Allard J2: Tom Hawkes: Collingrove Hillclimb 1952…

Graham Smith

Tom Hawkes caresses his powerful Allard around the twisty, challenging gravel confines of South Australia’s Collingrove Hillclimb at its inaugural, public, 15 March 1952 meeting…1st in the over 1500cc Sports Car class. (State Library of South Australia)

Tom Hawkes caresses his powerful Allard around the twisty, challenging gravel confines of South Australia’s Collingrove Hillclimb at its inaugural, public, 15 March 1952 meeting…1st in the over 1500cc Sports Car class. (State Library of South Australia)

Chassis #99/J/1731 fitted with Ford Pilot engine # 5338/26 was the first of 6 Allards imported to Australia, the car arrived in September 1950 to Rube Gardner’s order. Gardner was appointed the local concessionaire having travelled to the UK to do the deal with Allard himself early in 1950. Gardner’s premises were on the Princes Highway, Carlton, a southern Sydney suburb.

Gardner drove the car to the October 1950 Bathurst meeting. He didn’t race, but took it to Mount Panorama for display purposes. The red painted, side valve Ford Pilot engined car immediately impressed Stan Jones, the 1959 Gold Star and Australian Grand Prix Winner and father of 1980 World Champion Alan Jones.

Stan was well aware of the car’s competition record in the UK and US and bought it on his inexorable rise to the top of Australian Motor Racing. I wrote an article about Stan’s career, click on this link to read it; http://primotipo.com/2014/12/26/stan-jones-australian-and-new-zealand-grand-prix-and-gold-star-winner/

The J2 in the Bathurst paddock during Stan Jones ownership at Easter 1951. Color red, ‘standard’ Ford Pilot side-valve spec V8. 5 of the 6 J2’s imported to Australia entered this meeting,3 started! (Ray Eldershaw Collection)

The J2 in the Bathurst paddock during Stan Jones ownership at Easter 1951. Color red, ‘standard’ Ford Pilot side-valve spec V8. 5 of the 6 J2’s imported to Australia entered this meeting,3 started! (Ray Eldershaw Collection)

Jones first J2 competition event was the 1950 Australian Hillclimb Championship at Rob Roy in November, he finished 2nd in his class. In 1951 he raced the car successfully at Rob Roy, at Bathurst he was timed at 104.8mph on ConRod Straight, and at other meetings.

Jones sold the car to Geelong, Victoria, driver  Tom Hawkes in a deal which involved Jones taking over a Cooper MkV 500 Bill Patterson and Hawkes had raced in England in 1951.

Hawkes raced the car in standard form for a while and then engaged Melbourne’s Ern Seeliger to modify it by fitment of an Ardun OHV engine kit and Jaguar 4 speed gearbox with ‘C Type’ ratios, to replace the 3 speed Ford Pilot ‘box.

The tail of the Allard was replaced with a narrower one, the front and rear guards removed and wire wheels adapted to Lancia hubs fitted. The light car now developed circa 300bhp. It was a formidable, noisy and spectacular weapon at the time.

Hawkes ahead of Eldred Norman’s Maserati 6CM at Adelaide’s Sellicks Beach. This meeting in 1953 was the first all car beach program post-War. Sellicks Beach 55 Km from Adelaide. Tom is kicking the tail out, no shortage of power on the soft sand! Eldred Norman and his many cars are fascinating stories for another time. (forum.fefcholden.club)

Hawkes ahead of Eldred Norman’s Maserati 6CM at Adelaide’s Sellicks Beach. This meeting in 1953 was the first all car beach program post-War. Sellicks Beach 55 Km from Adelaide. Tom is kicking the tail out, no shortage of power on the soft sand! Eldred Norman and his many cars are fascinating stories for another time. (forum.fefcholden.club)

Over the next couple of years the J2 competed widely, mainly driven by Hawkes but occasionally by Reg Robbins who maintained it. It was also driven by John Sawyer and Adrian Gundlach. The car raced at Fishermans Bend, in Albert Parks inaugural meeting in 1953 and Rob Roy, all in Victoria. Hawles competed at Collingrove Hillclimb, Sellicks Beach and Port Wakefield in South Australia.

He travelled to New Zealand for the 1954 NZ Grand Prix meeting at Ardmore in January. There the car blew the OHV engine in practice, a stone pierced the radiator with the side valve engine fitted for the race, famously won by Stan Jones in the Maybach. The J2’s Ford engine was brittle and ‘popped’ comprehensively at least 3 times, twice with rod failure, the errant component carving the cast iron block in half on both occasions.

The J2 was quick, it recorded 137 mph on Longfords ‘Flying Mile’ during the 1955 Tasmanian Trophy meeting. Hawkes advertised # 1731 for sale in October 1955 but continued to race it. The car was finally bought by Reg Robbins who had been preparing the car for Hawkes as noted above. He raced it at Phillip Island and Rob Roy in late 1956 and early 1957 respectively before sale to Geoff McHugh in Tasmania.

Melbourne’s Ian McDonald repatriated it from a Tasmanian ‘chook shed’ in 1964, he restored it, a process which took 2 years. He first raced the car in an historic event at an open meeting at Sandown in 1966.

The car has passed through numerous sets of caring hands since then and is still in Australia.

