Behind the “8-Ball”

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Fred Wacker, Jr. served in the Navy during WWII. After his discharge he returned to Chicago to commence his career in the family business – Ammco Tools, a supplier of tooling equipment for auto manufacturers. One of the fringe benefits included a company car - in this case a gray Pontiac 4-door sedan, which he despised. He soon decided to risk his father’s wrath by trading it for an MG TC.

            One of his first trips in the TC was to attend the Indy 500, where he met up with some guys from the east coast, and was introduced to the fledgling Sports Car Club of America. This led to Fred’s role in establishing the Chicago chapter of the SCCA, and his entering the stripped down and mildly modified TC at Watkins Glen in the fall of ’49. The MG sported “8” as the racing number – the same number of his father’s racing yacht.

            Fred’s maiden voyage in the field of sports car racing got him a 3rd in class finish, and gave him a chance to make a lot of contacts. He was racing a Healey Silverstone at Bridgehampton in 1950 when Tommy Cole introduced him to the Allards. Fred decided to go that route, ordered #1577 and commenced work with Frank Burrell to install Cad power in front of a highly modified Hydramatic. Fred likewise gave this car the number “8” which, with the artistic touch of Karl Brocken, morphed into the iconic “8-Ball” roundel.

            Fred drove his Allard to a 3rd place finish at Watkins Glen in 1950, and then on to Florida for the inaugural Sebring 6 hour race. He and Frank Burrell finished two laps ahead of the field, but officially finished in 8th spot behind the ‘index of performance’ winner – a .724 liter, 27 horsepower Crosley Hotshot.

            Fred, along with several other SCCA racers, then accepted the invitation from Argentine strongman Juan Peron for an all-expense-paid trip to Buenos Aires to run their cars in the Sports Car Olympics in March 1951. Fred finished 2nd, just behind John Fitch, before accepting an offer to sell his Allard. However international political issues arose with the sale of #1577, so it was shipped back to the US. Emil Loeffler had the car restored about ten years ago – and displayed it at the Allard gathering in New Jersey in 2009, and at Watkins Glen in 2010.

 Fred Wacker awaits the start of a race in J2-2086...widely recognized as 'The 8 Ball'

Fred Wacker awaits the start of a race in J2-2086...widely recognized as 'The 8 Ball'

             Fred Wacker had already bought his second Allard J2 #2086 in 1951 before the Argentine sale complications arose, but did not have any problem re-selling 1577 once it got back to the US. He likewise fitted his new Allard with Cad power and a Burrell-modified Hydramatic – along with several other performance and handling enhancements. #2086 is the Allard J2 involved in the tragic Watkins Glen accident in September 1952 that essentially brought an end to racing on public roads in the US.

 Wacker at speed in the 8 Ball

Wacker at speed in the 8 Ball

            Fred continued to race #2086 through 1954. The car since passed through several hands before Paul Brownell of Milwaukee WI purchased it in 1986. Paul stored it in the garage behind his home for several years before deciding to go the ‘preservation’ route. About 6 years ago he gave it a rather comprehensive mechanical restoration, and had taken it to a number of local car shows – including Elkhart Lake. Paul Brownell has since passed away, and this car remains in the Brownell family.

To complicate matters – there are at least two other “8-Ball” Allards:

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            Late Allard Register publisher, and renowned Allard ambassador Dr. Tom Turner, raced his immaculate Ford flathead-powered Allard J2 #1575 under the “8-Ball” moniker (with Paul Brownell’s permission) for several years until his passing in 1994. Tom’s widow, Yvonne, subsequently went to racing school and continued to vintage race this J2 for the next couple years before selling it the Rick Cole Auction in Monterey. The car now resides in Europe.

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            Bob Lucurell owned and raced #3161, his red Hemi-powered J2X for the past several years. That car also displays the “8-Ball” moniker (with Fred Wacker’s blessings). Lucurell sold this car at Bonham’s Auction within the past year.

The Pinewood Derby J2

As part of a team building/morale boosting exercise, my employer decided to host a Pinewood Derby. You may be familiar with the Pinewood Derby as created by some car crazy Cub Scouts in 1953 where kids and their parents carve a car shape out of a 7" long x 1 3/4" wide x 1 1/4" thick block of pine wood. The cars are raced down a 40' long multi-lane sloped track where the cars ride in dedicated tracks. Typically these events are reserved for kids, which is great, but it's a lot more fun building and racing one of these cars as an adult.

For my car, I was determined to build an Allard J2. I started by drawing the block and wheels on my 3D CAD program, then I took side and top view images of the J2 blueprint and overlaid them over the block and wheels. Surprisingly, the scale of the J2 blueprints matched the block and wheels pretty well!

From there I cut the body out of the actual block and the fenders out of a 1/2" thick piece of bass wood. I then glued the fenders to the body...hoping the front fenders were not too delicate. A Dremel tool with a barrel style sand bit was used to shaped the car - fortunately nothing broke! Unfortunately I was pinched for time so I wasn't able to finish and paint the car as well as I had hoped. However, I think the car came out pretty good.

I modeled the the design after J2-1513, the first J2 exported to the USA and originally purchased by Roy Richter - owner of Bell Auto Parts. Roy was victorious in his one and only race - his racing career cut short after his wife learned of his new hobby.

Are there any wood workers out there that car to take up the Allard Pinewood Derby challenge? If so, send us a photo of your handiwork. Click here to download a Acrobat PDF of my J2 block overlay...when printing, make sure you select print in full scale.

As for the race, I came in second place out of 20 cars, losing out to a 'wedge' car built by one of our engineers. All had a great time and we are expecting twice as many entrants for next year. Perhaps I'll build a replica of our J2X Le Mans?

Hilton Head Concours – November 2 – 4, 2018

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Jere Krieg is in the process of setting up a 2018 Allard event for the Hilton Head Concours (http://www.hhiconcours.com/hilton-head-island.html). Jere had a very successful event last year in conjunction with the Keeneland Concours in Kentucky, and he has decided that the Hilton Head event will be a suitable follow-up event for this year. He is in the process of setting up hotel and dining accommodations in Hilton Head, South Carolina for the Allard entrants.

The tentative schedule is as follows:

Friday, November 2: A driving tour, starting with a breakfast and finishing with a lunch. In the evening, there will be a “Hanger Bash” at the Hilton Head airport. Both the lunch and dinner are charity events, put on by the Concours.

