PART I, By Peter Bowman (and the photos too!)
Lexington, Kentucky is located in the heart of horse country, and the magnificent Keeneland Race Course is home to thoroughbred racing every spring and fall. But each July Keeneland hosts a different kind of thoroughbred – of the automotive variety. The 14th annual Keeneland Concours upheld this tradition in grand style. This years’ show held a special attraction, a class organized by Jere Krieg dedicated entirely to Allards – the first time in Concours’ history they have had a single-marque class. The crowd was not disappointed, as 12 Allards were on display to delight the crowd.
After an informal gathering of Allard owners on Friday afternoon, the weekend kicked off in grand style at the 1920’s-themed Bourbon Bash at one of the historic distilleries in Lexington’s historic district – complete with gangsters, flappers, and even a speak-easy! Everyone had a grand time, but our ‘activities’ were somewhat tempered by the fact that we had an early call the next morning to get the cars on the show field.
Saturday dawned bright and clear, with heavy dew as the only reminder of the brief storm that rolled through on Friday. The show opened to the public to 9AM, with all twelve Allards arranged in a circle for judging. The judges assigned to our class realized the challenge and opportunity presented to them, as they were not familiar with Allards in much detail prior to the announcement of the class at this year’s Concours. We appreciate the considerable time and effort studying up on Allards beforehand.
They spent approximately 15 minutes judging each car, checking all aspects from operational gauges and lights, to the ability of the car to actually run, and making special effort to ascertain what features were actually original to each car. Quite an undertaking considering the wide array of Allard models present with cars ranging from the one-off M-Type coupe to an L, M’s, a K1, K2’s, a K3, J2’s and J2X’s. Ted Bernstein’s J2X was declared the class winner, with Tom Shelton’s J2 the class runner-up. The judges had a challenging task – complicated by the need to choose between fully-restored cars vs. highly original drivers, and also a couple of extremely rare examples.
Saturday evening the Allard contingent was among select invitees to Tom and Connie Jones’ auto collection, housed in a lovely warehouse complete with a fully-stocked and staffed bar displaying Tom’s wonderful toy collection. We were served what they called ‘heavy hors d’oeuvres’, which I called a buffet dinner, complete with mason-jar deserts of either strawberry shortcake or banana pudding! Surrounded by fabulous cars, motorcycles, and artwork, and no shortage of whatever chosen beverage anyone desired, we all had a wonderful evening enjoying the Jones’ southern hospitality.
Sunday morning was the Concours Tour d’Elegance, but only 2 Allards were present – the K1 of Jerry Bensinger, and my K2. The rest of the Allard crowd missed a grand drive, with a mid-point stop to get an amazing demonstration of glass-blowing. Our final stop was at the historic Boone Tavern for a delightful buffet lunch, with time to wander around the tavern before heading back to Lexington on our own schedules (and routes). All-in-all, a wonderful way to wrap up the Allard weekend, and a chance to look forward to our next gathering, wherever it may be!
PART II, By Jere Krieg
“Doc” Doolittle of Tellico Village Vintage Car Club made me aware of this gathering at Keeneland Race Course, and I was impressed. About 4 months ago I decided to travel to Lexington and meet with Tom Jones (no, the other Tom Jones), and came away with what I thought would be a good fit for Allard owners. This was their 14th year of supporting the Children’s Hospital in Lexington. Featured automobiles this year were British – so why not Allards?
After sending out an email on our Yahoo account, I began contacting everyone I could this side of Texas and Oklahoma, and I received enough interest to continue. As a result I heard from 15 members who thought of joining this event. I would like to report Tom &Terri Shelton, Terrill & Gloria Underwood, Peter & Gretchen Koch, Peter & Nica Bowman, Roger Allard, Mike & Dawn Fisher, Ted & Luzia Bernstein, Ted Bernstein Jr, Mark Moskowitz, George & Susan Hofer, Jerry Bensinger and – of course Julie & Jere Krieg – were registered for the Concours.
With twelve Allards present we had the largest individual class in Keeneland Concours’ history. A lot more people now know what an Allard looks like. We had two M’s, two J2X’s, two K1’s, a J2, a K2, two K3’s and a special bodied M-type coupe (it looked like a P1 to me). The twelfth Allard was the new Mark III that Roger Allard brought for inspection.
If eleven Allards had been ‘no shows’ I would have left with several pieces of silver. However that was not to be - Ted Bernstein won our class with his J2X Allard and Tom Shelton came in runner up with his J2. Great job.
During the weekend, I was approached by two other gentlemen who inquired about having Allards present at their Concours next year. I will present more details when I visit these locations to see what they have for our club.
Tom and Connie Jones were fantastic hosts. It began Thursday afternoon with a Bourdon tour. Friday evening’s focus was a benefit reception with the theme “End of Prohibition”. Saturday’s Concours included lunch for all contestants, and culminated with a private reception held by our Chairman and his wife. This presented an opportunity for us to enjoy his fantastic car collection, along with all the things a reception needs to have – great company, great food and, of course, great beverages. I truly believe that it will be a real challenge for other Concours’ to top the hospitality and organization of this event went.
Thank you to all at Keeneland for an unforgettable weekend.