The Hawkes Allard in the Collingrove paddock March 1952. The modifications referred to in the text are not yet evident, this is early in Hawkes ownership of the car. Compare with the other later Collingrove shot below and the Sellicks Beach shot above where the car is running sans guards and with the wire wheels referred to in the text. (State Library of SA)

The Hawkes Allard in the Collingrove paddock March 1952. The modifications referred to in the text are not yet evident, this is early in Hawkes ownership of the car. Compare with the other later Collingrove shot below and the Sellicks Beach shot above where the car is running sans guards and with the wire wheels referred to in the text. (State Library of SA)

This later Collingrove shot in 1954 shows the Hawkes J2 in its later modified form; with Ardun head, ‘skinny tail’, sans guards front and rear and with its wire wheels. (State Library of SA)

This later Collingrove shot in 1954 shows the Hawkes J2 in its later modified form; with Ardun head, ‘skinny tail’, sans guards front and rear and with its wire wheels. (State Library of SA)

Butt shot showing the Hawkes J2’s modified tail, fuzzy shot but modifications clear; #1731 sans guards, wire wheels. On ‘The Wall’. (Collingrove Hillclimb)

Butt shot showing the Hawkes J2’s modified tail, fuzzy shot but modifications clear; #1731 sans guards, wire wheels. On ‘The Wall’. (Collingrove Hillclimb)

Graham is the current caretaker of J2-1731. The car has been restored and is actively raced in Australia. The car retains Ford power, albeit with a set of ARDUN heads.

For Sale: Allard K3-3191 @ Bonhams

-Chuck Warnes

I virtually stumbled across this ‘basket case’ in ’84. It was essentially a frame, front suspension and a very battered but complete body – with the original number plate for chassis 3191. A disassembled and incomplete 331 Hemi came along with the deal. A couple of the first Allard owners I met expressed the opinion that a K3 was not worth restoring.

            This feedback, coupled with the 1954 Road & Track road test on a K3 led me to go the direction of building it up as a ‘driver’, rather than a show car or racer. I chose to address a number of R&T criticisms by using a sturdier transmission (4 speed Muncie), adjustable bucket seating, and a 22 gallon fuel cell in lieu of the pair of 6 gallon fuel tanks. Over the next 22 years we were fortunate to come across an array of critical parts including the deDion tube with splined hubs, a full windshield and steering wheel/gear. We were able to obtain a newly machined set of front splined hubs from retired Allard engineer Dudley Hume.

            We still needed a differential. After considerable networking we found a source that re-machined a Ford ‘banjo’ housing to accommodate the innards of a Ford 8-inch (early Mustang) differential, with inboard Mustang drum brakes. The wiring harness was a mess, so a local hot rod shop re-wired our car with a basic Chevy negative ground wiring system. The suspended pedal cluster from a 70’s vintage Chevy Nova fit very well, and it incorporated a dual master cylinder.

            In the course of the project I found a complete and running 392 Hemi, which I decided to use instead of the 331. Jack Anderson and I made our ‘shake-down’ run up to Yosemite with our two K3’s in ’05, at which time the 392 chose to die right in front of Yosemite’s iconic Ahwahnee Hotel. This led to Jack’s offer to supervise my engine rebuild project over the next couple months. At that time we reduced the compression to allow it to run in regular gas.

            I roughly estimate that stripping the body netted 20+ pounds of body filler and at least  six paint layers/colors. We refabricated 15-20 square feet of body panels. Most of the hardware for the top was missing – and in light of mixed reports about the folding top and side windows on K3, we opted to build it up as a ‘barchetta’ with no top or side windows.

            The net result was a very pleasant and reliable car that is a real kick to drive. I estimate that we have driven the car about 5000-6000 miles (including the 2006 Allard Northwest Tour) since the rebuild. It was our intent to keep 3191 ‘forever’ – which we would have, had it not been for the J2X LeMans project.

            A deal was made in 2013 to trade the K3 for a very rough J2X Le Mans. The gentleman who we traded the car to was a long-time Allard enthusiast that was looking for a comfortable and reliable driver – and he wanted to find a good home for the Le Mans. Unfortunately the owner passed away this spring. His family decided to sell most of his collection, which led to 3191 appearing at this years’ Bonhams Auction.

            3191 was shipped on April 24, 1953 to British Motor Car Company in Oakland, CA. The car was originally painted silver-grey with a red interior and configured for a Chrysler Hemi. The car was originally sold to H. Longren of Oakland, but other than that, very little is known of the ownership history.

            The car is being offered at Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction on August 15 as Lot #4 with no reserve. The estimated value is $100,000 to $120,000. To learn more about the car, click here to visit the Bonhams web site.

The K1 Restoration Resumed – At Last !

-Mel Herman

A few years ago I bought a K1 - KWJ 770 chassis number 458 back in March 2007 and promptly started to strip it down for rebuilding. All was going well and the chassis rebuild progressed with much speed until….. we decided to sell our house and build a new one .

Those of you who have ever embarked on such a task or have ever watched the agonies of those participating in such an endeavor will know that what you hope (and pray) will be a straightforward and enjoyable exercise never usually is.

Now my background is architecture and construction so you would think (well we did anyway) that we wouldn’t fall into the pitfalls of others – no such thing! What started and received planning permission as a single story house with a roof height restriction very quickly became something larger and more complex. A first floor was added by further excavation and lowering the ground floor, adding complications with retaining walls, adjusting surrounding garden and patio levels etc, etc, etc.

Having excavated further into the ground I then decided (or was encouraged by friends) to construct a wine cellar - it would have been cheaper to have bought a vineyard in France.