Saturday, November 3: A car club display of various classic automobiles, including a separate grouping for the Allards. That evening, there will be an Allard dinner, which Jere will set up.

Sunday, November 4: The Hilton Head Concours. There will be a separate Allard class - possibly two (racing and street Allards) - provided there are sufficient entrants for both. The Concours concludes at 4 PM.

Entry forms should be available shortly. Please let Jere know if you are interested in attending. He can be reached at 865-755-3099, or jerekrieg@gmail.com . It is very important to let Jere know, as soon as possible, of your interest, so he can make suitable arrangements.

Andy Picariello reports it also may be possible to arrange for a dedicated transport of our Allards from New England region, provided that we can get a full trailer-load. Please contact Andy at afpic@comcast.net for details.

Andy knows some of the key people running this Concours from his experience with the Amelia Island Concours in 2011. He is confident that this event will be very worthwhile for us to participate, and is familiar with the area and the many attractions that it provides. November at Hilton Head provides very comfortable temperatures, and is outside of the normal tourist season.

The Essex Coupe

The following story comes to us from Alan London, who's father worked at the Essex Aero Ltd., builders of a very unique Allard Special. After that is a brief story about the Essex Coupe from an old AOC newsletter and finally a note from a previous owner.

One Jag or Two?

That’s a question I’ve recently posed, in person and by email, to folks on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps surprisingly, especially to us Jag-nuts, the responses have leaned predominantly toward the side of: ‘TWO’!

True, the two cars do indeed share the sleek, classical lines indicative of the early nineteen-fifties, but there, the similarities end. Behind the question lies a story, in the main untold – so without further ado, let’s travel back through several decades, to the mid nineteen-thirties.

Essex Aero Ltd, was founded by Reginald (Jack) Cross, with the assistance of my father Lionel (Jack) London.

In 1937 their firm, which in the early years specialized in the manufacture/repair/modification of aircraft components, relocated from Marylands Aerodrome, Romford, Essex (hence the company’s name) to the Gravesend Airport in Kent, when the Percival Aircraft company vacated the premises.

In their new location, Essex Aero was responsible for servicing local, private aircraft, plus those operated by the airport-based Flying Training School. In addition, it began experimenting with Magnesium Alloy and utilized the metal in some of their products. The opening in 1938 of the Royal Air Force Elementary Reserve Flying Training School provided the company with additional maintenance assignments.

With World War Two looming, the airport was sequestered in 1939 by the Air Ministry, and designated a satellite station of RAF Biggin Hill, which had been assigned the task of defending London and the South East. Gravesend’s proximity to the English Channel made the airfield an ideal candidate for Biggin Hill support.

During the Battle of Britain period, the airport was home to squadrons of Blenheims, Spitfires, and Hurricanes, which were serviced by Essex Aero, and repaired as necessary, on mission return.

Throughout the years of conflict, my father’s company, in tandem with its war-service, continued to hone its knowledge of Magnesium Alloy. So much so that on conclusion of the war, when the Allied countries created a ‘team’ to compile not only the ‘lessons learned’, but to also examine German technological advancements. Essex Aero were asked to represent the Magnesium Alloy community at the team’s subsequent conferences/conventions. The company had swiftly established a reputation as a world-wide leader in M.A. technology, with its representatives frequently being invited to deliver lectures on the subject.

Although still contracted to the Air Ministry, the post-war years saw Essex Aero rapidly expand its workforce and its range of business, moving into the commercial world. It began producing a variety of M.A. items such as lightweight hospital beds, fold-up chairs, and soft drink, beer, and milk crates.

Their star truly shone, as was evidenced by the giant Essex Aero four-point star, fabricated solely from Magnesium Alloy. Captured in the beams of three powerful spotlights, the star was suspended over London’s Northumberland Street, and became a focal point of the 1951 Festival of Britain celebrations.

In 1952 Essex Aero designed and manufactured an all Magnesium Alloy-bodied Allard sports coupe. The body panels, each hand-formed, were welded together into a single-piece configuration. A standard Allard J2X chassis was lengthened to accommodate the sleek body; a shell so light, that, at a weight of around 140-pounds, it could be held aloft (at the point of center-of-gravity) in its entirety by a single man, and also, from each end, by two ladies – as is shown below in the photographs that were extracted from the Essex Aero archives.

Attached by a mere six silent-block rubber mounting points, the body could be swiftly removed as one-piece, thereby exposing and providing access to the principal mechanical components for any necessary maintenance or repairs.

‘Dad’s Allard’ was powered by a 3,917 cc. Mercury V8 engine with a compression ratio of 8.1. Top speed was a reported 135 mph. The car featured a four-speed electric, pre-selector Cotal (French) gearbox, and thus no clutch was necessary. In line with company traditions, this beautiful, stylish machine was unflatteringly named: ‘MAGBODY’!

My father’s friend and senior partner, Managing Director Jack Cross, whom both mum and dad would affectionately refer to as ‘the old man’, was the driver behind the project. Both he and my father shared a passionate belief that magnesium alloy would, given time, prove to be a far superior material than the fast-approaching soon-to-be rival, gaggle of plastics! Jack Cross was also the driver (and proud owner) behind the wheel of this truly unique vehicle which, incidentally, Sydney Allard, the founder of Allard Motor Cars, had taken an interest in, keenly following its progress from conception to completion. Jack could be frequently spotted buzzing around Kent’s narrow country lanes in his...  new ‘baby’!

Sadly, in early 1956, Martin’s Bank (later Barclays’s) placed Essex Aero into Receivership. All assets were swiftly disposed of, including the one-of-kind Allard, which was literally stolen for a mere 350 British pounds!!! Our family, with much-depleted belongings in tow, relocated, and alas, subsequent communications between Jack and Jack were reduced to mere telephone conversations.

And so the car just kind of fell off the London’s landscape. But despite all, my father, who lived to just shy of one-hundred, never let up on his life-long love affair with that Allard, and also never ceased, most-like because of his son’s Jag-affections, to prod and insist that ‘the car that the two Jacks built’, in both of their minds, was designed and produced well afore Jag’s XK 140!

