The Last Checkered Flag: Dudley Hume

Dudley Hume, seated in the P2 prototype chassis

Dudley Hume, seated in the P2 prototype chassis

We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of our Club President, Dudley Hume. Below is a remembrance of Dudley by his daughter Sally Dornberger and Allard aficionado Mike Knapman. Also included is an appreciation by David Hooper who worked with Dudley in the Allard Drafting office. In the coming weeks we’ll post some insights from Dudley that we think you’ll find interesting. He will be missed.

June 17, 1922 to May 31, 2019

Dudley Rowland Hume was born on June 17th, 1922 in Richmond, Surrey, to Charles Edward Homer Hume, an “engineer’s draughtsman” (an architect) and Jessie Frances Hume, nee Stagg. Jessie’s father was a captain on the White Star Line and later a Harbour Master of the Port of London.

Dudley grew up in Twickenham and trained as a draughtsman at Twickenham Technical College. He studied hard at night school and became an apprentice with a company making electrical equipment, initially as electrical engineer but changing mid-course to a jig and tool draughtsman. During WW2 this was a protected profession but he joined the Home Guard as a motorcycle dispatch rider.

In 1942 he met Eileen Pope at Richmond ice rink and they married on July 6th, 1946 at Heston Church, Middlesex.

In the post-war period Dudley joined AEC as a jig and tool draughtsman later transferring to the chassis design office. When he saw an advertisement for a chassis designer at Aston Martin he successfully applied for it, deciding in the process to abandon thoughts of further study and instead to fulfil his childhood ambition of becoming a car designer and build his first car. During his life Dudley was to design and build several cars, including the Allard JR, the Barracuda and a Triumph powered two-seater special.

During his time at Aston Martin he had done some drawing jobs for Reg Canham, General Manager at the Allard Motor Co.. When David Brown, shortly after buying Aston Martin also bought Lagonda, prospects for the Aston Martin employees were not bright – new brooms, etc. – so Dudley decided to move on. His contact with Reg Canham proved fruitful and in 1949 Dudley moved to Allard as Chief Draughtsman. As it happens crossing paths with Ted Cutting who had been at Allard since 1946, and went to Aston Martin where he was involved in the development of the DBR racing cars (their careers might well have coincided later when both worked at Ford).

Allard tubular frame chassis as designed by Dudley

Allard tubular frame chassis as designed by Dudley

Whilst cars were Dudley’s main passion (his first car was a 1930’s Trojan) his hobbies were model airplanes which he used to fly in Richmond Park and later steam railways, full size and 16mm model scale. Family holidays, in Devon, Cornwall or Wales, always involved a ride on a steam railway and he had model trains running around inside and outside several of his homes.

In the late 1950’s Dudley and Eileen chose a different path and embarked on pub landlord training with Courage breweries. Their first pub was the Red Lion Inn at Turners Hill in Sussex. Eventually Dudley left the pub business and took a job at the Ford Motor Company in Essex, the family moving to West Kingsdown in Kent.

After retiring from Ford in 1986, Dudley and Eileen moved to Ventnor on the Isle of Wight for a short time before returning to the mainland. In 1990 Dudley was the Honorary President of the Allard Register and they were invited to the United States to be present at the classic car meet in Monterey, California.

After a spell as “ex-pats” in Spain Dudley and Eileen moved to Bourne in Lincolnshire. When Eileen died in 2007 – they had been married over 60 years – after a few years Dudley decided to move down south, to more ‘familiar territory’ at Teston, Kent.

The Allard JR as designed by Dudley

The Allard JR as designed by Dudley

Dudley worked for the Allard Motor Company from 1949 to 1954, the last two years as a consultant. During his time there he stiffened up the chassis of the P1 saloon, designed the J2X, the tubular chassis, the Palm Beach, the P2 and notably the JR. Always willing to pass on his experience he wrote many technical articles for the Allard Owners Club newsletter and 65 years on was collaborating with the Allard family about the construction of their continuation JR. His legacy will surely live on.

-Sally Dornberger and Mike Knapman


Dudley Joined the Company in1949 as Chief Draughtsman, being based at the drawing office which was next to the Allard main works in Park Hill, Clapham. At the time he joined, the M type was near to being replaced by the Pl saloon and the J2 was already in build; Dudley was hard pressed to implement these changes from leaf sprung front suspension to coil spring plus introduction of telescopic shock absorbers. Dudley’s knowledge of vehicle suspension design enabled him to draw up coil spring specification to cover the dimensions, spring rates and frequencies.

At this time the works had updated its equipment with a British Oxygen profile cutter, a bending machine and a Dunlop wheel balancer all of which helped increase production of chassis components, along with an increase in quality. The profile cutter enabled Dudley to help introduce patterns from full size dimensioned drawings to balance the workloads.

The supplier of the pressed steel side members, which had been used on all Allard chassis, required new tools at an increase in cost the Company could not fund. This resulted in Dudley’s twin tubular design being produced in house. This new design was used on all P2, K3, Palm Beach MK 1&2 and JR models.

For the 1953 Le Mans Dudley convinced Sydney that the only way he could produce a new design was to forgo his Allard works commitments and work from home – this Dudley did and left the Company when the JR design was complete. Dudley had always wanted to design an Allard from scratch – this he achieved.

-David Hooper

Special thanks to the Allard Owners Club for alerting us of Dudley’s passing and for sharing these remembrances.