I won’t go on, but suffice to say the house is now finished, we love it, but at the time it put paid to the K’s continuing restoration…we had other things to occupy us.

Whilst all this was going on I made the decision to fit a Cadillac 331 engine into the car. I prised one from Dean Butler who had just bought it on Ebay in the ‘States, was an unknown and would likely need a complete rebuild so I approached Neil (Biggles) Bennet to rebuild it for me to hot road spec.

Neil had rebuilt the Frenchie I have in my M type and is a whizz at hotting up flatheads. He holds a class record at Prescott and races at Pendine Sands with “Boz” his famous Flathead powered Batten Special . When asked whether he would be interested in rebuilding my ohv Cad engine he immediately agreed.

He goes about things thoroughly with considerable thought, enthusiasm and an abundance of technical ability and the first thing he wanted to know was what I wanted to use the car for. “Hillclimbing” was my immediate response. Now I’ve never competed on track but having watched my Allard buddies (and Biggles) competing at Prescott and Shelsley I thought I must have a go, it looks fun.

Whilst we were involved with our house build, Biggles researched the Cad rebuild and we agreed on the final spec. I wanted a good, reasonably fast and hopefully reliable engine with enough torque to hopefully worry Dave Loveys up the hills.

In February I collected my “New” engine. New ? I think it is better than new:

  • Engine stripped and chemically cleaned.
  • Rebored and crank reground.
  • Heads leveled.
  • New forged 2618 alloy Venolia pistons heat treated to T6 for extra strength.
  • CR increased to 10:1
  • Stronger valve springs.
  • Fast road camshaft.
  • Lightened flywheel.
  • Electronic distributor.
  • Holley 650 carb.
  • Mild head porting.
  • Fitted with a purpose made “Rattler” Torsion Vibration Absorber.
  • Whole rotating assembly dynamically balanced. (You can see a short video on YouTube of my engine on the balancing rig. https://youtu.be/_8zE79mI_b8)

I also decided to fit a Jaguar gearbox and was fortunate in being able to tease a bellhousing adaptor and adaptor plate from James Smith to this end. I took the gearbox to Biggles for rebuilding as well and the whole assembly is now in the rebuilt chassis and looks fantastic with it’s polished aluminium rocker covers.

The bodywork has gone off to be stripped and a new scoop put in the bonnet (Holley needs headroom) and I need to get a new wiring loom from Autosparks then the next stage can continue – don’t hold your breath for the next episode though I’m also refurbishing a boat .

That’s all Folks, for now!

The Revs Digital Library

William Hewitt Collection, courtesy of the REVS Program at Stanford

William Hewitt Collection, courtesy of the REVS Program at Stanford

The Internet has done amazing things for the car culture. Need help restoring a car? We now have access to vendors from around the world that can supply all the parts to restore and keep our cars running. Need to research the history of your car? No need to hire a Private Investigator; just go to the Internet! Looking for old photos of your car? Now you can easily find them online at the REVS Program, courtesy of Stanford University. Several notable photographers have donated their archives to REVS and rather than locking them away in a vault forever, the  archivists are scanning those images and posting them online in a searchable image database! The database already contains several thousand photos, with at least a few hundred Allard's in there. We say at least because we've found a number of photos featuring Allards that haven't been tagged "Allard" yet. We even found a few photos of our J2X Le Mans racing at Moffett Field in 1953 (see above)! You can purchase any of the photos for a nominal fee, which helps to cover the costs of scanning the images, storage, web access, etc. If you've got some time to kill, click here to visit their digital archive.

Whimsey Racing Team’s Season Opener

hershey by hyman

hershey by hyman

           The Whimsey Racing Allard team has only fielded one car so far this season, as team driver Mike Donick has yet to be available. He’s been otherwise occupied leading a two car Toyota Scion team in left coast endurance racing. He and the team have done exceptionally well, including a first overall, and new lap record in a recent outing at Buttonwillow CA. That’s wonderful and his father is proud – but it doesn’t do much for his Allard team, does it?

            With the “young gun” not available, the old guy has been on his own with the J2 while the K2 has sat in reserve.

            The opening race of our season was the annual VSCCA/Jaguar Club event at Lime Rock Park in early June. The weather was pretty close to perfect, and the entry list was nicely filled out. Yrs Trly hadn’t been out in a wheel-to-wheel event in over a year, as weather last season failed to cooperate on the appropriate weekends. There have been a number of hillclimbs with reasonable success in the interim.  

            The J2 was assigned to Group 4, a gaggle of mostly early to mid-fifties sporty cars that included MGAs, a couple of Alfas and Porsches, the usual Healey contingent, and several well prepared Morgans.

            Mike DiCola had hoped to freshen the heads on the J2’s Cadillac, but time wasn’t available so we gave the rest of the car the once over and off we went. Practice went better than expected, and we managed to lower our lap times pretty consistently throughout the two practice sessions. The tyres seemed to be working pretty well by the time we had warmed them – and our self – up. There is currently a shortage of Dunlop L-series racing tyres, so we are running on a set that have a couple seasons on them. That would come back to haunt us at the next event – but more on that anon…

            Practice showed that we’d have to find a way to fairly quickly deal with a very hot little Bug-eye Sprite that was all over the Allard in the corners, and might prove difficult to get by unless I can hold him in a corner that leads to one of the straights. A well-driven Morgan looked like he could be a problem as well.  

lime rock by dow smith

lime rock by dow smith

            The first race saw the Allard gridded seventh, but that wasn’t a great worry. For reasons I can’t explain, I’m usually faster in a race than I am in practice. With the green flag, we worked our way through the pack after holding back from the first corner scrum. No reason to finish my first race in over a year with an accident in the first turn. Holding back cost some time, but by the end of the race the J2 was in second place behind a Frazer-Nash LeMans Replica and the Sprite.  One more lap and the Sprite would have been mine. Still, third wasn’t too bad.  