Just recently, my wife Maureen, herself an owner-member of our Jag Club, whilst rummaging through some of my parent’s belongings, came across the original photos of the Allard. It was her idea that we, in memory of dad, and because the car represented such a proud episode in his life, leaf back through time’s pages, and endeavor to trace the route she had traveled from the 1956 sale to the present day, trusting to fate of course, that MAGBODY actually did indeed still exist!

Fortune smiled – but feebly; for many any a gap still exists in her history, and no pot of gold was to be found at her rainbow’s end! We did discover that around twenty years ago, the car received a new Allard P-Type body, and the revolutionary Mag-Alloy body-shell... the prime objective behind our search, once removed, had been discarded – but, we questioned, to what end? [Ed: The Magbody was placed onto a P chassis...see Thurston note below]

By chance, our continuing probe brought us into contact with Colin Warnes of the Allard Register. With his help, we were able to locate the MAGBODY’ shell. It is currently housed at Heritage Classics, a Middlesbrough (Teesside) car restoration company that, coincidentally, specializes in Jaguar renovations.

I mentioned earlier that fortune had smiled, but…!

I was able to make contact with John Collins, the founder and owner of Heritage Classics, and a super gentleman to boot. Understanding and appreciating the motives of our project, he immediately supplied me with a series of photographs, a few of which are shown, plus an update: As I’m sure you will understand, his information generated within Maureen, Colin, and myself, a rash of very mixed feelings.

Sadness and a sense of dismay: that such an example of artistic expression and a long-obsolete skill, has been reduced to, by all appearances, a barely clinging-together collection of metallic leaf flakes. The buffet of one mighty wind gust, one fears, would scatter all in a thousand different directions!

A muted joy: that what once was, still is – though barely!

As John explained, the owner prior to the current, operated a trailer-manufacturing company in Aberdeen. Requiring additional space for his business operations, MAGBODY was moved into a field, where it remained for fifteen years.

As John warned me, and is oh so plainly evident, the Mag Alloy material has deteriorated far beyond any possible repair. He has therefore been tasked by the current owner to replicate all of the panels in aluminum. As you can see, the task has already commenced, but at the time of my writing is in temporary abeyance. John has promised to keep me updated as the project again moves along.

In our correspondence, I provided John with background material on Essex Aero and my father’s deep involvement in MAGBODY’s origins, (as discussed in this piece), and he intends forwarding it on to the current owner. Eventually, and with hope, between the three of us, it may be possible to color in some of those afore-mentioned historical gaps.

For Maureen and I, there remain pages still to turn before the book on MAGBODY can be closed, but I hope that for fellow Jag-fans, the story so far is an interesting one.

For us ardent enthusiasts, an emphatic “ONE” is the obvious answer to the question I initially posed. But, just for a moment, blank off the signature Allard grill and…maybe, just maybe, albeit tongue in cheek, my old dad had a point…you be the judge!

-Alan London


A NOTE ON THE ESSEX AERO from the October 1965 AOC Newsletter

This 2 plus 2 coupe was built on an extended Allard J2X chassis by Essex Aero Ltd, of Gravesend Airport in Kent, for R.J. Cross, managing director of the company, in l952. During the war years the firm made fuel tanks and other parts for de Havilland Mosquitos.

Like the standard J2X the Aero's chassis, 2224, had a divided front axle with forward radius rods, deDion rear axle, coil springs, hydraulic dampers, 12-inch Lockheed brakes with Alfin drums and air scoops, and 16-inch wire wheels.

Claimed to be the first car body built entirely of magnesium alloy (DTD 118A) the 16-gauge panels, 12-gauge pillars and supports achieved a remarkable saving in weight. The bare shell, without front seats and floor, but with doors, grille and luggage locker floor weighed only 140 lbs. Taken at the point of balance, a foot or so back from the screen pillars, the body could be held aloft by one man. The 20-gallon petrol tank weighed 15 ½ lbs., compared with 39 ½ lbs. in steel, and the front bumper was a mere 8 1bs. Torsion boxes ran beneath the door openings and argon arc welding was used throughout.

Location on the chassis was by six high tensile steel bolts in Silentbloc rubber units which, in conjunction with plug-in electrical connections, allowed the body to be lifted off for any extended servicing to the running gear. A large bonnet gave access to the engine and radiator. The instrument panel, controls and front seats remained with the chassis when the body was lifted and so it was possible to test drive in stripped form. Even with full trim, spare wheel, radio and Clayton heater, the Aero was 6 lbs. lighter than the standard J2X with Chrysler engine.

The black and grey Aero was first driven by a 3.9-litre Mercury V8 fitted with Ardun ohv heads. The gearbox was a four-speed electric Cotal. Mr. A E Freezer who had the car painted red, experienced some trouble with the Cotal, and later came a Chevrolet V8 and GMC automatic transmission.


A Note From A Previous Owner, Gerry Auger…

Hello and Happy New Year Colin, hope the following is of interest. I purchased the car in the early 1970s from Mr. Laurie Ferrari, he owned a few cars at various time and was known to other AOC members. The body color was a mustard yellow and the car was running with a small block Chevy and automatic. I believe it originally had a Ford Pilot engine with a Cotal preselect gearbox. I remember a photo of the car at Brands Hatch in the`60s when it was painted bright red. I ran the car for a while then fitted a 365in3 Chrysler Firepower hemi linked to a 4-speed manual from an Alvis speed 25. The hemi tended to overheat in traffic even with a refurbed radiator and twin electric fans. In spite of that I did compete at Goodwood sprint meetings, a club race at Silverstone and the Valence Hill climb (twice) all without success. The hemi was powerful but VERY heavy and I soon learnt NOT to lift off in a corner as the car would swop ends!

I eventually removed the (very light) magnesium body stripped it and resprayed it in a Ford color, "diamond white", the chassis was stripped and painted silver and the interior was reupholstered with a cream-colored leather which had red piping. I refurbished the wooden dash and had the instruments overhauled as were the brakes which had Alfin drums with steel liners.

I then fitted a 331in3 Caddy, but a change of personal and financial circumstances meant that I was unable to continue running the car and after storing it for a few years I sold it to friend and club member John Peskett who removed the body and shortened the chassis to that of a standard J2X.


