RM Auction Preview - Bob Lytle's J2X #3162

On August 13, RM Auctions will sell Allard J2X #3162 (Lot 230) . To most, this is just another J2X; to me however, this is one of the most important Allards ever made. Ever since I was a kid, my dad would take me to the Monterey Historics; then he bought a basket case Allard K3. From that point on, my dad developed a friendship with All Knowing Allard Nut, Bob Lytle; and I fell in love with his black #65 J2X. For many years I dreamt that Bob would call me up to tell me he couldn’t race at Monterey that year and would ask if I wanted to race his car. Sadly that call never came, and unfortunately my dad and I lost a great friend to cancer this past December.

It came as no surprise when Bob’s family emailed to let us know they would be selling Bob’s car collection. I recommended that they go with RM Auctions, with the goal of putting them in their Monterey auction. Bob’s collection consists of six cars, each representing his unique sense of style and humor. The highlight however was his J2X.

J2X #3162 was delivered to Sports Cars Inc on February 3, 1953, after first being displayed at the New York Motor Show. The car was originally painted gunmetal gray, then red, and finally black by Bob (35 coats of paint!). The car had many owners, but most notable was David Cranston, whose father worked in Buick’s Experimental Engine Department. The car was originally delivered with a Cadillac engine but that was soon changed to Buick power. As you can imagine, a few performance Buick engine parts made it into the car, which allowed it to run the ¼ mile in 10 seconds at 160 mph!

Bob acquired #3162 on Christmas Day in 1979. He bought it sight unseen and after a one way ticket to Tampa, Florida, he drove the car 3,000 freezing miles back to LA. Bob raced the car continually since 1984 – in fact he had raced at every Monterey Historics since 1984, except for 1998 (Porsche) and 2009 when his health was faltering.

To me, Bob’s J2X is the definition of what makes all Allards so great. The bold British curves are accentuated by the deep black paint and subtle polished aluminum trim with the distinct #65 decals to make the car look extra tough. Under the hood beat its American heart; a 362ci Buick Nailhead that breathed through six (6!) Stromberg carbs and an Edelbrock manifold. Power is transmitted through the only period transmission capable of handling all that torque, a Cadillac LaSalle 3-speed. The side pipes growled at idle and roared with the slightest push of the throttle. This is an Allard!

I wasn’t the only one drawn to Bob’s Allard – I loved to sit in Bob’s pit at Monterey and watch the fans come up to the car…everybody loved Bob and his J2X.  It helped that Bob was larger than life while racing in his open face helmet and flying goggles while drifting through the Corkscrew with an armful of opposite lock. Back in the pits he was always quick to offer a cold ‘Old Milwaukee’ and a tall tale and/or mechanical advice (typically a combination of both).

I hope the new caretaker of J2X #3162 will race it as Sydney and Bob meant it to be raced.

Thanks for the memories!

Colin Warnes

To learn more about Bob’s other cars, click the links below:

1935 Ford Model CX Saloon from New Zealand (Lot 101) featuring a 60hp Ford V8 with a Edelbrock heads and an upgraded electrical system.

1951 Triumph Mayflower (Lot 203) is equipped with a 1.6 liter OHV MGA engine with a battery powered 78rpm Victrola in the trunk.

1963 Morris Minor Traveler (Lot 202) has twin SU carbs and was regularly driven by Bob on extended trips.

1970 Subaru 360 Police Car (Lot 384) what else can you say about an old Subaru converted into New Zealand Police Car?

1972 Honda 600 Taxi (Lot 201) this pre-cursor to the Civic has been customized to be the hottest mini cab in Arizona.