            The second race found the J2 on the outside of the front row for the pace lap (the guy with the Frash had suffered an accident at the wheel of another car and was out). The inside, or pole position, was taken by the Sprite. The start would depend entirely on when the starter showed the green flag. The earlier he shows it as the pack comes down the main straight, the more time there is for the Allard’s horsepower to make itself known before the first turn. As fate would have it, he held it as long as he dared because he has known me for years and knew what the Allard would do in the drag race to the turn. There was still enough time for the Caddie’s horses to make themselves known. Leading through the first turn, we let the lads behind us sort themselves out. The rest of the race was watching the mirrors, and keeping the speed fast enough to hold off the Morgan that had gotten past the Sprite in the first turn – and then hold off the other chargers while Yrs Trly and the Allard disappeared through the second turn. First overall was a welcome result. Mike DiCola builds a good car and a great engine.

Hershey by hyman

Hershey by hyman

            The second event came later in the month with the annual Hershey Hillclimb, also called “The Grand Ascent at Hershey”. This is a seven tenths of a mile sprint up a very narrow access road to the Hotel Hershey. “Narrow” in this case, means less than twenty feet wide. The course has been run for enough years that it holds a special place in Pennsylvania hill climbing history.  I first came there in the fall of 1970.

              Snaking through the trees that come right down to the edge of the road is not exactly what an Allard J2 was designed to do. We like wide sweeping turns and an open track for best result. Still the J2 has proven successful here over the last few years. We’re always in the top five, and that is ahead of any number of Loti and other nimbler beasties. A couple of seconds short of a minute is a very good time for anybody here at Hershey. We usually do about a 58 second run before all is said and done. This year wasn’t meant to be, though. All but uncontrollable wheel spin at the start was quickly traced to having worn most of the last of the tread from the rear tyres at the Lime Rock event. Dropping the pressure to 22 psi back there pretty much solved that problem and all was seeming well with the world. Well on the way to winning class 2, though, we heard what sounded like a very expensive noise from the engine compartment. Fortunately it happened crossing the finish line so it was a no-brainer to shut down quickly and just roll down the back side of the hill. While the very loud “rap, rap, rap” sound suggested a rod had let go, inspection proved that we broke a rocker arm for the rear cylinder on the right hand bank. The noise was that cylinder blowing back through the intake after firing.   

            As Chester A. Riley once said: “What a revoltin’ development dis is”. He was right. 

            The car will be back before the end of the season with freshened heads and two new tyres at the stern. Watch this space.        

-Jim Donick

Hershey by hyman

Hershey by hyman

Chasing Classic Cars!

In case you missed it, the best episode of Chasing Classic Cars aired last week. Why was it the best? The show featured Bill Bauder's J2X, affectionately known as "the Bitch". Bill's not shy about admitting that he's getting older and that it's been getting harder for him to drive the car, especially for longer periods. Well, Bill's son in law decided to contact Wayne Carini from the TV show "Chasing Classic Cars" and told him that Bill was interested in selling his J2X. Wayne jumped at the chance to buy a J2X before it came on the market* and flew out to Bill's house in Texas. Wayne went for a drive in the car and was hooked...the only problem? Bill wasn't ready to sell. I spoke with Bill the other day and he recounted that he and "the Bitch" had been together for over 50 years...he just couldn't bear to part with her. After agonizing over it for a few weeks, Bill realized the J2X needed to go to a new home. Bill called Wayne and the deal was done (last December!).

While talking with Bill, I asked his impression of the episode and how accurate the meeting at his house was presented. He said the episode accurately represented their meeting, but it was obviously shorter than the few hours they spent together. They gave him one weeks notice before Wayne and the crew came out - Bill also had no idea that Wayne was coming to hopefully buy the car! A few interesting 'behind the scenes' notes from the show...

  1. The car has a "the Bitch" decal on the driver's side of the car...the decal was blurred out during the show and no reference was given to the nickname...it is a family show.
  2. The engine was referred to as a Ford V8, but no specifics were given. In reality it's a surplus Holman Moody V8 that was sold after NASCAR changed the regulations. Bill doesn't have official proof that it's an HM engine, but he said that it came in a Holman Moody crate! I'm sure Wayne can find out if the engine is authentic by tracking the serial number.
  3. When Wayne took delivery of the car, there was two feet of snow on the ground...clearly the segment below was filmed a few months after delivery!

If you get a chance, check your TV listing on the Velocity Channel to catch a rerun of the episode. If you can't find it on TV, you can watch a short clip from the show below. I'm sure a copy of the full episode will show up on YouTube soon. You should take some time to watch the episode, it's a emotional show and you really get a sense for how much Bill loved his J2X. Bill said that Wayne told him he intends to keep the car as part of his collection, we hope he does! However, Wayne does sell cars for a living, so you never know...

*Note: We have currently have a list of six people that are seriously interested in buying J2X's. If you are thinking about selling your car. Click here to let us know.

