1953 Allard K3 Roadster

Allard Motor Company was founded in the aftermath of WWII by Sydney Allard, a London garage owner who was also known for being a rather bold and courageous racing driver. Prior to the war, Allard built a handful of cars for trials competition on bespoke chassis that utilized cheap American horsepower in the form Ford’s V8 end even the Lincoln V12! His first cars were successful enough to sell about a dozen examples before the war. After the war, Sydney Allard wasted little time getting back to building cars. In 1946 he announced the arrival of the K1, a 2-seat roadster with a box-section chassis, live rear axle, transverse leaf springs and the signature split-axle front suspension designed by Les Ballamy. As a natural by-product of Allard’s war-time business repairing Ford military vehicles, power came from the ubiquitous Ford “flathead” V8, with the option to fit the more powerful Mercury version following suit. Many cars would be equipped with the ARDUN overhead valve conversion, as its creator, Zora Arkus Duntov served as a technical advisor and works driver for Sydney Allard prior to going to General Motors where he became the savior of the Corvette. Allard had indeed found an ideal formula, as 151 customers came knocking to buy the K1.

Other models would follow suit, in either road or racing versions, as did and improved coil spring front-end. The J2 marked Allard’s arrival on the international motorsport scene, particularly in the United States where Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile or Chrysler powered J2s would come to dominate the heady early days of open road racing in the ‘States. Allard’s proudest moment came in 1950 when Tom Cole and Sydney Allard drove a Cadillac-powered J2 to an impressive 3rd overall at the 24 hours of LeMans, despite having only top gear at their disposal!

Large manufacturers caught the sports car bug and development was moving at such a pace that Allard struggled to keep up. The Palm Beach of 1952 featured a modern fully enveloped body and Ford Consul or Zephyr engines of four or six cylinders respectively. Just 80 were built in all, but the body design of the Palm Beach reappeared for the K3, which was in essence, a slightly civilized, road-going version of the brutal J2. Hidden beneath the attractive alloy body was a massive American V8, usually an overhead valve Cadillac. Just 62 were built, and most came to the USA sans-engine, allowing buyers the choice of power. Whatever the choice, the V8 powered Allard K3 is a thrilling machine from the early days of the sports car revolution in America.

This 1953 Allard K3 is an outstanding example of this rare and exciting Anglo-American hybrid.  While most customers opted for Cadillac’s proven OHV V8, a few buyers, including this car’s first owner, Mr. Leonard D. Henry of New York City, would select the mighty Chrysler FirePower Hemi topped with dual Carter WCFB carburetors, good for at least 325 horsepower. According to records from the Allard Register, the car was originally delivered in silver gray with fawn weather equipment and a green interior. Subsequent owners included Emil Cermelt of Ohio, and later Mel Belovicz. In the mid-1990s, the car was treated to a concours-quality restoration by the renowned RM Restorations of Ontario, Canada, before changing hands again to join another prominent collection.

RM’s master craftspeople performed their typically outstanding work on this K3, finishing it in a beautiful shade of dark green over a tan leather cockpit with silver painted wire wheels. The quality of the restoration is outstanding, and despite the time passed since its completion, it remains in beautiful condition throughout.

The slab-sided alloy body is exceptionally straight, with precise panel gaps and fine quality detailing. Deep green paintwork suits the shape very well, and the quality is truly outstanding, having matured slightly but remaining in lovely condition since its restoration. The fully enveloped bodywork is simple and clean in its design, with only chrome bumpers, a polished grille and minor chrome details used to highlight the shape. The aggressive bonnet bulge was necessary to clear the dual Carter WCFB carbs, and louvers help keep engine bay temps in check. It’s all very purposeful, yet clean and understated.

Inside, the quality of the restoration continues to impress. Lovely biscuit-tan leather graces the seats, door cards and transmission tunnel. The dash is covered in complementing material and displays an array of fully restored original instruments. The driver grips a wonderful banjo-type steering wheel, and the shift lever for the 4-speed manual gearbox falls easily to hand. As with the exterior restoration, the interior is beautifully finished, detailed to a very high standard and shows minimal use since it was completed. Tan Wilton wool carpets and a full array of weather equipment in tan Stayfast canvas round out the finely presented cockpit.

Chrysler’s classic FirePower Hemi is wonderfully presented in the engine bay with correct wiring, hardware and fittings in very tidy order. It sounds fantastic, breathing through dual side-exit exhausts and weighing in at just over 2500 pounds with a thumping 325 horsepower, there’s little doubt this K3 has the capacity to thrill all aboard. Allards have always been exciting cars to drive, and this wonderful K3 is no exception; a fabulous choice for events such as the Colorado Grand, Copperstate 1000 or similar. This is a gorgeous example the breed, a wonderful machine that is a thrill to drive and a worthy addition to virtually any collection.

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