By Bill Bauder
All true car enthusiasts have had a love affair with a car at some time in their life. When I say “love,” I don’t mean the kind of love you have for your mother or children – but the kind of love that’s foot-stomping passionate, obsessive, secretive and suicidal. The ‘I can’t live without’ kind of love. Well this story is about my love affair for one automobile, how it was obtained, why it was so named and how it was restored. Hope you enjoy it.
THE FIRST AFFAIR
I have always had a great love for the automobile. I was a true hot-rodder in high school and was into my second car when the war came along and snatched me up. The Navy put me in the turret of a torpedo bomber in 1944, and Jeeps were the only cars I saw for the next two years.
Strange things happen to me after the war. I got married, so I did not have a chance to again become a serious car nut until 1950 when I joined a sports car group, the SCCA in Dallas, and bought a Crosley Hotshot. I told my wife is was for transportation to and from the office. I lied,
I knew all along that I was going to race the little bugger. During that winter I modified the car and installed an expensive Italian crankshaft in the engine. I lightened it by drilling holes all over the frame to the point that I worried about its structural integrity. I could see it collapsing in a heap, leaving me sitting in the middle of the road with an expensive engine and no car. Actually, it turned out to be a little bomb and would do an honest 100mph.
I finished the car in time for the 1951 season and entered my first race at an airfield in Okmulgee, Okla. I raced in the smallest class, 750cc modified. No one showed up in my class and I had to race with the larger cars. I was exiting the hairpin on to a long straight when I heard a thunderous roar as three big machines passed me – almost blowing me off the course. Those cars were J2 Allards and from that moment on I fell in love, totally and completely. I knew then that somehow, someway, someday I would own an Allard.
In 1957 I sold my construction firm and decided to go back to school and complete my architectural degree. With a wife and three kids, I forced myself to put cars in the back of my mind again and totally concentrated on school.
Joann and I were sitting on the patio sipping “Sundowners” one warm evening in August 1960 when out of the blue, she suddenly asked me what I wanted for a graduation present. I was 34 years old not thinking of presents – only of graduation. So I said “How about a party?”
“No,” she said. “I mean, what would you want if you could have anything in the world?” “First, that diploma.” Then said laughingly “Or perhaps a million dollars, or maybe a J2X Allard.”
She sat quietly for a moment, the wheels turning, and then quickly changed the subject. All thoughts forgotten about graduation presents were forgotten
One Sunday afternoon, about two months before my graduation, I was in my living room studying when I heard a low rumble in my drive. “One of the kids’ friends,” I thought, and continued to study.
At that moment Joann came into the room and said, “It’s here, it’s here”!!
“What’s here?” I said, not looking up from my book.
”Bill,” she said. “Just please get up and go outside and see.”
After a couple more urgings I finally got up and went to the front door. To my astonishment there was a smoking black J2X Allard sitting in my drive. The grinning fellow behind the wheel asked ”Is this Joann Bauder’s house?”
With that, Joann popped out the door and asked me if I liked it.“Of course!” I said. I had forgotten our conversation about graduation presents so my mind was not in gear. I thought she simply wanted me to see the car.
The driver introduced himself as Jon Doyle from San Antonio as he got out of the car and handed me the keys. I guess I must have looked stupid because he grinned and said, ”It’s the keys to your car”. The light finally came on and I knew that Joann had somehow bought this car as my graduation present.
“How the hell did you swing this?” I asked.
“It’s all taken care of.” she said. “You just have to sign the note.”
Mind you, at that time it was almost impossible for a UT student – much less a woman – to make a loan without a parent or some wealthy person co-signing his life away. It seemed impossible that Joann could have done this on her own. However if you knew Joann, you would know that nothing to her seemed impossible. She did what she thought proper. She put on her best suit, hat and a pair of gloves and headed for the bank. Once there she charmed the Vice President into making a loan on a car he had never heard of – a car that cost as much as a new car, that was not even listed in the Blue Book. That was almost unheard of at that time, but to Joann it was just another mountain she had climbed. Yes, the note was made and the Allard became my graduation gift from my wonderfully thoughtful wife.
This J2X #3059 was first purchased by a San Antonio oilman for his wife as a daily driver. The wife hated the car. The seats were not adjustable, she could not drive it without burning rubber, it had no weather protection, and the engine heat was unbearable. So it was for sale two months later. Jon Doyle, the second owner, traded his wife’s new XK 120 Jaguar and a few more bucks for it. He admitted that she was not happy either. But on the bright side, he was a happy racecar driver who raced it successfully throughout the Southwest winning many races. It held the record for the Mansville Dam hill climb for years.
By 1960 the car it was completely used up. I tried to drive it in events without success. It broke down so much that I decided that the maximum distance for driving it was about two blocks from home, an easy towing and walking distance. The wiring would spark and short out at every bump, the engine burned as much oil as gasoline, and every rubber bearing in the chassis was shot. I found myself continually uttering very foul language at it.
Now all women know that men often name their cars after women. I’ve often wondered what system women use to name their cars. Anyway – one day it broke down at the grocery store, so I phoned my wife for assistance. I started the conversation with “Well ‘The Old Black Bitch’ has broken down again. The name stuck because it was more than appropriate. Years later, after we restored the Allard to it’s original green color, the name should be changed to ‘The Old Green Bitch,’ but that just didn’t sound right. So we shortened it to ‘The Bitch.’ This is the car’s official name and is noted as such in both the Allard Owners Club and the Allard Register records.
Click here to read Part 2...