Monterey, 2019

Four Allards made up a part of the thirty-car race group 1B for 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars. The Allards were up against a strong group of California Specials, Jaguars, Mercedes, MG’s, Triumphs, Porsches, and a few flyweight H-Mod specials.

Sunday’s morning race was action packed. As the green flag waived, John Bowe rocketed past the third and second place cars and was challenging Rob Manson’s GMC Tatum Special for the lead by the first corner! After a few laps of trying to get past the Tatum, Bowe dropped back a few places with fading brakes. John Mote in his Buick K2 held his own starting and finishing 11th. Jon LeCarner had a good race in his K2 moving from 21st to 16th. Bernard Dervieux put on a show in J2-1513 (one of the first J2’s built) demonstrating the finer points of Sydney’s divided axle front suspension finishing 26th.

Sunday’s afternoon race was another thriller. While two of the race’s nine laps were run under a full-course yellow, drivers and fans were treated to a tight contest among the five leaders – the Allard J2X against four California specials; the Parkinson Jaguar Special, a Chevy-powered Austin Healey, a Kurtis Dodge, and the Streets Manning Special.

John Bowe of Melbourne Australia was first to take the checkered flag at the wheel of Joe Calleja’s Allard J2X-3146. This is the very same ex-Carroll Shelby Allard that has been a familiar sight at Laguna Seca for the past 20+ years at the hands of Peter Booth and Augie Grassis. Joe has been working diligently to bring this Allard into FIA specs, with plans to race it in Europe and Australia in 2020. Driver John Bowe has some previous racing history in Australia having won the infamous Bathurst 1000 twice; needless to say, Shelby’s old J2X was in good hands. The J2X had a close race with the Parkinson Jaguar, but in the end the John Bowe made it to the checkered flag first - another Allard victory!

John LeCarner finished in 15th spot with his Cad-powered K2, and Bernard Dervieux’s J2 crossed the finish line in 23rd place. John Mote ran strong until lap 5, when his oil pressure gauge suggested that he prudently ‘call it a day’. All three cars will be undergoing refurbishment over the next year and we hope to see them back on track in 2020.

The Allards were pitted among a wide array of cars of similar vintage. Foremost in this group were a number of California-engineered built by names like Hagemann, Tatum, Baldwin, and Kurtis – cars that were not only fast, but quite able to hold their own on road courses against the sophisticated cars from post-war Europe. One could argue that many of the California Specials owe their existence to the production hot rods built by Allard.

The cars of Group 1B have adopted the moniker, Del Monte Trophy Race Group – cars that either raced in the Pebble Beach Road Races in the early ‘50’s, or would have been eligible to have raced there.

The entrance to this paddock area is fittingly decorated with rows of snow fencing and hay bales which were deemed to serve as protection for spectators back in the day, along with several historic black and white race photos from the early ‘50’s. This provided an ideal setting for a gathering after Friday afternoon’s practice, with all 38 cars from Group 1B on display. A more casual affair was held Sunday afternoon where the Del Monte Trophy was awarded to Tim Barnes (over 2L) and his 1951 Jaguar XK120 and to Kaiden Marouf (under 2L) and his 1951 supercharged MG TD.

Monterey’s ‘Car Week’ formally starts with Thursday’s Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, when more than a hundred rare and elegant competitors in Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance embark on a 70-mile tour on public roads around the Monterey area. This provides a unique opportunity for the general public to witness these show cars mix with Highway 1 traffic down to Big Sur, before returning to gather for along Carmel’s Ocean Avenue for lunch.

We again welcomed the opportunity to join Martin Allard in his biscuit-colored Allard K3 as we enjoyed the show cars along Highway 1. A part of this included a special surprise to see Ted Springstead at the wheel of his green Allard K3. Ted was one of the thirty Concours entrants to participate in the ten-day, 1500-mile Pebble Beach Motoring Classic run from Kirkland Washington to Pebble Beach. Aside from a minor fender-bender along the way, it was a great and memorable trip.

