Allard of the Month - J1 415

(Click here or the photo above to view the Gallery of J1 415)

Ted Frost was a successful international motocross scrambler, trials rider and Norton works rider in the period immediately before and after WW2.  He owned the Drift Bridge Garage in Reigate Road, just outside Epsom, England. He had become friends with Sydney and his brothers through the Streatham Motorcycle Club, of which they were all members prior to the war.

He persuaded Sydney to build him a J1 for his use. Hence 79J415, the ‘Frost’ Allard, registration number MPG 250, was built and delivered on the 23rd September 1948. It was the thirteenth and last J1 to be made. It was also the only Allard to initially run with the bored and stroked Mercury engine, fitted with an over-head exhaust valve conversion and eight Amal carburetors.

MPG250 left the Allard works as a chassis with bodywork forward of the scuttle. A simple and lightweight body of aluminium on tubular steel was then added.  In accordance with the sports-car racing regulations of the day the body only has one door on the driver’s side.  This makes entry and exit quite interesting for the passenger - particularly if the hood (soft top) is up! The cockpit area could best be described as minimalist. Purchase cost in 1948 was £800.

Ted Frost used the car in competitions for the next couple of years. He won the Hunt Trophy in one of his early outings followed by many 1st class awards and best individual performances. He was accompanied by famed motor journalist, Bill Boddy on the Gloucester trial in December 1948, which was entertainingly written up in Motor Sport. This car was the winner of the May 1949 Quick Starting and Acceleration Test at the Lancia Motor Club Competition, much to the dismay of the Italian car owners present.

In March 1950, following the Southsea M.C. President’s Trophy Trial, Ted sold the car to Ralph Venables for £250. Sadly Ted Frost died, aged about forty, from a heart attack only a couple of years later.

Venables was a well known motorcycle writer in the UK, and the J1 was one of his favourite cars. He kept MPG 250 for eleven years and the Allard became an equally well known car at all the motorcycle events at which he was reporting. Ralph had the distinction of owning nothing but open sports cars for 65 years.

Ralph sold MPG 250 to Joe Gardner in 1961 for £100. Joe immediately entered the car into the MCC Lands End Trial. Having survived with the modified engine for some 13 years, Joe managed an engine blow-up of major proportions – including destroying the car grille by putting a couple of rods through it! MPG 250 then passed through the hands of Hugh Gledhill, Don Batchelor and Roger Hayes before it came into my possession eleven years ago.

MPG 250 now shares the garage with two other J1s (chassis nos. 275 and 273, KBP 242 and AGL 191 which are two of the three team cars built by Potter for the 1948 Alpine Rally) and an L type, belonging to my wife, affectionately known as Beauty.

MPG 250 is in remarkably original condition for a 62 year old competition car. It still has its original bodywork. Only the wings have been replaced over the years, and the engine is now a 275ci bored and stroked Mercury originally built by Tom Hutchinson in La Puente, Ca – and subsequently rebuilt a few times since. 

“Never Raced or Rallied” - would be an inaccurate statement. From early rallying and trials, the Frost Allard was competing at Prescott Hillclimb when Sydney first aired the new J2 in 1949, and it was at Blackbush Dragfest in 1964. It has been regularly at Prescott and Shelsley Walsh in recent times, and can still pull 15 seconds at the Brighton Speed Trials. The J1 is a delight to handle - just like a J2 on leaf springs - and regularly embarrasses younger tin! MPG 250 will be competing again this year and for some more yet to come.

-Paul Harvey