A note from current Chassis Owner, Jerry Thurston:

Factory records show a Cadillac unit being fitted after the Ardun head Ford (that was I think a 390 engine) 

The Chassis did not receive a P type body when the Magbody was removed. Rather, the Magbody was put onto a P-type chassis, the idea being that rather than the body being discarded it would be preserved, sadly 14 years in a Scottish field put pay to it as you can see from the pictures! It's a pity that the shell had gone too far to be repaired and had to replicated be in Aluminium Alloy, obviously it was the sensible option though. However on a positive note it's wonderful that while the original body has 'gone' at least the design will survive

When the Magbody came off and the J2X chassis was revealed it was found that most of the standard under structure was still there, for instance the standard rear body hoop had merely been notched and laid back. This meant that it was easy to bring the chassis back to standard configuration base. Essentially by sorting the body hoops and reversing the lengthening process (merely cutting it on the additional welds and removing the extra box sections that had been added to lengthen it). The chassis was then given a 'standard' J2X body to bring it back to the configuration it would have been in had the chassis not been assigned to special purposes and continued through the build in the Allard Works .

PKJ 412 although now a 'standard' J2X, the car pays homage its history by carrying a Essex Aero Ltd. logo on her side.

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We've been distracted lately

We feel bad that we haven't been posting much lately...sorry about that. Truth is we've been working hard on our restoration project. 3149 is coming along pretty well, if we're lucky it'll be on the road this year. In addition to working on the car, we've also completed a heavy duty Allard hub conversion that utilizes Jaguar XK rear hub parts...more news to come.

For Sale: 1951 J2-2123

Chassis 2123 was special ordered by Delvan Lee on 7th. June, 1951 through for Wood Motors, Detroit, MI. Wood Motors only imported one Allard, which was done as a special favor to Mr. Delvan Lee. Del had raced Allards previously at Sebring and Giants Despair so he knew what he wanted. He ordered the car specifically to be similar to Sydney’s 1950 Le Mans mount, including silver wire wheels, left hand spare mount, Lucas lamps with stone guards, and a special metallic blue paint job with bright red interior.

Delvan raced the car on the ice at Lake Orion and then Bridgehampton and Thomson speedway in 1952. In 1953 & 1954 the car was raced at Watkins Glen. In 1953, the car won the Giants Despair Hill Climb.

In 1954 Fred Lavell acquired the Allard and took it to the Bonneville, Utah speed events. He drove the car to a speed of 127 mph. After the 1954 event, the J2 body was removed and a Sorrell streamliner fiberglass body with a stock DeSoto V8 and TorqueFlight transmission were installed. It ran this setup in 1955 and 1956, attaining a top speed of 150.75 mph on gas. 2123 was featured in its Bonneville Sorrell configuration in the December 1957 issue of Motor Life magazine.

The car led an uneventful life after Bonneville until the current owner acquired the car over 25 years ago. The aluminum Allard body was not installed and a Chevrolet small block mated to a Moss 4-speed provided the drive. 2123 was restored by Tivvy Shenton who installed a 390 in3 Caddy engine, three Stromberg 97 carbs, a Muncie transmission, and Harden safety hubs. The car retains the Halibrand quick-change rear that was installed before the Bonneville runs. After restoration, 2123 was vintage raced at Pocono and Watkins Glen.

The seller is the 5th owner of 2123 and notes that the history of the car is fully documented. Included is a 3-ring binder history supplied by Barry Burrell, son of Frank who was the Cadillac engineer who went to Le Mans with Sydney Allard in 1953. The car is also pictured in Joel Finn’s book titled, “Bridgehampton” on page 99. 

The J2 is located in Naples, Florida and is being offered for $335,000. Interested parties should click here to email us.  

Auction Alert: J2X-3161

Chassis 3161 was exported on May 2, 1952 to Shawnee Motors in Tokepa, KS.  It was specially ordered with Chrysler engine modifications, a Pat Warren quick-change differential, Alfin drums oil temperature gauge, 6 wire wheels, and dual side mounts for the spare wheels (most J2X’s only had a single spare mount). The car was painted red with a blue interior, which has been tastefully changed to black. The car was then delivered to its original owner Warren Turner.

In 1954, the car was sidelined by an electrical fire. In 1975, Allard enthusiast and future Allard Register Historian Bob Lytle found the car. The J2X was purchased by Allard racer and collector Duncan Emmons, who restored the car and installed a Cadillac engine. In 1992, it was purchased by Seattle-based collector and racer Ken McBride, who campaigned it in vintage events. In 2002, the seller purchased the car from Mr. McBride, and later sent it to Donovan Motorcar Service in Lenox, Massachusetts, where a period-correct Chrysler Hemi was built and installed. The consignor has successfully campaigned the J2X at some of the most celebrated vintage racing events in the US.

Having been cared for by a succession of Allard aficionados, the condition of this J2X has been lovingly preserved and improved over the decades. It is presented with fascinating period correspondence, receipts, and logbooks. With a powerful Chrysler Hemi and lightweight aluminum bodywork, the J2X is a rare and powerful sports car that will be warmly welcomed at vintage races and touring events throughout the US and abroad.

This car is listed as Lot #30 at the upcoming Gooding Scottsdale auction. The estimate ranges from $350,000 to $450,000 which we believe is reasonable for this car. Click here to learn more.

A portion of this text was taken from the Goodings writeup.

Car Week, 2017

In recent years the August conglomeration of automotive events (car shows, races, auctions and tours) on California’s Monterey Peninsula has taken on the generic title of Car Week. A ‘bucket list’ happening for car lovers, but with a derisive tone by some of the locals who are prone to complain – all the way to the bank.

Numerous enthusiasts of vintage racing were gratified to see six Allards running in the 2017 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. This year’s Group 5A of 1947 – 1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars raced on Saturday for the first time in several years (the group usually races in Sunday).

Augie Grassis raced the J2X that was Carroll Shelby’s principal mount back in ’53 and ’54. The car’s previous owner, Peter Booth, regularly raced it at Laguna Seca throughout the 1990’s. The two red K2’s of Jon LeCarner and Doug Klink brought back fond memories of the long-term friendly rivalry at Laguna Seca and other west coast venues between Jim Degnan and the late George Myers. John Mote returned this year with his bright blue Buick-powered K2. This car’s previous owner, Paul James, was a frequent Laguna Seca participant back in the 1990’s.

