By Chuck Warnes
This past summer Dr. Martin Allard was invited to run his K3 on the inaugural Mille Miglia North America three-day rally. The route was over a broad array of scenic and challenging bi-ways on a round trip from Santa Barbara up to Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco.
Martin has owned his Cad-powered K3, chassis 3192 since 1979. The previous owner bought it new from Noel Kirk Motors in Los Angeles, and put 23,000 miles on it before knee problems forced him to park it in 1962. Despite the 17-year hibernation, Martin says the only work required was some minor tweaking to free up the stuck Lincoln Zephyr gearbox.
Martin has driven the car on a regular basis, putting about 26,000 miles on it over the past 32 years. This unrestored K3 was featured on the 1980 Allard Owners Club Christmas card, and looks just as handsome today as it did 31 years ago. This car still wears the set of tires that Martin installed in 1986. Aside from routine maintenance, he freshened up the paint and had the original seats re-stitched prior to driving it from his home in Southern California to Monterey in 1990.
Since the car had been providing such reliable service over the years, Martin and navigator Jerry Daly took an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to prepare for the rally. According to Martin, their prep work was limited to checking the water and oil levels, along with the tire pressures. The fact that Martin’s K3 was one of the few participants to complete the 1000 mile tour without a breakdown may attest to this approach, along with the benefits of exercising older cars on a regular basis.
The three-day tour (www.millemiglianorthamerica.com) departed from Santa Barbara on October 26. After a few miles up Hwy 101, they turned right on to Hwy 154 over the notorious San Marcos Pass before heading back toward the Coastal Range – which they crossed three times on the way to Monterey - terminus for Day 1.
Day 2 went along Monterey Bay to Santa Cruz, where the route then took them through the Santa Cruz Mountains, through the San Francisco metro area, and over the Golden Gate Bridge to Stinson Beach. The return leg mostly followed the coastal Hwy 1 down through Half Moon Bay and back to Monterey.
Day 3 expanded the 250-mile route from Monterey to Santa Barbara to 400 miles. It began with a tour of Pebble Beach’s Seventeen Mile Drive and then merged on to the world famous Hwy 1 down the coast to San Luis Obispo. Just south of SLO, it again turned inland, taking Hwy 166 through the quasi-ghost towns of Cuyama and Maricopa before turning southward on Hwy 33 to explore the hills overlooking Montecito and Santa Barbara.
The finishers were the focus of interest in Saturday’s Santa Barbara Concours. While the organizers had planned and geared up for 150 vintage cars, only 24 actually ran this event. Even so, they are viewing this year’s rally as a pilot project, and have definite plans for a reprise in the fall of 2012.
While Martin’s Allard ran flawlessly, he did have a couple dicey moments – one when his temp gauge started climbing in heavy traffic and another when he started to experience some brake fade in heavy stop-and-go traffic. Hey, it’s an Allard! At least Martin fared better than Alain de Cadenet in a borrowed Ferrari. It was interesting to see the amount of Bondo on that Ferrari’s nose.
Martin and Jerry also experienced a couple tense moments en route. The first was near the end of Day 1. They were on Carmel Valley Road heading toward Monterey when they came upon a sign informing them of a single-lane road ahead due to a rockslide. They did not see the actual site until they rounded a bend and immediately met a FedEx truck. Miraculously, the two vehicles managed to miss each other in the single-lane squeeze play. The second was on Day 2. They were following a milk truck up the hill out of Stinson Beach, when a rear door of the milk truck suddenly opened and deposited a case of glass bottles that virtually exploded right in front of Martin.
Martin says they had a wonderful time, and the event organizers were most pleasant and accommodating. It should come as no surprise that Martin was given the”Most Popular Driver” award.