Three Allards were ‘on the block’ at two of the six (yes – 6!) auctions underway during Monterey’s Car Week. The Carroll Shelby J2 from his 1952 racing season was for sale at Mecum’s, and two Allards were consigned to Goodings. One was the red, Chrysler-powered J2X LeMans veteran of the Pebble Beach and Golden Gate races in the early ‘50’s, and the other was a very nice black K2. Neither the J2 nor the J2X LM made their reserve, while K2 was sold for a very reasonable $84,000.

We’re looking forward to 2020 which will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races. We hope to see you there!

Sunday morning race for Group 1B

Group 1B Sunday afternoon race

Monterey Car Week – 2018

Four Allards participated in this year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca raceway. The Allards again paddocked as part of the Del Monte Trophy Racing Group (www.dmtrg.com), a gathering of late 40’s and early 50’s sports racers.

We were glad to see Bernard Dervieux return to Laguna Seca with his silver Cad-powered J2, along with John Mote’s ‘Smurf Blue’ Buick-powered K2. Jon LeCarner and Doug Klink are continuing to carry on the Jim Degnan/George Myers tradition with their red K2’s pitted next to each other.

This year the paddock area was graced by a fifth Allard that has recently come out of storage – the Tilton family ’53 J2X LeMans. #3066 is a veteran of the Pebble Beach and several other West Coast races of 1954 and 1955, and has been owned by the family since 1958. The car suffered body damage during a disagreement with some hay bales during the 1954 Golden Gate Races, and was fitted with a restyled front cowl to get it back on the track in 1955. There is strong speculation that Jack Hagemann, an esteemed northern California aluminum racecar builder of the day, performed this modification.

The four racing Allards ran among an eclectic group of their contemporaries in Group 2A on Saturday. Doug Klink and John Mote started in 11th and 13th spots in the 37car grid, and Jon LeCarner and Bernard Dervieux were in 17th and 26th. Mote moved up to finish 10th in the course of the ten lap race, and Dervieux took the checker flag in 20th place. Klink’s K2 was sidelined early in the race when a small, but significant, throttle linkage component broke at a most inopportune time. LeCarner had a second car running in Group 3A, so he had to bring his Allard in early to get his Devin SS to Pre-grid for the next event.

‘Car Week’ now includes six auctions. One Allard crossed the block this year – a red, Olds-powered J2X at the RM Sotheby auction. It was an older restoration, highly modified for rallying and racing. The car sold for $250,000.

We again enjoyed visiting with our old friend Lindsey Parsons. You may recall that Lindsey gained some well-deserved Allard fame by making several cross country trips with his J2X from his home in New Jersey to the West Coast over the past 20 years. He recently sold his immaculately restored J2X, but continues to keep his enthusiasm for Allards. We are looking forward to getting together again next year!

Words by Chuck Warnes, Photos by Colin Warnes

Car Week, 2017

In recent years the August conglomeration of automotive events (car shows, races, auctions and tours) on California’s Monterey Peninsula has taken on the generic title of Car Week. A ‘bucket list’ happening for car lovers, but with a derisive tone by some of the locals who are prone to complain – all the way to the bank.

Numerous enthusiasts of vintage racing were gratified to see six Allards running in the 2017 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. This year’s Group 5A of 1947 – 1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars raced on Saturday for the first time in several years (the group usually races in Sunday).

Augie Grassis raced the J2X that was Carroll Shelby’s principal mount back in ’53 and ’54. The car’s previous owner, Peter Booth, regularly raced it at Laguna Seca throughout the 1990’s. The two red K2’s of Jon LeCarner and Doug Klink brought back fond memories of the long-term friendly rivalry at Laguna Seca and other west coast venues between Jim Degnan and the late George Myers. John Mote returned this year with his bright blue Buick-powered K2. This car’s previous owner, Paul James, was a frequent Laguna Seca participant back in the 1990’s.

The Allard pack was filled out by Vince Vento who again demonstrated his mastery of outwitting his J2X’s HydraMatic around the hills and turns of Laguna Seca, and Ted Herb who was racing his recently acquired and beautifully refurbished “BRG” K2.

A well-established Friday tradition plays out when a group of select racers, under the enthusiastic escort of the California Highway Patrol, depart from Laguna Seca to make the 14 mile trek up over Laureles Grade, and westward along pristine Carmel Valley Road to intrude upon the sedate, exclusive and lavish Quail Motorsports Gathering.