The Allard pack was filled out by Vince Vento who again demonstrated his mastery of outwitting his J2X’s HydraMatic around the hills and turns of Laguna Seca, and Ted Herb who was racing his recently acquired and beautifully refurbished “BRG” K2.

A well-established Friday tradition plays out when a group of select racers, under the enthusiastic escort of the California Highway Patrol, depart from Laguna Seca to make the 14 mile trek up over Laureles Grade, and westward along pristine Carmel Valley Road to intrude upon the sedate, exclusive and lavish Quail Motorsports Gathering.

The Race 5A participants were this year’s select group, and Vince Vento graciously allowed Colin to ride ‘shotgun’. A few tense moments arose when Vince was informed of a flat tire as they were lining up to depart. However, Chris Campbell of Vintage Connection – with the combination of experience, the right tools and knock-off hubs – came to the rescue. Vince’s return to Laguna Seca also got momentarily delayed (by Colin…a story for another time), and might have missed the group were it not for another enthused CHP officer who made full use of his motorcycle’s lights and siren to escort Vince through and around the leisurely homebound traffic of Carmel Valley Road.

Thursday’s highlight is the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance when 100+ contestants in Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance make a two-hour tour around the Monterey Peninsula, down Highway 1 to Big Sur, and then return to line up on Carmel’s Ocean Avenue. This provides a special opportunity for thousands of car lovers to get a close hand look of the Pebble Beach contestants – free of charge.

Seven of the RMMR Group 5A cars at Laguna Seca were California Specials. These unique home-built racers held their own on west coast road courses – including the Pebble Beach Road Races – against a variety of European imports in the early fifties. California Specials were further honored this year by comprising a special class at the Pebble Beach Concours.

Bruce McCaw’s faithfully restored 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer was this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Best of Show award winner. Bruce has gathered an enviable collection of historic vehicles that includes several significant Allards including the Steyr, Sydney’s ’53 Le Mans JR, Walt Grey’s J2X Le Mans, and Irwin Goldschmidt’s Watkins Glen winning J2.

The infamous customized black & yellow Von Dutch Allard K2 crossed the ramp at Gooding & Company for $242,000.

Finally, Bill Marriott graciously shipped the iconic #14 J2 out from the east coast in honor of the late Bill Pollack. While in California, it was on display at both the McCall Jet Center Party and The Quail. The car was the focus of attention one week later as it took center stage on the front lawn of Bill Pollack’s Sherman Oaks home as friends & family celebrated his full life.

The Last Checkered Flag: Syd Silverman

Syd Silverman, owner and chairman of Vintage Motorsport magazine from 1990 – 2012, and a staunch supporter and participant in the preservation, presentation and celebration of motorsports and its history for nearly four decades, died on August 27 in Boca Raton FL. 

Though his profession was publishing, his passion was automobile racing. His life after the sale of Variety Inc. was focused on collector cars, historic auto racing and Vintage Motorsport, which he acquired in 1990. During that time he assumed role as publisher of the Allard Register for number of years, and continued to serve as sponsor for our newsletters (Syd was the reason there are no dues required to join the Allard Register!).

Syd caught the car bug at an early age, from working as a gas jockey and grease monkey at a local garage in his hometown of Harrison NY. His affinity for British sports and racing cars was spurred by his first sight of a yellow & black Allard J2X in a New York showroom. He rekindled is love of sports cars and road racing in the mid-1970’s at Ferrari club track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen, and he purchased his first vintage race car, a Hemi-powered Allard J2X in 1978. 

After selling Variety in 1987, he turned his attention to expanding and utilizing his growing collection of vintage racecars, which he campaigned in vintage race venues across the US. He organized two Allard reunions in 1982 and 1985, and played a key role in supporting the Allard gathering at Laguna Seca in 1990.

Syd continued to actively participate in vintage racing until 2007, and sold controlling interest in Vintage Motorsport to his son, Michael – also a longtime vintage racer – in 2012. He is survived by his second wife, Dr. Joan Hoffman; four children, daughter Marie Silverman Marich and sons Michael, Mark and Matthew.

Tech Tip: Brake Hoses

 Old (bottom) vs New (top) brake hose

Old (bottom) vs New (top) brake hose

During the restoration of our car, we've had to replace more a few components that are no longer available. One of the main goals that I've had when sourcing replacement parts is to maintain the look of the original component while replacing it with one that is functionally superior. Case in point, the flexible front brake hoses. We are fortunate to have the original hoses and I wanted to use original style fittings, while upgrading to stainless steel flex hoses. The problem is that the modern stainless hoses look too modern. Also, where could I get fittings that had the same basic ends as the original?

First off, we should all be grateful for the Internet. I'm a firm believer that the Internet is solely responsible for the increase in quality of automotive restorations. After a few minutes of searching, I stumbled across the BrakeQuip Dealer Catalog. Armed with my original hoses, I measured the fittings and found the following BrakeQuip equivalent fittings:


Unfortunately they aren't brass, but these steel fittings are much stonger.

Next step was to find a suitable stainless steel braided brake hoses. I didn't want the typical stainless steel color as it just screamed modern...I was looking for something black, ideally with a matte finish. I found that black lines were available, but the outer coating was shiny. Then I had an idea...fabric wire loom covers look a lot like the original brake hose material...what if I bought some of that and slipped it over the stainless steel brake hoses while they were being fabricated. I found a 7' length of PICO 3/8" (ID) fabric loom (with asphalt coating) on Amazon that looked just like our old brake hoses.

Armed with my fabric loom hose, I went to our local ParkerStore and explained what I wanted. After convincing them I wasn't crazy, they agreed to make up the hoses to meet my requirements. They used their "smoke" colored stainless hoses, the fittings noted above, my PICO fabric loom, and put them together with a total length of 17.5". As you can see, they came out pretty good with a total cost of around $40 per line, less if you have a business account with Parker.

 Detail: Old vs New

Detail: Old vs New

 The outer wire loom housing pulled back to reveal the braided stainless hose within 

The outer wire loom housing pulled back to reveal the braided stainless hose within 

Keeneland Concours d'Elegance – July 13 – 16, 2017

PART I, By Peter Bowman (and the photos too!)

