually installed at destination prior to delivery.
Most Allards destined for the United States were shipped to R/P Imported Motor Car Company in New York City, where engines were installed. They were then sent to dealers, like Max Hoffman in Manhattan. This car, however, was invoiced direct to Jack Pry in Washington, D.C. Pry was one of the early D.C. dealers in imported cars, handling at one time or another Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, and Rootes Group cars. He later became the major Volkswagen dealer in the District.
The lead vehicle of a batch of 18 Allard K2s destined for the United States in 1952, chassis number 91K-3017 was dispatched from the works on 12 February. Ordered the previous November, it was constructed in left-hand drive form and outfitted for a Chrysler Hemi engine, to be fitted in America, rendering this lightweight machine a ground-pounding rocket. Equipped with a De Dion rear axle, it was painted in Ivory, an M.G. TD hue, with black fenders and wire wheels. Upholstery was black with ivory piping, according to the order document.
In addition to car sales, Pry was active in SCCA competition during the period 1952–1955, mostly with Jaguar, though whether he raced this Allard is unknown. Subsequent owners included Fred Asch Jr., Lorene Altemus, Clarence Tasadine, and Randy Lenz, according to Colin Warnes of the Allard Registry.
Lenz had the car completely restored by Kent Bain’s Automotive Restorations in Stratford, Connecticut, some 25 years ago. At restoration, the original Ford three-speed transmission was replaced with a four-speed Muncie unit. The Chrysler engine, however, is in its original configuration, including the two-barrel Carter carburetor. At restoration, the color was changed to deep blue, chosen by the owner, and a matching leather interior was installed. Allards were fitted with various kinds of bumpers, and many had none at all. This car has Jaguar XK 120 bumpers front and rear, and they look very appropriate. The Marles steering box has been rebuilt by a specialist in the United Kingdom. The conscientious current owner has had Jaguar E-Type splined rear hubs installed by Allard wizard Mike DiCola of Valley Vintage Cars in Massachusetts and has also replaced the original Ford/Lincoln three-speed with a mighty Muncie four-speed (with the original, and now rebuilt, unit to go with the car as well as the Allard hubs).
This K2 comes with a matching blue top and side curtains and is equipped with Allard’s rarely seen side-mount spare. The original transmission accompanies the car in the sale, as do the original rear hubs. It has appeared at the invitational Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in Connecticut and made an impressive debut at the Monterey Historics in California after restoration. An extensive file contains details of the restoration, road tests from period magazines, and an Allard promotional brochure.
The Allard K2 was a rare commodity when new, and no less so today. With just 119 built, this example is offered “on the button,” ready for its next owner to drive it as intended . . . with great enthusiasm.