ANOTHER old-timer, one most anyone younger than about 70 might never have heard of, has done a phoenix and is emerging from the proverbial ashes.
It’s Allard, the historic brand of British sports cars, which built its last model way back in 1958.
Sydney Allard built his cars in Clapham, south-west London, from 1936 and some 1900 left the premises before he shut up shop.
But in that time, a considerable variety of cars were produced, initially for the popular Brit sport of ‘trials’ or mud-plugging on a course laid out in muddy fields — but subsequent models ended up on various race tracks around the world, including Le Mans and in the US.
Allards were identified by letters of the alphabet, “J” for short-wheelbase two-seaters, “K” for two- or three-seat tourers or roadsters, “L” for four-seat tourers, “M” for drophead (convertible) coupes, and “P” for fixed-head cars.
All had American V8 engines, mostly Ford, but some could be had with GM powerplants and the mix of a light Brit body coupled with US muscle proved successful, giving the cars a hefty power-to-weight ratio.
They were almost certainly the forerunners of cars like the AC Cobra, Sunbeam Tiger and Chevrolet Corvette.
In fact, Cobra designer Carroll Shelby and Chevrolet Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, both drove Allards in the early 1950s.
Now Sydney’s son, Alan, has re-introduced the brand with the Allard Sports Cars JR continuation series.
Based on the first of seven original JR race cars produced between 1953 and 1955, the inaugural continuation model is hand-built by Alan and Sydney’s grandsons, Lloyd and Gavin.
They’ll be assisted by the Allard JR’s original designer, Dudley Hume, and David Hopper, a former chief engineer at the Allard factory.
They’re using original drawings and parts, design bucks and traditional materials to the specification of the 1953 JR that ran at Le Mans.
While the JR continuation model is a track-only racing car, future legal road-going examples can be built to order by Allard.
The first one will be sold at RM Sotheby’s auction house in London on October 31 and is expected to sell for around $400,000.
Pricing for future models will start at $535,000.
The reborn JRs are powered by a re-engineered version of the original-spec 5.4-litre Cadillac V8, which generates 225kW.
The inaugural JR features a four-speed gearbox. However, this will be optional on future models, which will feature a three-speed transmission as standard.
A final drive diff ratio with a selection of quick-change transfer gears and an option to vary the ratio according to specific events and tracks are also available.
On the outside, the JRs replicate the appearance of the 1953 Le Mans car, using the period body buck that was created by the JR’s original designer and a hand-made aluminium body.
This is complemented by a replica of the original JR’s divided front axle suspension and lightweight twin tubular chassis, allowing the continuation to tip the scales at just under one tonne.
“Watching my father build these cars in period is a memory that will always stay with me,” Alan said.
“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 seven original JRs) continues my father’s legacy, and 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.”
The rejuvenation of Allard is the latest in a string of recent classic marque revivals, including that of Alvis, which recently returned with six different continuation models.
At the 2019 Geneva motor show, the historic Hispano Suiza luxury brand name was also revived for the Carmen electric grand tourer.
Allard is focusing on the JR for now, but has not ruled out reviving its other classic models.
In particular, Sydney Allard’s sons are keen to produce a version of the Palm Beach Mk3, which Allard wanted but was unable to manufacture in 1955.
As with other companies launching continuation cars, Allard considers them to be brand-new versions of old models, rather than replicas.
To drive that point home, Allard is assigning chassis numbers in sequence with the seven 1950s cars, so the first continuation car gets chassis number JR 3408.