Lexington, Kentucky is located in the heart of horse country, and the magnificent Keeneland Race Course is home to thoroughbred racing every spring and fall. But each July Keeneland hosts a different kind of thoroughbred – of the automotive variety. The 14th annual Keeneland Concours upheld this tradition in grand style. This years’ show held a special attraction, a class organized by Jere Krieg dedicated entirely to Allards – the first time in Concours’ history they have had a single-marque class. The crowd was not disappointed, as 12 Allards were on display to delight the crowd.

After an informal gathering of Allard owners on Friday afternoon, the weekend kicked off in grand style at the 1920’s-themed Bourbon Bash at one of the historic distilleries in Lexington’s historic district – complete with gangsters, flappers, and even a speak-easy! Everyone had a grand time, but our ‘activities’ were somewhat tempered by the fact that we had an early call the next morning to get the cars on the show field.

Saturday dawned bright and clear, with heavy dew as the only reminder of the brief storm that rolled through on Friday. The show opened to the public to 9AM, with all twelve Allards arranged in a circle for judging. The judges assigned to our class realized the challenge and opportunity presented to them, as they were not familiar with Allards in much detail prior to the announcement of the class at this year’s Concours. We appreciate the considerable time and effort studying up on Allards beforehand.

They spent approximately 15 minutes judging each car, checking all aspects from operational gauges and lights, to the ability of the car to actually run, and making special effort to ascertain what features were actually original to each car. Quite an undertaking considering the wide array of Allard models present with cars ranging from the one-off M-Type coupe to an L, M’s, a K1, K2’s, a K3, J2’s and J2X’s. Ted Bernstein’s J2X was declared the class winner, with Tom Shelton’s J2 the class runner-up. The judges had a challenging task – complicated by the need to choose between fully-restored cars vs. highly original drivers, and also a couple of extremely rare examples.

Saturday evening the Allard contingent was among select invitees to Tom and Connie Jones’ auto collection, housed in a lovely warehouse complete with a fully-stocked and staffed bar displaying Tom’s wonderful toy collection. We were served what they called ‘heavy hors d’oeuvres’, which I called a buffet dinner, complete with mason-jar deserts of either strawberry shortcake or banana pudding! Surrounded by fabulous cars, motorcycles, and artwork, and no shortage of whatever chosen beverage anyone desired, we all had a wonderful evening enjoying the Jones’ southern hospitality.

Sunday morning was the Concours Tour d’Elegance, but only 2 Allards were present – the K1 of Jerry Bensinger, and my K2. The rest of the Allard crowd missed a grand drive, with a mid-point stop to get an amazing demonstration of glass-blowing. Our final stop was at the historic Boone Tavern for a delightful buffet lunch, with time to wander around the tavern before heading back to Lexington on our own schedules (and routes). All-in-all, a wonderful way to wrap up the Allard weekend, and a chance to look forward to our next gathering, wherever it may be!

PART II, By Jere Krieg

“Doc” Doolittle of Tellico Village Vintage Car Club made me aware of this gathering at Keeneland Race Course, and I was impressed. About 4 months ago I decided to travel to Lexington and meet with Tom Jones (no, the other Tom Jones), and came away with what I thought would be a good fit for Allard owners. This was their 14th year of supporting the Children’s Hospital in Lexington. Featured automobiles this year were British – so why not Allards? 

After sending out an email on our Yahoo account, I began contacting everyone I could this side of Texas and Oklahoma, and I received enough interest to continue.  As a result I heard from 15 members who thought of joining this event.  I would like to report Tom &Terri Shelton, Terrill & Gloria Underwood, Peter & Gretchen Koch, Peter & Nica Bowman, Roger Allard, Mike & Dawn Fisher, Ted & Luzia Bernstein, Ted Bernstein Jr, Mark Moskowitz, George & Susan Hofer, Jerry Bensinger and – of course Julie & Jere Krieg – were registered for the Concours.

With twelve Allards present we had the largest individual class in Keeneland Concours’ history. A lot more people now know what an Allard looks like. We had two M’s, two J2X’s, two K1’s, a J2, a K2, two K3’s and a special bodied M-type coupe (it looked like a P1 to me). The twelfth Allard was the new Mark III that Roger Allard brought for inspection. 

If eleven Allards had been ‘no shows’ I would have left with several pieces of silver. However that was not to be - Ted Bernstein won our class with his J2X Allard and Tom Shelton came in runner up with his J2. Great job.

During the weekend, I was approached by two other gentlemen who inquired about having Allards present at their Concours next year. I will present more details when I visit these locations to see what they have for our club.

Tom and Connie Jones were fantastic hosts. It began Thursday afternoon with a Bourdon tour. Friday evening’s focus was a benefit reception with the theme  “End of Prohibition”. Saturday’s Concours included lunch for all contestants, and culminated with a private reception held by our Chairman and his wife. This presented an opportunity for us to enjoy his fantastic car collection, along with all the things a reception needs to have – great company, great food and, of course, great beverages. I truly believe that it will be a real challenge for other Concours’ to top the hospitality and organization of this event went.

Thank you to all at Keeneland for an unforgettable weekend.

The Last Checkered Flag - Bill Pollack

It’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to the last of the great Allard racers. Bill Pollack took his last checkered flag in July 16 at the age of 92. Bill was born on July 7, 1925 in New York to Lew and Helen Pollack. The family moved out west when Bill was ten, as his father became a noted Hollywood songwriter.

Bill lived a life of adventure throughout his youth – riding his horse all over San Fernando Valley, joy riding in bulldozers, and getting into all sorts of mischief. He joined the Army Air Corps at the age of 18 where he learned to fly in an AT-10, and then graduated to B-24, B-26, and B-29 bombers. Bill never made it overseas and he was sent home after the atom bombs were dropped on Japan. He had hoped to turn his flying experience into a job with TWA, but that was not to be. Bill’s father fell ill and he went back to Los Angeles to be with him. During that time, Bill started courting the love of his life, Bobbi Jean Yoder and he started college at Loyola.

Bill found his next love in 1949 – in the form of a brand new red MG TC. However his family’s limited budget forced him to be satisfied with of a used TC. This car awakened the racer in Bill, and he was in the right place at the right time. The Southern California racing scene was in its infancy and the early drivers became fast friends who would later become legends – Roger Barlow, John Edgar, Johnny von Neumann, Jack Early, Al Moss, and Phil Hill. Much like the AT-10, the MG served as Bill’s trainer before he transitioned into some faster wheels.