The Race 5A participants were this year’s select group, and Vince Vento graciously allowed Colin to ride ‘shotgun’. A few tense moments arose when Vince was informed of a flat tire as they were lining up to depart. However, Chris Campbell of Vintage Connection – with the combination of experience, the right tools and knock-off hubs – came to the rescue. Vince’s return to Laguna Seca also got momentarily delayed (by Colin…a story for another time), and might have missed the group were it not for another enthused CHP officer who made full use of his motorcycle’s lights and siren to escort Vince through and around the leisurely homebound traffic of Carmel Valley Road.

Thursday’s highlight is the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance when 100+ contestants in Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance make a two-hour tour around the Monterey Peninsula, down Highway 1 to Big Sur, and then return to line up on Carmel’s Ocean Avenue. This provides a special opportunity for thousands of car lovers to get a close hand look of the Pebble Beach contestants – free of charge.

Seven of the RMMR Group 5A cars at Laguna Seca were California Specials. These unique home-built racers held their own on west coast road courses – including the Pebble Beach Road Races – against a variety of European imports in the early fifties. California Specials were further honored this year by comprising a special class at the Pebble Beach Concours.

Bruce McCaw’s faithfully restored 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer was this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Best of Show award winner. Bruce has gathered an enviable collection of historic vehicles that includes several significant Allards including the Steyr, Sydney’s ’53 Le Mans JR, Walt Grey’s J2X Le Mans, and Irwin Goldschmidt’s Watkins Glen winning J2.

The infamous customized black & yellow Von Dutch Allard K2 crossed the ramp at Gooding & Company for $242,000.

Finally, Bill Marriott graciously shipped the iconic #14 J2 out from the east coast in honor of the late Bill Pollack. While in California, it was on display at both the McCall Jet Center Party and The Quail. The car was the focus of attention one week later as it took center stage on the front lawn of Bill Pollack’s Sherman Oaks home as friends & family celebrated his full life.

Monterey Car Week, 2016

Eight years have passed since vintage racing enthusiasts have been able to witness as many as six Allards gracing the field of the Monterey Historics/Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Five of the six Allards that made up this year’s field have been Laguna Seca veterans over the years – and the sixth was recently imported from England.

All 15 groups’ Practice & Qualifying sessions were on Friday, and the Group 1B (Sports Racing and GT Cars 1947-1955) race took place on Sunday. That morning’s practice session was delayed by heavy fog, which left the field stranded on the grid for almost an hour while the pace cars made reconnaissance laps before practice could commence.

This caused some minor disruption to the starting grid where Steve Schuler found himself bumped down from third to eleventh spot for the afternoon race. However once the green flag fell, Steve steadily worked his Cad-powered J2 up through the field to a third place finish. We still have vivid recollections of the first time we saw Steve’s J2 in 1990 – essentially a burned out and drilled out hulk sitting on a trailer in the Laguna Seca paddock. A true inspiration to folks who might feel their ‘basket case’ is too far gone to rebuild. On a side note, Steve and his J2 were featured prominently on a wall sized graphic inside the Rolex Drivers Lounge.

Eleventh place finisher in Group 1B was Jon LeCarner at the wheel of his Cad-powered K2 – the very same red K2 that Jim Degnan raced at Laguna Seca and other west coast venues for 20+ years. Jim, incidentally, was a part of Jon’s ‘pit crew’ during the previous week’s ‘Pre-reunion’. It was great to get together and swap stories about the ‘good old days’ with our old friend.

Vince Vento was at the wheel of his ex-Fred Warner Cad-powered J2X that he brought all the way from Florida. Vince acquired this historic Allard a few years ago, and has been having fun with it ever since; running the Colorado Grand, showing at Amelia Island and racing at Road America.

A familiar looking blue K2 caught our eye as we were walking through the paddock area on Friday. This provided an opportunity to meet John Mote, the car’s new owner, who explained that he bought his Buick-powered K2 out of its 19 years of hibernation. This was John’s ‘maiden voyage’ – both at Monterey, and in the field of vintage sports car racing. This K2’s previous owner, Paul James was a regular participant in the Monterey Historics back in the 1990’s. Allard’s west coast distributor, Alan Moss, originally purchased this K2 in New York in 1950, and drove it out to Los Angeles (making it one of the first Allard’s on the west coast).