 

Watkins Glen, 1952

Here's some really good video of the 1952 Grand Prix of Watkins Glen. The first half of the video is for the Queen Catherine Cup for small displacement cars. The last half of the video is from the infamous Grand Prix race that features several Allards. You will recall that this is the race where Fred Wacker accidentally hit a young boy that was standing too close to the course. This video includes footage of the cars stationary after the race was stopped. 

Elkhart Lake - 2015

Elkhart Lake, WI...home to some of the hottest sports car racing in the Midwest. First on the open roads of Elkhart Lake from 1950 to 1952 and then migrating to Road America, a purpose built race track in 1955. The track, nestled in the hills between Milwaukee and Green Bay, is known as one of the most challenging and beautiful tracks in North America...oh, and they serve Bratwurst! This September 18-20, Allard will be the featured marque at the VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival. Andy Picariello (event organizer extraordinaire) from the Allard Owners Club reports that over twenty Allard's could be there, with at least six racing. A number of notable cars should be in attendance, including Fred Wacker's 8 Ball and Carroll Shelby's J2X.

If you are interested in racing, please click here to email Andy, he will send you the racing forms separately.

If you are interested in attending with your Allard for display and touring, please click here and fill out the forms and mail them back to Andy with a check made out to the VSCDA. The base entry is $115 plus $60 if you are attending with a partner. This will cover the track entry for the weekend and track parking for your Allard, the Friday night dinner and car display, the Saturday road course re-enactment and street show, track touring, Sunday track parade lap, and event poster. For the Saturday night dinner, Allard attendees will be seated together for this event. If you wish to attend, add $40 per person. If you wish to have the track tour with your Allard on both days, add an additional $40.

If you plan to attend without your Allard, the package cost will be $60 per person, plus any extras such as the Sunday night dinner, track touring or Road Course re-enactment with your car (no trucks, SUV's or Mini Vans).

There is no host hotel, but a listing of area hotels is included with registration forms..

THE REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS JUNE 15!

May 19 Update from Andy: Jere has reserved the "Saloon" at Siebken's restaurant for an Allard dinner on Saturday, the 19th of September. This will take the place of the  Saturday night dinner with Bob Tillius. If you have already paid for this, and want to go to the Allard dinner, let Andy know, and he will arrange for a refund. If you have not already submitted your forms and check to Andy, please do so soon! (Racers excepted) We'll let the racers know when their forms are available online.

(Mini Update: If you want to attend the Saturday night dinner with Bob Tillius, a number of Allard owners will be attending that event, while others are attending the Siebken's dinner. Feel free to attend whatever event interests you must...just let Andy know.

VSCDA RACER REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

June 11 Update from Andy: the VSCDA has opened up registration for racers. Please click here to access the VSCDA web site to access the registration info. The deadline to register is Monday September 20, 2015. If you own an Allard that is race ready, we hope that you will enter.. There has been a serious lack of racing Allards on the tracks, we hope that you'll help reverse that trend!

Mystery Car...

This mystery car was sent to us by Mr. Hawkes in the UK. He found the photo above here, which claims that the car is a 1952 Allard Special. If you squint, the car looks kind of like an edgier representation of a M2 or P2 with the inset headlamps. The car bears the registration number "MYP 515" in both photos. If you know anything about this car or what it is, please click here to send us a note or leave a comment.

The Tire Story

One of the most common questions we get asked is, "what tires should I buy for my Allard?" Unfortunately you're going to have to answer that question yourself, but well try to give you some guidance. There are two main options when it comes to selecting a set of tires for your Allard...bias-ply (aka cross-ply) tires or radial tires. Once you've selected which type of tire you want, then there are a variety of brands and tread types you can select from. This article attempts to summarize the differences between the two types of tires, outline the various tires available, and share recommendations that we've received from various Allard owners over the years. Through this information, we hope to help you make an informed decision when it comes time to buy your next set of tires.

Before delving into the exciting world of tire types, sizes, and ratings; we recommend that you check the age of your tires. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) recommends that you should not drive on tires more than 10 years old, less if they are stored in a hot and dry environment. The DOT has mandated that all tires have the date they were manufactured stamped into the sidewall. For tires made after 2000, the date will be the last four digits of the 11-digit code stamped on your tires. The first two digits are the week of the year and the last two represent the year; for example 3208 means the tires were made in the 32nd week of 2008. For tires older than 2000, the date will be the last three digits of the 10-digit code. The first two digits are again the week of the year and the last digit represents the year (yes a 5 could be 1995, 1985, or even 1985. If you have tires with a 3-digit date code, you should buy new tires NOW. If you buy new tires and they are more than 2 years old, you should ask for a replacement set or a generous discount. If possible, ask the tire shop what the age of your new tires is before you buy them.

POST 2000 Tire: 5107 = 51st week of 2007

POST 2000 Tire: 5107 = 51st week of 2007

pre 2000 tire: 408 = 40th week of 1998? 1988? 1978?

pre 2000 tire: 408 = 40th week of 1998? 1988? 1978?

When starting your search for tires, you need to know what size you need. The standard tire size for most Allards is based on a 16" diameter wheel with a rim width of 4.5. For bias-ply tires, the size is listed as either 600-16 or 600H16, where 600 (or 6) is the tire cross section width, 16 is the rim diameter, and H is the speed rating. Radial tire sizes can get a bit more confusing; they are often called out as 185R-16, where 185 means width in mm, R means Radial, and 16 is the rim diameter. Sometimes, you will see the tire size listed 165/80R16, where the 80 is the aspect ratio meaning that the tire height is 80% of the tire width (165 x 80% = 132mm). When not listed, it is assumed the aspect ratio is 100% (tire width = tire height).

