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NEWS: The car was sold and will be heading to a European racetrack sometime soon! [Oct 19, 2012]
Allard J2 #2090, with UK license OUG601 was transported new to Leeds UK on 15 July 1951. The first owner was a Mr. R W “Dick” Petty who fitted it with a flathead Mercury engine. He raced it at Goodwood and other venues vs. Sydney Allard and Peter Collins. Mr. Petty describes running against “the superior skills and equipment” of Allard and Collins in a 1961 letter to a subsequent owner, John Richards of Santa Paula CA. A photograph in the October 2009 Motorsport magazine shows a 1951 race at Goodwood, with Allard # 44 cornering in traffic with its partially obstructed UK license plate showing “…601”. Dennis Carter, current President of the British Automobile Racing Club, very kindly provided me with a copy of the 18 August 1951 Goodwood program, listing car # 44 as Petty’s Allard. Sydney Allard is listed as racing car # 42.
Richards purchased and restored the car some time prior to 1961, and installed a 283 ci Chevrolet V8 with a Muncie 4-speed gearbox. I bought the car from Richards in 1967, but some very urgent financial needs prompted me to sell it to Lew Eisenberg of Hawaii in 1970. He enjoyed the car in Honolulu, but HI officials refused to title it because they considered to be too highly modified.
I was able to buy #2090 back from Lew in 1973. There followed a period when I drove the car locally to non-racing events, regional car club meetings and shows. Through them I met many Allard enthusiasts, including Tom Carstens who also lived near me in Tacoma WA. Tom convinced me to focus toward vintage racing, so in 1985 I replaced the Chevrolet-Muncie setup with a 1950 331 ci Cadillac engine and Lincoln Zephyr gearbox. The small bulge in the hood was modified to the present hood “bump” to allow room for the Cadillac intake, and to match those frequently seen on Allard J2’s back in the 1950’s.
Duncan Emmons of Rancho Mirage CA performed a frame-off restoration on #2090 in 1990, and finished in dark green. I have since installed a fuel cell, proper SCCA roll bar and fire suppression system for vintage racing. I have run the car in 13 vintage racing events, most of them at Laguna Seca and Sears Point. Other events include two northwest hill climbs on paved roads, and the 50th year re-enactment of the first Watkins Glen Grand Prix in 1998.
As a boy of 14, I stood near Milliken’s Corner in downtown Watkins Glen and watched Erwin Goldschmidt win with his J2 Allard-Cadillac. That course included a railroad grade crossing at a crest in the road course that would cause the faster cars to become airborne. I just had to experience that, and did so in 1998 with no ill effect – although my wife and riding mechanic Robbi disagreed somewhat.
Other than a few 50-60 mile drives on open roads, most of my great memories with this car have been of the racing venues. With a similar respect for the above-mentioned “skills and equipment” of others, I have been a back-marker at races with the occasional fun of dicing with another car or two near the back of the pack. Of late, however, the closing speeds of overtaking traffic have made it more difficult for me to suspend my imagination regarding possible dire outcomes. As such, I do not plan to race this car again and am planning to sell it sometime in the months ahead. I’ll miss it a lot, but it is time.