Bernard Dervieux reports that he has sold his two-cylinder Deutsch-Bonnet, and is now focusing his Allard, which is at the opposite end of the vintage racing spectrum. It was good to see Bernard again exercising his silver Cad-powered J2 (also one of the first Allard’s on the west coast) after a seven-year hiatus.

Last year Alan Patterson shared news about his two recent acquisitions – one of the few quaint, three-wheeled Allard Clipper ‘mini cars’, and the ‘other’ 1958 Allard GT coupe. Many vintage racing fans in the US are familiar with Bob Girvin’s Chrysler-powered Allard GT, which incidentally, now resides in Europe. The ‘other’ GT coupe (right hand drive and powered with a Jaguar C-type engine) was built specifically for Sydney Allard who used it for his personal transport for several years. It went through subsequent owners until Alan Patterson imported it to Pennsylvania where he embarked on a major rebuild. This event at Laguna Seca was the car’s maiden voyage.

Roger Allard was also present in the vendor zone with a silver J2X MkII. Roger had a prime spot at the foot of the Dunlop bridge and reported very good interest in the car. We also had an opportunity to test drive the car on the back roads around Laguna Seca…a full report is coming soon.

Two Allard’s were represented in the auctions. First up was Bonhams, which was selling the Ford Cobra powered J2-2121. Unfortunately, the car failed to sell and is now being listed for $325,000 via Bonham’s. Next up was K2-3017 that was offered by RM-Sotheby’s. This immaculate and unique deDion equipped hemi-powered (factory modification) K2 was a steal at $137,000 (it was unfortunately the first car to cross the block).

All in all, the 2016 Monterey car week solidified its reputation as the premiere destination car gathering in the world. Nowhere else do this many historic, unique, and exotic cars gather in one place. If you’ve never been…you should go…and hopefully we’ll be giving you a great reason to come with your Allard in 2017.

Monterey Preview...

Monterey Car Week is just a few weeks away so we decided to put together a brief preview of what to expect as an Allard enthusiast. The big news is that there will hopefully be six Allards on track at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (RRMR). This is the biggest group of Allards racing at Monterey in over 10 years. You should see (2) K2’s, (2) J2’s, a J2X, and a…GT. Not Bob Girvin’s GT (which now resides in Germany), but Sydney Allard’s Jag powered GT, which is now owned by Alan Patterson. Alan and Vince Vento (J2X) will be racing Saturday in Group 1A while Bernard Dervieux and Steve Schuler will be racing their J2’s alongside the K2’s of Jon LeCarner and John Mote in Group 1B on Sunday.

Photo courtesy Patrick Ernzen

Photo courtesy Patrick Ernzen

On the auction scene, two Allard's, a J2 and a K2 will be crossing the block. First up is J2-2121 at the Bonham's Quail auction on Friday afternoon. 2121 is a very nice J2 with an interesting history; it features a Shelby Cobra 289 Hi-Po V8 and a top shelf restoration. To learn more about J2-2121 (Lot 8), click here; the auction starts at 11:00. Next up, RM Sotheby's will be selling a very nice K2, chassis 3017 as lot #101. This is the only K2 known to be equipped by the factory for the Chrysler Hemi, side mount spare, wire wheels, and the De Dion rear suspension (one of only a handful so equipped). The car will be first across the block (auction starts at 4:00) so get there early. Click here to learn more about this car.

Roger Allard will also be the Peninsula during Car Week with one his very nice Mk II’s. If you’d like to connect with Roger and test out a J2X Mk II for yourself, you can contact him at info@allardj2x.com or 514-866-9309.

Finally, you may recall that in years past we’ve had an Allard breakfast in Carmel on Saturday morning. Breakfast is off the table this year since we’ll have Allards racing on both Saturday and Sunday. The new plan is to meet up at 4:30 – 6:00pm in the bar of the Embassy Suites in Seaside (1441 Canyon del Rey, Seaside, CA 93955). This means you’ll have plenty of time to bid on the K2, then pop over to the Embassy Bar to brag about your new purchase.

See you in a few weeks!