Speed ratings are the maximum speed that the tire is rated for. Common speed ratings for Allard tires include P = 93 mph, S = 112 mph, H = 130 mph, V = 149, and W = 168. Unless you are Jim Tiller, you really dont need anything rated higher than an H, but it wont hurt. A higher speed rating doesnt mean that a tire is better or worse, it just means that it has been tested to safely withstand that particular maximum speed. Some tires dont include a speed rating, which means their manufacturer hasnt tested them for maximum speed (likely not DOT rated). These tires may be fine for the street but should not be raced.

You should also pay attention to whether or not your tires are DOT rated. Many bias-ply tires do not have a DOT rating. This doesnt mean that the tire is unsafe; it just means that they were not required to pass the DOTs stringent road tests that modern radials are subjected to. The tires listed in this article have been on the market for a while and have been proven safe. However if you were involved in an accident thats tire related, you shouldnt be surprised if your insurance company looks into what tires are on your car. Please note that the tire info on our table is based on what we could glean from various web sites, which dont always note if a tire is DOT rated.


Bias-Ply vs. Radial Tires:

Bias-ply tire construction

Bias-ply tire construction

Bias-ply tires were invented back in 1898 by the Goodyear tire company. The tire is given strength by layers of plies (belts) that are embedded into the rubber. The plies are laid at an alternating diagonal pattern on the bias of the bead cord, creating a crisscross pattern.  In bias-ply tires, the tread and sidewalls share the same plies or casing, which mean the sidewalls are relatively thick when compared to radial tires. The strong sidewalls of bias-ply tires require less air pressure than radials.

PRO

  • Lower cost than radial
  • Cushioned, smoother ride than radials
  • All sidewall flexing is transmitted to the tread
  • Lighter steering feel than radials
  • Progressive break-away during cornering

CON

  • Higher friction compared to radials (resulting in higher fuel consumption)
  • Faster wear compared to radials
  • More sensitive to overheating
  • Will flat-spot after sitting for a while (goes away after a mile or two)
  • Prone to wandering
radial tire construction

radial tire construction

Radial tires were pioneered by Michelin with their X tires in 1948. In radial tires, the ply cords radiate at a 90° angle from the bead cord, while the tread casing is strengthened by belts of steel fabric that run around the circumference of the tire. Generally radial tires require higher air pressure because the sidewalls are comparatively thinner than with bias-ply tires.

PRO

  • Improved traction due to flat stable crown & larger footprint
  • Lower friction due to better distribution of pressure in footprint (resulting in lower fuel consumption)
  • Longer tread life
  • Comfort & handling on the road
  • Less wandering, straighter tracking

CON

  • Higher cost than bias-ply
  • Faster break-away during cornering
  • “Heavier steering feel
  • Firm ride

We were surprised to find that the DOT has weighed in on the topic of bias-ply vs radial tires…”Radial tires provide better tread contact with the pavement since their sidewalls are more flexible in the lateral direction than bias ply tires. Accordingly, radial tires can generate about twice the lateral force as bias ply tires.  However, drivers get feedback from their tires and drive vehicles with different types of tires in different ways around corners.  [Bias-ply] tires provide more feedback to the driver by feel and noise that the vehicle might not negotiate a curve, and the driver can sometimes slow down and correct the situation before going off the road.  While radial tires generate more lateral forces, they do not provide progressive feedback to the driver and tend to lose traction without as much warning.  In essence, drivers have learned how to go around entrance and exit ramps, and other curves, on highways at a higher rate of speed with radial tires.  However, if the road is wet and their tire pressure is low, then they might have problems taking that curve at the same speed. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/rulings/TirePresFinal/FEA/TPMS4.html

So whats our recommendation? As youve read, theres no clear cut winner when it comes to comparing bias-ply vs. radial tires. It all comes down to what you want to do with your car. If you are going to vintage race, youll likely be required to use bias-ply tires. If you are going to drive the car a lot on the road, then radials are likely the best choice. Finally, if you are going to do car shows and originality is your aim, then you should probably have a set of bias-plies on your Allard.


Available Tires:

avon turbosteel; radial

avon turbosteel; radial

avon turbospeed; bias-ply

avon turbospeed; bias-ply

blockley; bias-ply

blockley; bias-ply

blockley; radial

blockley; radial

dunlop rs5; bias-ply

dunlop rs5; bias-ply

Excelsior stahl sport; radial

Excelsior stahl sport; radial

coker classic / firestone blackwall;; bias-ply

coker classic / firestone blackwall;; bias-ply

firestone cavallino; radial

firestone cavallino; radial

michelin x; radial

michelin x; radial

michelin pilote sport

michelin pilote sport

Pirelli cinturato; radial

Pirelli cinturato; radial

vredestein sprint classic; radial

vredestein sprint classic; radial


Owners Opinions:

