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?

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

The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum

I am fortunate to have a job that allows me to meet interesting people and to travel around the country (along with some foreign destinations) from time to time. I work in the packaging machinery industry (the food you buy has to get in those boxes or bags somehow) and have been lucky enough to get to know the Cerf family; who are also in “the business” with their company Polypack. If you are an automotive enthusiast from the Southeast, then you are likely familiar with the Cerf family that hails from Tampa Bay, FL via France. Patriarch Alain, along with twin sons Emmanuel and Olivier run the company alongside their Tampa Bay Automobile Museum (TBAM) which houses a collection of eccentric automobiles that you will find no equal to here in North America. The collection is devoted to automotive engineering oddities and the unique personalities that created them. The TBAM also happens to own a very nice Allard P1.

Unfortunately my company doesn’t have any customers in the Tampa Bay area so I’ve never had a good excuse to visit the Cerf’s and their collection. However, this past November, the Cerf’s and Polypack hosted the annual meeting for our industry trade association (PMMI) – this was the perfect opportunity to see their cars and hopefully test drive their P1 (see separate road test).

As with most museums, the TBAM is a great place to host a party. Some of the cars were moved around to accommodate the caterers, wet bars, and a couple of hundred guests. This being a special event hosted by the Cerf’s, they gave us the VIP treatment. Are you familiar with the Fardier de Cugnot? It is the first self-powered vehicle, which was first demonstrated in 1770 by its builder Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot. The Cerf’s built a replica based of the original steam-powered Fardier which amazingly still resides in a French museum, although it is missing several bronze components that were “liberated”. The Cerf’s replica is authentic to the original, except for a few minor differences made to the boiler in the name of safety & usability – the original Fardier had a few critical design flaws because the technology was still developing. The great thing the about the Cerf’s Fardier is that it’s not a static display…they drive it! We were fortunate to get to see it go for a drive in the museum/company parking lot. Let’s just say that it isn’t fast, but it is an amazing technical achievement for a 245+ year old machine.

The TBAM is a litmus test for car nuts. When you walk in, you see all sorts of beautiful cars with interesting names. A fake car nut will casually walk around, taking notice of the DeLorean or the nice Mustang and then quickly leave. A real car guy will stand in front of the 1953 Hotchkiss and try to figure out how they managed to build an aluminum front boxer engined, front wheel drive car with an integrated transmission and transverse coil spring double A-arm suspension. A real car nut will notice that the Mustang is not just any ’65 Mustang, but that it features a Ford sanctioned Ferguson all wheel drivetrain and Dunlop anti-lock brakes…no doubt where Ken Block got the inspiration for his Gymkhana 7 Mustang!

There are just too many cars to highlight here, but some that deserve a close look are any one of their eight Tatra’s, the Avion Voisin - C7 Chastness (art deco masterpiece), the three-wheeled Mathis VL 333, the Ruxton, and the Gerin Aerodyne Prototype.

The Gerin Aerodyne is probably my favorite car in the collection, which also happens to be the most recent addition to the collection. The Aerodyne was built in 1925 by Jacques Gerin and features a very interesting laminated wood and aluminum aerodynamic chassis. The front & rear suspension, engine, and transmission feature some very complicated castings that must have been very expensive back in 1925 for this one-off vehicle. I could have stared at the Aerodyne all day; soaking in all of the intricate details.

In addition to the automobiles, the design aspect of the museum itself is a treat. Being French, it should be no surprise that the Cerf’s brought some style to the architecture of the museum. Additionally, the Cerf’s serve as patrons to the local art community and throughout the museum you’ll find a number of unique paintings and sculptures.

When you visit, you may be lucky enough to run into family Patriarch Alain. If you do, take some time to ask him about their self-designed & installed 1,000 panel solar array that produces 270 kW. Or you can ask him about petrol vs. electric vs. hydrogen powered vehicles…if you have strong opinions about any of them, be prepared to earn a thing a two about hydrogen power, of which Alain is a vocal advocate.

Next time you are in the Tampa Bay area, make a point to set aside at least a few hours to visit the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum…you won’t find a collection of cars like it anywhere in North America. The TBAM (www.tbauto.org) is located at 3301 Gateway Centre Blvd., Pinellas Park, Florida 33782 and you can contact them at 727.579.8226 or info@tbauto.org

-Colin Warnes

 

Allards in Scale

As Allard enthusiasts, one of our pet peeves is that is that there are so few scale models of our beloved cars. Sure there are a few models from Kenna (K1 & K2) and Bizarre (J2), but nothing that's really unique. Recently we were contacted by a scale model enthusiast Niek van der Mark from the Netherlands about the paint colors of the Abbott Special (a special coupe based on the Palm Beach). After some digging (and help from David Hooper), we were able to confirm the lower body was light green with a cream roof.

We were pleased to check our email the other day when we found an email from Niek with photos of his latest creation. Also included were photos of a number of Niek's other Allard creations including a GT, JR, K1, K2, K3, P1, and L-type. If you're wondering where you might pick one of these up...they might be kind of hard to come by. The Abbott and GT were made by a small company TW, who made small batches (5-6) of cast metal (body in white) 1:43 classic sports cars back in the 80's. As you can see Niek has an impressive eye for detail.