Monterey Car Week, 2013

For me, the 2013 Monterey ‘Car Week’ commenced on Thursday morning, when I took up my post to watch the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance participants turn into Ocean Avenue in downtown Carmel. There, they take a two hour lunch break, which gives a few thousand ‘folks like us’ a rare chance to get up close and personal with about 200 of the PB Concours entrants.

The Tour presents the chance to witness a broad spectrum of the world’s most elegant and exotic vehicles running on the road. I truly respect the courage of the participants who are willing to expose their prize autos to the rigors of an 88 mile road trip – a mere three days before show time. We were somewhat surprised to see our friend, Martin Allard, at the wheel of his green K3 approaching the corner and get directed into the lineup on Ocean Avenue!

Martin and his family are Carmel residents, and that morning he decided to take a little run down Hwy 1 to watch the Tour. His plan was to turn around at Bixby Bridge and return to Carmel in time to take his wife out for brunch. However, he suddenly found himself as a part of the lineup. Those directing traffic presumed that he was a part of the Tour, and summarily directed him to Ocean Avenue. While Martin and his Allard were not official entrants, it is our opinion that his extremely original K3 could qualify for PB’s Postwar Preservation class.

Two very nice Allards sold Mecum Auctions – an L Type that went for $44K, and an immaculate K2 for $95K. David Rossiter has done considerable work on his ’51 K2 in the ten years that he has owned it, and it gained a fair amount of well deserved attention at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. The upcoming Ironstone Concours d’Elegance is featuring David’s red K2 on the poster promoting the September 28 event in the California Gold Rush town of Murphys.

On Saturday morning a few Allard folks got together for an impromptu breakfast. They included David Rossiter, Alan & Celia Tiley, Colin & Chuck Warnes, Lindsey Parsons, Mark Moskowitz, Bernard Dervieux, and Martin Allard. Over the weekend we also had a chance to visit with Al & Ursula Reynolds, Bob Weiner, Ron Hale and Alan Patterson.

Alan’s J2X, which he has owned and raced for the past 60 years is currently in Pennsylvania. He shared his excitement about his two most recent acquisitions – one of the two Allard GT’s, and one of the two remaining three-wheeled Allard Clippers. He reports that they have just arrived at the dock in New Jersey, and he is looking forward to commencing their restorations.

2013 saw one Allard entrant at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion races. This was Steve Schuler’s green J2 – the third place overall, first-in-class finisher of the 1950 24 Hours of LeMans. Steve turned the Allard driving duties over to Graham Smith. Graham owns and races a J2 in Australia, and did much of the restoration on Steve’s J2 a few years ago. Graham started race 5B in 29th place, and in 8 laps worked his way up to a 5th place finish. Graham’s great drive in Sunday’s race also netted him the prestigious Rolex Award For Excellence in race group 5B.

RMMR’s closing celebration on Sunday includes the Rolex Awards of Excellence presentations (see above) to in

dividual drivers in each race category, and also the event’s ‘Spirit of Monterey’ honor to the driver who excelled in the spirit of the weekend.  This year’s ‘Spirit of Monterey’ award went to John Harden, who drove his 1963 Genie in Group 4A.  John’s first race was in 1953 when he competed in one of the Pebble Beach Road Races. At age 81, Harden has taken his racing helmet off for good, officially retiring after Saturday’s race, where he finished a very respectable eighth out of 33 cars running in his class. 

I first met John at Laguna Seca in 1984, when he was racing his Hilborn injected J2X, and I was a newly hatched Allard owner in search of information and moral support. John, as a part of Vintage Connections in Oklahoma City, has restored and serviced many an Allard over the years, and continues to be a valuable technical resource to Allard owners worldwide. We offer our congratulations to John for this well deserved honor.

 

Photo: Rolex, Stephan Cooper

Car Week, 2012

Allards have been conspicuous by their absence at Laguna Seca for the past two years. So it was great to again see two veteran Allards from the Monterey Historic days running in the 2012 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (RMMR). Steve Schuler brought his beautiful and famous J2 1578 – the 3rd place finisher of the 1950 Le Mans. He was joined in the Group 5B (1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars) by Jim Degnan’s friend, Jon Le Carner at the wheel of Jim’s red 1952 K2 3035. Both cars attracted a good amount of attention from vintage racing fans throughout the weekend.
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