I have had good experience with Bolckleys. I have gotten far more mileage out of them than the over-priced Dunlops. And, the Dunlops are not legal for road use everywhere because their side walls are so thin. The Blockleys have stiffer side walls, and they are far better than Dunlops in the rain.
D.B.
-------------
I too, run the Blockleys but 6.00X 16 all around. They look great, don't 'track' on road irregularities but do suffer from flat spotting if left for any period of time.I thought I had something falling off the car the first time I ran them! This problem goes away after a mile or so. They also whine on some road surfaces.
R-M-E
-----------
Blockleys feel much more 'planted' and far less nervous than the Dunlops when used on the road. I also forgot to say that I run slightly wider wheels on the rear with a tad more offset too, in order to use the 6.50 versions without them bulging too much or rubbing the inside of the arch.
I have never used radials on the J2X but have had reports that they can make the steering heavier, certainly on cross-ply tyres the steering on the car is delightful when under-way.
The flat spotting seems to get less with use and wear but they can be slightly alarming for the first mile or two especially when nearly new and if the car has sat for a week or so.
If you drive in a 'spirited' manner I can report that the Blockleys hang on well and then break loose gradually for a lovely drift. (I found this out on the track of course.... Cough, cough)
J.T.
----------
The Blockleys look great and have a lot more tread than the Dunlops. Dunlop tires are, frankly, a rip off. They have a monopoly for racing, granted by the FIA, so they get away with outrageous prices. Dunlops are actually cheaper in the USA than in the UK for this reason – more competition in the USA, as with most everything.
I have run Blockleys for racing but was not happy with them – more crown than with the Dunlops. But, the Blockleys would be a better road tire. Also, I suggest you look into the period looking tires made by Coker Tire Company. They look good in photos and are far less expensive than Dunlops and even Blockleys. I do not have experience with their performance.
D.B.
---------
Take a look at the Excelsior Stahl Sport Radial at Coker Tire - radial but bias ply look. I bought a set for my K3 but have not yet tried them (it is still being restored).
D.S.
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I fitted Michelin Pilote radials on my J2 rep FPN 300. They grip like hell and don't seem to wear out. They have the old Englebert racing tread pattern so look right as well.
T.B.
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The Avon Turbosteels are ideal if you want to go racing, they're very popular with the classic racing fraternity as they have a fairly soft compound that gets quite sticky when driven hard. They only come in 16" diameter but you probably have standard 16" wheels anyway. I have 15" wheels on  my car but if I had 16s I would definitely use them. I'm using Avon Turbospeeds on my K2 which are OK but not great for competition.
J.C.
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I have found cross-plies to "white-line" on the road. Even with front axle toe-in carefully set, the car will wander more without a doubt. Radials are, I think, better for road use. I bought a set of Vredesteins (they were cheapest! [in the UK]) and found the car to be much nicer on the road in general, but mainly because it felt less nervous at the front.  They will also last longer.  If you can afford them, Vintage Tyre Supplies reckons the Michelins are the best. You can still get the Avon Turbosteel in 16 inch...a bloody good tyre.
The Dunlop cross-plies look more authentic though. If you are circuit racing, I think the cross-plies are very good, though we tend have no choice for racing in the UK, as they are effectively the control tyre.
T.W.
--------
I've had Dunlop RS5’s on the L for ages now. Not too heavy on the steering, nice progressive characteristics if you push on.
Try not to be swayed by those who shout RADIAL at you!  I've run the car on both types and the car feels so much more ‘right’ on the crossplies that it was designed for.
J.T.
--------
In the UK we have to use these [Dunlop] for racing, and they are good grippy tyres, but on the road they follow white lines in a big way and cause the car to wander a fair bit. If I was just doing road miles I would go for a radial in similar size. They are not cheap (certainly in Europe anyway )!
T.W.


Tire Suppliers:

Coker Tire
Chattanooga, TN & City of Industry, CA, USA
Tel: 888-648-3361
www.cokertire.com

Britain West Motorsport
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Tel: 519-756-1610
www.britainwestmotorsport.com

Lucas Classic Tires
Long Beach, CA, USA
Tel: 800-952-4333
www.lucasclassictires.com

Frisby Performance Tire
South Beloit, IL, USA
Tel: 815-525-7050
www.frisbyracetire.com

SASCO Sports
Alton, VA, USA
Tel: 434-822-7200
www.sascosports.com

Roger Kraus Racing Enterprises
Castro Valley, CA, USA
Tel: 510-582-5031
www.rogerkrausracing.com

Blockley Tyre (UK)
Gloucestershire, UK
Tel: 01386 701717
www.blockleytyre.com

Universal Vintage Tire
Hershey, PA, USA
Tel: 717-534-0715
www.universaltire.com

Longstone Classic tyres
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK
Tel: 0044 1302 714072
www.longstonetyres.co.uk

Classic Tyres
Beaulieu, Hampshire, UK
Tel: 01590 614972
www.classictyres.com

Vintage Tyre Supplies Ltd.
The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire, UK
Tel: 01590 612261
www.vintagetyres.com

Techno Classica Essen April 15 - 19, 2015

Dear Allard Owners,
If you happen to be in Europe in mid April…you should make some time to stop by Techno Classica in Essen from April 15 to April 19. The Allard-Owners-Continental-Group will have a stand in Hall 3, Stand 105.
On the stand there will be as exposition car the Allard Palm Beach MK I "Red Ram" (Chassis 21D-5151).  This one of a kind Allard is equipped with the 4 Dodge “Red Ram” V8-motor, serving as the prototype for the hopeful, but ill-fated partnership with Dodge
The second Allard will be another Palm Beach MK I “in the Spirit of Red Ram” equipped with a big block Cadillac motor taken out of a J2 racing car.
In addition to the cars, the Allard-Continental-Owners-Group will have a meeting on Saturday, April 18. Attendees should meet up at the club stand at 12:15. Following that, they will have an Allard Lunch at 12:30 at the Bistro of Schloss Hugenpoet in hall 3. Topics of discussion will include:
1. Information about changes in ownership and changes in the register
2. Discussion of Allard technical problems and matters?
3. Information about Allard activities under consideration for 2015
If you would like to attend the lunch meeting, please click here to RSVP to Hans-Albert Oppenborn

 

Old Magazine Covers, Part 16

If you're looking to buy a vintage Allard magazine for your collection, this is definitely one you should consider. The July 1951 issue of Speed Age features not only one of the best Allard photos of all time (the Steyr with four wheels in the air!!!), it also features one of the earliest printed biographies on Sydney Allard. If you're lucky, you can pick one of these up on Ebay for as low as $5.

