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By Chuck Warnes
Allard, Kurtis and Duesenberg were honored as featured marques for the 16th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Friday morning’s 45 mile road tour served as the kick-off for the weekend, when about 30 classic cars departed from the Ritz-Carlton under police escort. They followed a route that wound its way through the Amelia Island Plantation’s scenery, with stops along the way that included a visit and guided tour of the historic, 19th century Fort Clinch. The tour concluded with all the cars lining up on display in historic downtown Fernandina Beach.
A broad array of 15 Allards completed the tour. There were six J2’s, three J2X’s, two K1’s, a K2, an L-Type and two Palm Beaches (MkI & II). They included two freshly restored dark green J2’s – one owned by Martin Stickley (with period-correct Ford Cobra power), and the other by Don Marsh. Steve Schuler drove his veteran of the 1950 LeMans race, followed by Bob Francis’ entrant in the 1950 Mille Miglia (read this car’s history in issue #36). It was good to again see Jerry Lettieri’s J2 Ardun-powered prototype that the late Dr. Tom Turner found and restored back in the 1980’s, along with David Hans’ unique pontoon-winged J2.
Bill Wilmer led the pack of three J2X’s with his period-correct supercharged Corvette powered Allard. For many, this was our first opportunity to admire Colin Comer’s white J2X – veteran of the vintage movie “Written on the Wind”, and Lindsey Parsons had his green J2X back on the road after its three year absence.
Pete McManus drove his red, supercharged flathead-powered K1 – partly to enjoy the tour, and also as a final shakedown before racing it at Sebring the following week. Tom Kayuha was again out exercising his authentically restored K1 again. Bob Lane was at the wheel of his Mercury powered, white-walled K2.
I welcomed Terrell Underwood’s invitation to ride in the relative comfort of his L-type on that chilly morning. This also gave Terrell an opportunity to demonstrate the flexibility of his car’s Columbia overdrive.
Robert Hartson drove his original and un-restored Palm Beach Mk II with its factory installed Jaguar ‘C-Type’ power. Our gracious hosts for the weekend, Axel and Hanko Rosenblad, were in period costume as they toured their red Ford Consul-powered 21C Palm Beach.
Upon completion of the tour several of us went over to Gooding & Company’s auction at the Amelia Island Racquet Park for a close look at the 1950 Allard K1/2 that subsequently crossed the block at $165K. No, it is not a ‘half’. The Allard factory did produce a few early K2 chassis (with coil springs) that were clothed in K1 bodies.
While there, we also had an opportunity to see a beautiful and un-restored 1935 Packard that was of particular interest. This car was originally owned by the Silverman family in New York, and was the very vehicle in which young Syd learned to drive back in the 1940’s.
Roger Allard of Allard Motor Works was showcasing and demonstrating a bright red Chrysler-powered J2X Mk II throughout the weekend. A ‘select few’ had an opportunity to take it for a brief test drive Saturday morning, and experience the manner in which a modern car is able to capture and transmit the sensations of a vintage Allard.
RM Auctions were at the Ritz-Carlton, which gave us a chance to view the red, Olds-powered K2 that went for $121K in Saturday’s sale. Several of the show cars were beginning to arrive on the grounds in late afternoon, which presented a relaxed setting to admire unique cars, meet old friends and make new acquaintances.
We were all looking forward to the Saturday night gathering at Rosenblad’s beautiful coastal home just a few miles north of Amelia Island. This allowed us to visit their ‘car barn’ and admire the rest of the Axel and Hanko’s fleet – including their recently acquired Allard K2, an ultra-rare Kellison kit car from the early 1950’s, and a beautiful AC Aceca.
Aside from the sumptuous spread of food, this laid-back setting provided an ideal venue to get some serious visiting done. Visitors from the UK included David Hooper and Pat Lee, and Darell Allard with his wife Jenny. Darell is a nephew of Sydney Allard, and Treasurer/Membership Secretary of the Allard Owners Club. We also enjoyed the opportunity to visit with a few other Allard folks including Dick Myers, Merrill Yeager, Peter Bowman and Tom Moore.
Tom Moore shared some Maston Gregory/Allard stories from his youth in Kansas City, along with an anecdote of how he got bitten by the Allard bug while attending a race at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska in the early 1950’s. It turns out that one of the Allards in those races was none other than young Lindsey Parsons – who drove his new J2X to Nebraska from his home in New Jersey, ran the race, and drove it back to NJ.
Lindsey Parsons, Bob Hartson, Merrill Yeager, and Tom Kayuha enjoying some Allard stories
As the evening drew to a close, we had chance for a brief phone visit with Andy Picariello who was conspicuous by his absence. He had hoped to make it, but as the most able coordinator of the Allard contingency, Andy was committed to participate in the Concours banquet that same evening.
While north Florida’s March weather can be notoriously fickle, Sunday proved to be a warm and sunny day – ideal weather for a world-class Concours. The arrival of 5 additional cars brought the Allard contingency to a total of 20. The five Allards that did not run in Friday’s tour included a beautiful two-tone P1 that Olivier Cerf drove over from the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum, and Alan Rosenblum’s veteran of the 1951 LeMans.
The Allard field was filled out by three cars from Bruce McCaw’s Bellevue, WA collection. They included the green Chrysler-powered J2X LM that Bruce has owned for the past 20+ years, one of the two JR’s that ran in the 1953 LeMans, and the famous Steyr hillclimb and sprint car.
Incidentally, Kerry Horan, the Steyr’s previous owner, was showing two of his Kurtis race cars at Amelia. Kerry still has an abiding interest in Allards. Allard owner Bill Boone was also a Kurtis exhibitor who, as owner of the other veteran of the 1953 LeMans, took a close interest in the JR, and period-authentic details of the historic JR’s.
The Allard judges: David Hooper, Brian Redman and Darell Allard
Darell Allard and David Hooper, together with retired race driver Brian Redman, served as judges for the Allard classes on Sunday. The following is a summary of the awards presented to the Allards:
Allard Street: Bob Hartson’s PB Mk II (First in Class), Don Marsh’s J2 (Second in Class)
- Allard Race: Steve Schuler’s J2 (First in Class), Alan Rosenblum’s J2 (Second in Class)
- Cars of Florida: Axel & Hanko Rosenblad’s PB (Second in Class)
- Pete McManus’ K1: The Joe Pendergast Award, “Best Historical Race Car Still Actively Raced” trophy
- Bill Wilmer’ J2X: “Spirit of the Mille Miglia” trophy
- The Steyr, owned by Bruce McCaw: The Heacock Classic Insurance Award, “The Most Historically Significant Allard”