Bill heard through Al Moss that a guy named Tom Carstens from Tacoma, Washington had bought an Allard and wanted to go racing as an owner. Bill called Tom and somehow convinced Tom that he would be the perfect driver for his J2. In reality Bill had never actually driven an Allard, but he had ridden in an Allard, for a test drive around the block with Allard distributor Noel Kirk. Bill was lucky to connect with Tom, as he and his team really knew how to prepare a thoroughbred sports racing car.

On May 27, 1951, the world was introduced to Tom Carstens’ gleaming black Allard J2 #14 – and driver Bill Pollack – at the Pebble Beach Road Races. Ironically, Bill was only introduced to #14 the day before during the test drive when he punched it and almost drove it off of HWY 1 into the Pacific Ocean. What power! Bill easily won the race and continued winning at Reno, Pebble Beach again, Golden Gate, and Madera.

Bill and #14 finally lost to Phil Hill at Pebble Beach in 1953. The car was experiencing trouble with the left front brake which limited Bill to third place. After the race, Bill and mechanic Charles Drucker took the car out to diagnose the problem when an axle snapped, sending #14 and its occupants into a pine tree. Bill and Charles survived, but #14 was a ‘goner’. Bill and #14 were so famous that Auto Sportsman Magazine eulogized the end of this racing partnership (August ’53, see below). From there Bill moved on to successfully race Jaguars, Ferraris, Alfas, Corvettes, and Maseratis – along with a variety of specials. Bill was good and he could have been great, but he had a family that he loved, and he enjoyed his life as an amateur racer.

While #14 was deemed a ‘goner’ – this part of the story does have a postscript. David Brodsky found #14’s remains sometime in the 1980’s, and gave the car an accurate and painstaking restoration. He thus proceeded to re-introduce it at the 1989 Monterey Historics with none other than Bill Pollack at the wheel. Bill also given the honor to serve as pilot for this iconic Allard at the 1990 Monterey Historics, when Allard was the featured marque.

As a child, Bill used to build elaborate racetracks for his toy cars in the dirt of the family ranch. Bill later got to live out one of his childhood fantasies when he was asked to design the new Willow Springs Raceway just north of LA in 1952. Bill’s family revealed that he later admitted he didn’t really know what he was doing. The course was basically limited to where they could get the bulldozer to on the various hills around the track. Willow Springs may not have the prestige of Laguna Seca or Watkins Glen, but it’s believed by many to be one of the best tracks in America – and its layout has never been altered. 

Bill worked a variety of jobs relating to advertising and marketing. He actually got his start in advertising with the legendary Pete Peterson who hired Bill to do advertising for the new magazine Auto Speed and Sport. One of Bill’s racing connections liked what he had done for the Cal Club and other media, so his old racing buddy Jack Nethercutt hired Bill as Vice President of Marketing at Merle Norman Cosmetics.

Bill’s advertising experience must have led to a passion for writing. Over the years, Bill has written numerous short stories and two books. The first book was the self-published novel, “Tanager” – about a whale and a man fighting to save the world. You would be forgiven if you have never heard of this masterpiece – when asked about the book, Bill’s daughters laughed for a good minute. The second book, Bill’s autobiography “Red Wheels and White Sidewalls: Confessions of an Allard Racer” is a must read. This book is an absolute joy to read and it gives a lot of insight into Bill’s amazing life, his humor, 50’s sports car racing, and of course #14.

Sometime in the 80’s Bill, along with Art Evans and Phil Hill, created a non-club called the “Fabulous Fifties”. This unofficial group brought together the racers, mechanics, owners, and enthusiasts from the 1950’s Southern California sports car racing scene and beyond. They would gather periodically at a variety of interesting automotive locations around the LA area and Monterey to bench race and tell tall tales. Allard Register historian Bob Lytle allowed my dad and I to attend some of these events as long as we didn’t make damn fools of ourselves. As a 20 year-old, mechanical engineering student with aspirations of becoming an automotive engineer and Allard racer – I was in heaven!

It’s interesting that Bill really only raced an Allard six times. However those six races had quite the impact on Bill and his life. Bill was a good husband to wife Bobbi, loving father to daughters Mellette and Leslie, friend to many, businessman, author, and story teller. But for most people, he will be known as the guy that raced the black Allard with red wheels and white sidewalls*.

God Speed Bill!

*Why did the car have white sidewall tires? Post WWII, most tires were made from hard, artificial rubber. Prior to WWII Tom Carsten’s bought a warehouse full of white sidewall tires for his travelling salesmen (Tom owned a successful Pork company in the Pacific Northwest). These tires were made from soft, natural rubber which made them very grippy – it was one of the team’s many secrets to their success.

 Auto Sportsman, August 1953

Auto Sportsman, August 1953

 Auto Sportsman, August 1953

Auto Sportsman, August 1953

The Last Checkered Flag - Alan Patterson

It's with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Alan Patterson, an Allard enthusiast of the highest degree. Alan was one of very few Allard owners that could say that they were an original owner. Allard acquired his first Allard, J2X-3072 from Motorsport, Inc. out of Pittsburgh, PA in 1952. He actively raced this car from new, running at Watkins Glen starting in 1954 and then over the years all over the world (see video from Alan racing at Monte Carlo below). Although Alan has owned and raced several other cars over the years; Allard's were always his true love. In addition to 3072, he has also owned another J2X, a J2X Le Mans, and most recently a Clipper and Sydney Allard's GT Coupe which he raced this past year at Monterey. On Friday of race weekend, I had the pleasure of driving around the Laguna Seca roads with Alan in the GT - I even got stuck in the car for 20 minutes after the door latch on my side failed - requiring me to contort my way over the roll cage and through the drivers door - much to the delight of Alan!

In addition to being an Allard enthusiast, Alan was a great guy. He was always happy and ready with a story. At the races, he was always putting around the pits in his green Mini Moke - he even loaned me the keys a few times to take my family around Laguna Seca.

One of Alan's greatest achievements was co-founding the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in 1983. Over the years, the PVGP has raised over $4 million since then...a fact that brought a lot of joy to his heart. Racing must be a genetic trait in the Patterson Clan. In 2016, the Patterson family boasted six family members racing in the PVGP!

Alan was 85 when he passed on June 30. Plans for Alan's Memorial Service are still being finalized. We hope to post a more formal remembrance as more details are known.