Amelia 2015

We're pleased to report that the Allard marque was well represented at this year's Amelia Island Concours weekend. The Rosenblad's brought out both of their Allards to Saturdays "Car's & Coffee" event at the Golf Club at Amelia. This is a cool event that's open to the public and fills a big void in the weekend as people wait for the big event Sunday. The Rosenblads have two unique Allard's...the first is the DeDion/wire wheel K2; one only six or so built. Next up is their Consul engined Palm Beach - of 84 Palm Beach's built, only nine were equipped with the Consul 4-cylinder engine and only four are believed to exist today. Their car looks, in our opinion what Sydney envisioned the "Bridgehampton" would have looked like if his entry to the 1954 Le Mans approved.

Next up was Jim Taylor's recently acquired J2X 3048 that was just recently refreshed. We are big fans of the red on white color scheme which hearkens back to the good ol' days in the 50's where owner's/racer's had no problem with a garish color scheme to help set them and their car apart. 

Special thanks to Mike Matune for sharing these photos!

Reach for the Sun!

Sydney Allard was a survivor and visionary. After his company stopped building cars, they focused on selling performance car parts and...sun roofs. Why sun roofs? Today sun roofs are commonplace on cars, but back in the late 60's and early 70's they were a rarity. Allard was the UK distributor for Golde sun roofs, a German company that was the leader in this emerging industry. Click here to download the Allard Golde catalog. Special thanks to Kerry for sharing!

The Fast and the Furious...

We just uploaded this excerpt from the movie "Fast and the Furious"...not the Vin Diesel version, but the original "classic" from B-movie legend Roger Corman. In addition lots of great racing footage...there are a bunch of Allard's featured...can you spot them all? We believe most of the footage was shot at Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines. Enjoy!

2015 Allard Sports Cars News Update...

Things are heating up at Allard Sports Cars, the business endeavor of Sydney’s son Alan and and Grandson Lloyd. In effect, the Allard family name hasn’t left the automotive world since they first started building cars in the late 30’s. The family business has evolved over the years from building cars to manufacturing and selling performance automotive parts. If you haven’t heard already, Alan and Lloyd have started building cars again, with assistance from Allard Engineers Dudley Hume and David Hooper. They got started by buying and restoring the first Palm Beach Mk2, Chassis #72/7000Z. While restoring the Palm Beach, they fabricated another chassis, destined to become a Palm Beach Mk3. This car is an evolution of MK2, and included double wishbone front suspension; a much needed departure from the split axle suspension. They also intend to offer a continuation of the Allard JR sports racing car. Read more below from Lloyd Allard…


The New Allard Palm Beach MK3:
You may wonder, why build an Allard Palm Beach MK3? Well, the answer is simple, during the restoration of the Palm Beach Mk2 we had the opportunity to copy the chassis while it was available, a chassis jig was fabricated following an American design which I knew would be suitable. The new Allard chassis was assembled in only a basic form initially, then put to one side while my father and I pressed on with the restoration project ahead. Once the Mk2 was nearing completion, we started to make progress on the MK3 chassis once more, a Jaguar 3.4 with Moss gearbox was secured, along with a rear axle. All the other parts, which include both rear trailing arms, panhard, front suspension mountings, both front and rear bulk head rails were all fabricated in house. This was the most convenient way to have a prototype rolling chassis available for people to view at any shows we wished to attend. The debut of the new chassis tool place at the NEC Classic in November 2014. The response was very uplifting. 
The chassis for the new Allard PB Mk3 is essentially the same as the original apart from the suspension design, the front suspension is now a double wishbone affair, the rear suspension we will offer two formats, either live axle or De Dion, to be honest the De Dion is the preferred as we intend to offer the Palm Beach Mk3 in race trim. 

Allard Palm Beach Mk3, a car planned and discussed in 1959 can now be purchased as a 1959 model, authentic Allard with continuation chassis number and built by members of the Allard family once more, offering good investment potential. The car can be built to road or race specification with a Jaguar 6 cylinder engine. There are a few changes from the original which include disc brakes arrangement, improved trimming options and a hinged bonnet design much like the JR model. 
Allard Palm Beach Mk3 Specifications:

  • Engine: Jaguar 3.4 XK engine 
  • Rear Axle: Choice of De Dion or live axle arrangements 
  • Brakes: Disc front & rear (assisted) 
  • Gearbox: Jaguar Moss box (various ratio options) 
  • Steering: Rack & Pinion (assisted and non assisted options) 
  • Body: Fully aluminium construction (including some body design changes) 

Allard JR continuation HTP FIA Specifications:

  • Engine: Cadillac 331 
  • Rear Axle: De Dion 
  • Brakes: Drum 
  • Gearbox: Lasale 4 speed 
  • Steering: Marles 
  • Body: Fully aluminium construction