THE FIRST RESTORATION
It was quite evident early on that this car needed a total restoration. The years of hard racing had taken its toll. At only 9 years old it was completely worn out.
#3059 was shipped without engine or transmission to a dealer in Wisconsin in 1952. The original color was British Racing Green with cream colored leather upholstery. The dealer installed a full-race Chrysler Hemi and a 1937 Cad-LaSalle transmission. The car was raced in this configuration until the late 50’s when SCCA changed the rules to prohibit cycle fenders. Thus ‘The Bitch’ was retired. The engine was removed and placed in a dirt track car where it expired by exploding. When we bought the car, the owner had replaced the Chrysler with a junkyard Cadillac. After a careful inspection I found the engine had three cracked main bearing webs, so decided to scrap it and a search for a replacement.
The tear-down started in late 1961 and a list of needed parts was prepared. Allard Motors was no longer in business but parts were readily availably from Allard’s subsidiary Adlards, the Ford dealership for England. Many other parts are from 37-48 Fords and were available locally. I did not want to rent an engine hoist, so I left the engine in the car until it was stripped. I then jacked the engine to the floor and – with the help of a friend – the two of us lifted the frame up and over the engine, and placed it on two sawhorses.
I had no problem obtaining parts until I tore down the Marles steering gear box and found the worm gear completely cracked from top to bottom. I ordered a worm gear and sector shaft from Allard/Adlards, only to find that they did not have them for left hand drive. I wrote several times requesting that they query the factory for one, but got nowhere with the Adlards staff.
In desperation I wrote Sydney Allard and told him of my plight. I felt like I was writing to Henry Ford about one of his cars, and I really did not expect an answer. Surprise, surprise, a few weeks later I received a reply from Sydney stating he was thrilled that I was restoring one of his cars, and that he would look into the matter himself. A few weeks later I received a letter from him telling me that he was lunching with the chairman of Marles, the maker of the steering unit, and would ask him to make a set for me. A cable followed stating that a set was being made special in the Marles machine shop and would arrive in two weeks without cost. Try to get that service from any other automobile manufacturing company much less from the owner himself. But then--- that was Sydney Allard!!!
I was about 14 months into the restoration and it was time for the engine. I had been looking for a Chrysler or Cadillac engine without much luck when a friend told me that Holmann-Moody, through a dealer in San Antonio, was getting rid of 25 new big-block Ford engines that had been built for super stock racing. They were Ford 406ci engines built in 1959, preceding later blocks with cross-bolted mains. I bought one and installed it with ease, requiring only the fabrication of front motor mounts and an adapter to hook up the Cad-LaSalle gearbox to the Ford bell housing. The adapter was purchased from old ‘Honest Charley.’ I ordered air cleaners, starter or alternator through the local Ford dealership.
At this time I was Vice President of the ‘Spokes,’ a sport car club in Austin. The club was having a show at the auditorium for Aqua Festival and wanted the Allard for show. The body had been stripped and cleaned to the raw aluminum, but had not been assembled or painted. At first I refused, but with pressure from everyone I agreed to clean and polish the aluminum, assemble the bodywork and show the car that way. It remained in that condition until 2004.
I had installed new 4:11 gears in the rear end to get better acceleration. To my surprise I found that I too could not start from stop without burning rubber or performing fishtails all over the road. Needless to say I re-installed the old 3:27 gears before I killed myself. This ratio has proven the best for both acceleration and top speed.
I vintage raced ‘The Bitch’ all through the 60’s and some in the 70’s and 80’s. I took her to the Monterey Historics in 1990 when Allard was the honored marque. Once I got home I set her up in storage as my wife had become gravely ill and required my full attention. To my sorrow, Joann died the day before 911. She would never get to see her gift fully restored.