Cheers to you Alan and I hope you are having a blast racing the Guv'nor up there!

For Sale: Allard K1-165

We are pleased to present Allard K1-165 for sale. This car was one of the earliest Allards exported to the US. This K1 was one of three cars exported on August 8, 1947 – these were cars 3, 4, and 5 that entered the US.  Our records indicate it was originally painted red with a brown interior.

The seller, John Miauccoro has owned the car for 12 years now, having raced it competitively with the VSCCA for 10 of those years – the owner before had raced it for 7 years prior starting in 2005. It has been raced up front at lime Rock, Watkins Glen New Jersey, and New Hampshire.

Back in 2015, the seller received an email from a gentleman by the name of David Ward he originally found the car in the late 50s and ended up purchasing it in 1960. Dave states that the car has always been green and has always had the small mouth grill.  He first saw the car in Michigan.

The car was on display at the Watkins Glen Auto Museum in the mid-70s where David Ward was the manager of the museum. Mark Perlmen was the previous owner to John and over the past 20 years it has been maintained to pristine condition. All documentation of each owner since Dave Ward will be passed on to the purchaser. 

The engine is a 390 Cadillac and was built by John Harden/Chris Campbell of The Vintage Connection in Oklahoma City. The engine has JE pistons, Eagle forged connecting rods, Competition camshaft, nitrate crank, billet timing gears, ported and relieved heads, high torque starter, and is adapted to a T4 Richmond close ratio transmission. It has custom headers and 350 CFM Carburetors. The engine has been dyno tuned between 362 hp at 6200 RPM and 401 hp at 6200 rpm. Over $23,000 was spent with The Vintage Connection building the motor and transmission. The rear end is a Ford 9 inch with drum brakes. The front brakes are Lincoln drums vintage 1946/48. The suspension has been fine-tuned with special rated springs and revised geometry. The seller states that this is a magnificent handling Allard and that you will enjoy it on both the Road and track.

The car is being offered for $90,000 and it is located in Albany, New York. Interested parties can contact the seller via email.

Model Models

One of our creative readers recently shared one of his latest creations, a 1/43 model of JR-3404. Rodney writes, “I have built models of all types of cars for collectors over the years and confess that I have been looking to build a model of General Curtis Le May’s Cadillac engined JR since seeing it race a few times at the Goodwood Revival. I just love the appearance and sound of this beast of a car.
The only model of the JR that I am aware of was produced by Echoes in 1/43 scale. This has long since been discontinued and despite searching for several years I never managed to find one. That is until a customer mentioned that he had one and kindly gave it to me. The body has been extensively modified and very little of the original kit was used. I didn't have any reference photos of the dashboard so my interpretation is mere guess work. So, after much modification and the help of a great decal printer, I finally had a model of one of my favorite cars. I would be more than interested in purchasing another kit if any of your members have one tucked away (if you have a model that you’d like to discuss with Rodney, click here to contact him).

The model of J2-1578 raced by Sydney Allard & Tom Cole at the 1950 Le Mans car was produced by my very good friend Tim Dyke under the name of M.P.H. Models. Tim is a stickler for accuracy and goes to great lengths to research his projects. These were offered in a very limited edition “as builts” only. They are very, very collectible.”
We reached out to the owner of 1578 to see what he knew of this model. Steve replied, “I helped Tim with the details for the model while I lived in Indonesia.  I also visited him in the UK while there on business for a few months and he gave me a couple of these models.  I also gave him a piece of the original alloy boot cover to cut up and give with each model he sold.  His workshop is the size of my trailer, had a few pints with him at the local pub and road around the countryside with him for a day, neat guy.”
Rodney, thanks for sharing your handy work!

The J2 was built by me, not Tim. I did a couple of jobs for him in exchange for a kit of parts. I am a lucky man as kits were never offered for sale.
At 75 years of age, I generally do not take on new commissions but, if I can help any of your members I will be more than happy to discuss any requests.
In my youth here in the U.K. Allards were not exactly plentiful but secondhand examples were inexpensive and generally not much in demand. I bought my first Triumph TR at the age of 22 and have remained true to the marque ever since. They were practical, easy to maintain and always turned a profit when sold.
Nonetheless, the appeal of big Yank V8s was always a passion for me. I subscribed to Hot Rod Magazine for many years and attended the first two Dragfest in the U.K in the mid 60s. Obviously I saw Sydney Allard race on a few occasions but found the car a little uninteresting compared to those of Garlits, Tommy Ivo etc. The memories of those events will live forever.
— Update from Rodney

Keeneland Concours d’Elegance; July 13-16, 2017

Allard owners have been invited to one of the country’s finest automobile events this summer. The Concours committee has set up a special Allard only class on the show field. Additionally, non-show Allards will be displayed in an area next to the show field. If you feel your Allard is of show quality, you can visit the Keenland Concours web site to download the registration form (note: the registration deadline was March 25 , but you may still be able to register for the Concours).

Jere Krieg has set up a special weekend package for the event that is only available to Allard owners. Here's the itinerary for the weekend:

Friday July 14: Check into the Gratz Park Inn. Allard Reception from 1-4pm (at Gratz). Hanger Bash 7-11pm 

Saturday July 15: Concours-9:00-4:30 includes formal lunch and those who wish alternative events, suggestions will be available at Fridays reception. - * FIELD OPENS AT 6:30AM—PLEASE WEAR PERIOD CORRECT ATTIRE FOR CONCOURSE-JUDGING BEGINS AT 9:00AM

Event Chairman- Tom Jones has invited the Allard Club to a thank you reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverages Saturday evening ( time and place given at Friday reception)

The package price of $625 per couple includes:
2 nights at the Gratz Park Inn**
Concours event with Lunch
2 tickets to the Hanger Bash
Saturday’s Reception
Special Allard Gift for the event
** Rooms are available on a first come, first serve basis due to limited space. 
Rooms available include: King (12), Queen (12), and Doubles (8).

Lexington, Kentucky is centrally located and is one of the great cities in America with lots of things to do from the famous Kentucky Horse Park to the historic Mary Todd Lincoln House. If you are interested in attending, please click here to email Jere Krieg. Please note there will be no refunds after May 15th, 2017

Jere will be there with his freshly restored M Type!