We were fortunate enough to recently receive the donation of an alloy Allard Intake Manifold (thank you!) and we thought you might like to know the back story behind these unique manifolds…
In the late 40’s, Allard was struggling to make their Ford flatheads more powerful. The stock single carb intake manifold was pathetic and Sydney knew there were several alternatives available in the US. Unfortunately Post War England was very protectionist as it tried to rebound from the war. Basically nothing could be imported into the country, which meant no American speed parts could be sold in the UK.
If you’ve read the Tom Lush’s definitive Allard book, you may recall that in 1948, Reg Canham took an Allard M type to the US and went on a cross country tour towing a caravan to promote the Allard Motor Company (a pre-cursor to GM’s motor-rama). Not much is known about this trip, but we do know that Reg stopped in Los Angeles, where he met a number of hot rodders. One of the people he met was Eddie Meyer who operated a speed shop dedicated to extracting more power out of the flat head. Eddie Meyer Engineering made arguably one of the hottest dual carb manifolds on the market, with several cars using his equipment to achieve several records at Bonneville.
Fortunately post war airports didn’t have metal detectors and Reg was able to sneak one of Eddie’s manifolds back into the UK. The Allard boys soon appreciated the performance gain from the manifold and made quick work of making replicas for use on their performance Mercury 24-stud flatheads.
I must admit that it was a bit disappointing to learn that that Sydney basically ripped off someone else’s design (without even giving Meyer credit!). However, I don’t think it’s that big of a issue. Eddie Meyer couldn’t sell his manifolds in the UK and the odds of Allard selling a bunch of their knock-off manifolds in the US were pretty slim. Fortunately Eddie Meyer wrote a letter to Road & Track magazine (June, 1950), explaining the situation…although it was tough to tell whether he was proud or insulted that Allard had copied his design.
P.S.: If you know anything about or have any photos of Reg Canham’s USA M-type caravan trip, please click here to contact us!