Hopefully with the advent of 3D printing, we'll start to see more Allard scale models. 

Good Stories: Goldschmidt & Burrell

We love it when other people write great Allard related stories. Even better when they are about the unsung heroes that made Allard great. These stories come courtesy of VeloceToday, which is a great web site that publishes a weekly newsletter with quality stories (unlike our web site!).

The first story looks into the life of Erwin Goldschmidt, who won the Watkins Glen Grand Prix in a J2. Erwin also owned a J2X and the first JR. Click here to read the story!

The second story is about engineer Frank Burrell who worked at Cadillac. Frank was largely responsible for developing the Cadillac V8 that gave Allard the heart that made it so competitive on the the international scene. This story was actually published in two parts. Click here to read part one and click here to read part two. Special thanks to Pete Vack and Eric Davison from Veloce Today.

Allards in the movies

Bernard Dervieux sent us the screen shot above from the 1953 movie, "Paris Model" starring Eva Gabor, Marilyn Maxwell, Paulette Goddard, and Tom Conway (Maharajah of Kim-Kepore) who we assume is driving the car. If you look closely, the car is a light colored J2X with two fuel fillers and disc wheels....we're guessing it's chassis 3144 that was also featured in "Written in the Wind." The car appears within the first twenty minutes of the movie for 2 to 3 minutes. Thanks Bernard!

Allard Patches

Over the years we've collected a few Allard patches...old and new. If you know the history of the more "vintage" patches, please click here to let us know. Enjoy!

Vintage embroidered patch. 3 5/8" wide x 1 3/4" tall

Vintage Allard Owners Club patch, likely for a dress jacket. 3 3/4" wide x 4  5/16" tall

Vintage screen printed patch. 3 1/2" wide x 1 3/4" tall

Embroidered Allard Owners Club patch. 3" round

Vintage embroidered Allard Owners of America patch. 4 1/16" round

Emroidered Allard Register patch, early 1990's. 2 1/2" wide x 3" tall. We have around 12 of these patches remaining, $5/each.

Embroidered Allard patch, early 90's. 4 1/2" wide x 2 1/4" tall

Vinitage embroidered Allard patch on red felt. 3 1/2" wide x 1 5/8" tall

Small embroidered Allard patch, by Bob Lucurell. 2 9/16" wide x 1 1/4" tall

Large embroidered Allard patch by Bob Lucurell, 9 3/8" wide x 4 1/2" tall

Allard Art

We received a nice thank you note the other day from an Allard enthusiast with the image above on the front. We thought it was pretty cool so we decided the share it with you. The card was printed in 1994 by the Helmet Goggle and Company in PA....no word on the artist though. The caption on the back reads, "1950 Allard J2, This British sports car, powered by either Ford, Chrylser, Cadillac V-8 engines, gained much success throughout Europe and the United States." It looks a bit more like a J2X to us though.

The greatest story ever told...

Sorry, but Grendel from the Anglo-Saxon epic 'Beowulf' is a wimp compared to the epic villain in this short story from a different time. Writer Dick O'Kane brings us this epic poem set on the epic streets of LA, with illustrations from the amazing Stan Mott. Special thanks to the folks at Automobile Quarterly for granting us permission to share this story of an Allard from the depths of hell. If you'd like to pick up a hard copy, you can the AQ Volume 8, #4 (the Allard issue) on Ebay from time to. Enjoy!

Click here to download the pdf.

Two Green K3’s on a Play Date

 

To the casual observer these two ‘British racing green’ Allard K3’s might seem identical. However, in many respects, they are at opposite ends of the Allard K3 spectrum.

3192 left the Allard factory set up for Cadillac power, and was delivered to Noel Kirk Motors in Los Angeles in July 1953. The original owner put 23,000 miles on it before knee problems forced him to park it in 1962. It spent the next 17 years in hibernation until Dr. Martin Allard purchased it in 1979. The only work required to get it roadworthy was some minor tweaking to free up the stuck Lincoln Zephyr gearbox. The 59 year-old Caddie, along with entire drive train and suspension, are original and virtually untouched.

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Deck The Halls!

I must admit that when I saw this ornament on Ebay a month ago, I thought it looked a bit cheesy. Then a friend of the Register sent gave one to us as a Christmas gift; and I must admit that it’s actually pretty cool! The 3 ¾” round wood ornament is cut and etched on both sides with a laser to give it some depth. The detail is pretty crisp and the ornament is finished nicely. You can buy one now on Ebay for $5.75 which includes shipping. Click here or search Ebay for item 200671533242 to buy one now. Merry Christmas!

Roy Richter and his J2

Did you know one of the most influential people in motorsports and the automotive aftermarket, owned and briefly raced one of the first J2's in the US? That man was Roy Richter, owner of Bell Auto Parts, Bell Helmets, and was the leading figure behind SEMA for many decades. He also won the first (and only) sports car race he ever entered...beating the likes of Phil Hill and Jack McAfee at Santa Ana. His racing career was tragically cut short when he confessed to his wife who had been away for the weekend.

Our friends over at the Blog, "Getting' a lil psycho on tyres!" have published another Allard related story, this time on Roy's J2, chassis 1513. Click here to read it!