By Colin Warnes
The Monterey Car Week is almost upon us. Last time I checked, there was something like 54 auctions planned for the weekend. I also just read an article online about the 20 most expensive cars expected to sell at Monterey this year, none were estimated at less than $3,000,000. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that none of them were Allards. That being said, there are three Allard’s slated to cross the blocks this year; here’s a brief look at each.
Mecum: Allard J2 #2179, Lot F121
This J2 was exported on October 17, 1951 to Custom Automotive in Dallas, Texas and was sold to Charles Brown of Louisiana. It was ordered with Cadillac engine modifications and was painted black with a red interior. 2179 was the last J2 to leave the Allard factory.
Mr. Brown wanted his car to go racing so he asked an up and coming young driver by the name of Carroll Shelby to drive for him. From what I could find, Shelby is known to have raced it at least twice …running at the Pottsboro hill climb and the SCCA National at Turner AFB. By late 1952, the J2 was struggling to remain competitive, so Shelby moved on to drive Roy Cherryholms J2X-3146 (which will be racing that same weekend). [Ed: As an Allard enthusiast, you are required to know that Carroll Shelby’s legendary Cobra was inspired by his time racing Allards]
From the Mecum catalog…
“Charles Brown sold the car to Wilfred Gray from Indianapolis. During the mid-‘50s, he raced the car in SCCA events at such venues as Elkhart Lake and the remarkable Mount Equinox. What makes Mount Equinox so spectacular is its 3,000-foot elevation change in a span of just 5 miles; it is perhaps the steepest hill climb in North America. The next owner, Dan Saunders, raced the Allard at Wilmot Hills in southern Wisconsin, Wilmot Hills doubling as a ski hill in the winter and serving as a race track while the snow was gone.
In 1972, Chris Leydon acquired J2179. It was about this time that the older race cars, long viewed as uncompetitive, started to be considered part of automotive history. This warranted recommissioning. In the case of J2179, this included period colors of a red exterior and black interior, a full windscreen and wire wheels.
The winning Sir Stirling Moss and J2179 were featured together in a program titled, “The Great Classic Cars.” From there, the car continued to be enjoyed and treasured over the years. The next big event was the 1997 Monterey Historic races, the significance of that event being that Carroll Shelby was the honoree on which the weekend’s festivities were centered. The idea of Shelby being reunited with the car that launched his career is remarkable for any enthusiast of historic racers. In 2005, J2179 was part of the “Gotta Have It” television program. Its most recent event was the 2015 Allard Reunion at Elkhart Lake.
J2179 has been restored to its original color scheme of black with red leather upholstery and is equipped with its believed-original Cadillac V-8 along with the proper transmission. The Cadillac engine is fitted with triple Stromberg 48 carburetors on a vintage Weiand intake manifold, a Crane Competition camshaft and the custom exhaust originally built and installed by a young fabricator who would go on take his own place among the giants of racing, Mickey Thompson. The period-correct wheels and tires are in place along with the numerous other details expected of a racer of this importance.”
J2-2179 is slated to be sold Friday afternoon and should be the ideal addition to any Shelby enthusiasts collection. The car is estimated to sell for $800,000 to $1,200,000. To learn more, visit Mecum’s web site: https://www.mecum.com/lots/CA0819-380994/1952-allard-j2-roadster/
Gooding & Company: Allard J2X Le Mans #3066; Lot 171
This J2X-LM was exported on December 2, 1952 to Captain Leslie who was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. The car was soon resold to Bob Peterson of Piedmont, California. The car was raced extensively by Carl & Fred Block in California from 1953 through 1955.
3066 was ordered with Chrysler Hemi engine modifications, metallic blue paint, and a red interior. The J2X Le Mans was created in a rush in order to comply with the new 1952 Le Mans regulations that required fully enclosed fenders. In all, our records indicate fourteen J2X Le Mans were built.
From the Gooding catalog, “Around 1953, Bob Peterson of Piedmont, California, purchased the Allard and with drivers Carl and Fred Block, campaigned it extensively in SCCA races across their home state, competing at fabled venues and against the premier sports car racers of the day, including Phil Hill, Johnny von Neumann, and Pete Lovely. At the 1954 race at Golden Gate Park, Carl Block hit a row of hay bales, damaging the Allard’s front bodywork. It has been suggested that renowned car customizer Jack Hagemann, whose shop was near Carl Block’s car dealership, likely sculpted the restyled aluminum front end it wears today, and painted the car red.
In 1958, Bob Peterson sold the car to John Tilton for $2,500, and it has since remained in the Tilton family’s care for more than 60 years. In the mid-1970s, the Tilton children retrieved the J2X Le Mans from long-term storage and persuaded their father to restore it, an operation completed by Vic Russum of Racing Dynamics West in Los Angeles, with paint and bodywork by the acclaimed Eddie Paul.
After its restoration, the car appeared at the 1977 and 1978 Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca and was invited to the 1977 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®. The Allard J2X Le Mans was recently recommissioned by the Tilton family and stands ready to continue its proud legacy as a formidable competitor from the golden age of sports car racing.”
I’ve spent a lot of time inspecting 3066 while restoring our J2X Le Mans. Overall, the car is largely original, which is unique among Allards, especially those that raced. It features what could be the original Hemi engine, including a Ford 3-speed which we assume must have Zephyr gears. Some may balk at the modified body, but it’s a unique and integral part of the car’s history.
It looks like 3066 is slated to be sold on Saturday afternoon. The car is estimated to sell for $450,000 to $600,000 and has a reserve. To learn more, visit the Gooding & Company web site: https://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1953-allard-j2x-le-mans/
Gooding & Company: Allard K2 #3127, Lot 132
This car was exported to Noel Kirk Motors in LA on October 7, 1952. It was fitted with Cadillac engine mounts and painted Beige with Brown interior. From the catalog, “Presenting in black paint with a red interior, this K2 was owned by William Avery of Pennsylvania, who hardly drove the car but commissioned a light restoration in 2012. He assigned Lamborghini of Orlando to repaint the bodywork and refurbish the interior, renew the electricals, and install a roll bar. In 2012, the Allard was purchased by the consignor, a private East Coast collector, who has used the car sparingly. Never raced and always meticulously maintained, this Allard comes with the promise of a great motoring experience.”
3127 will be sold Saturday without reserve; the price is estimated at $100,000 to $130,000. To learn more, visit the Gooding & Company web site: https://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1952-allard-k2-roadster/