Long before Carroll Shelby first conceived his Cobra and its no-nonsense combination of American V-8 power with a lightweight British body and chassis by AC, London Ford dealer Sydney Allard pioneered the concept as the fastest path to racing victory. Crude but ferocious prewar trials machines were succeeded by Allard’s postwar sports roadsters and saloons, designed from the outset for easily tuned and powerful American V-8 engines, particularly Ford’s venerable “Flathead,” plus Cadillac and Lincoln mills. The K1 was a two-seater, pure sports model intended for road and track use with a short wheelbase, limited storage capacity and rudimentary weather protection. Underpinnings were simple but effective, comprising a split axle up front – an early form of independent front suspension, plus a live rear axle and transverse leaf springs front and rear. If anyone doubted the effectiveness of those design elements, they were conclusively silenced by Allard’s stellar track record, including the 1949 British Hill Climb Championship, a third-place podium at Le Mans in 1950, and outright victory in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, among a long list of wins and podiums.
According to data published in the Allard Register and records compiled by marque historian Tom Lush, 193 examples of the K1 were produced between November 1946 and April 1950, including 32 bare chassis. Sadly, Allard records are sparse, following a devastating factory fire in 1966. Numbered 559, this captivating Allard K1 Roadster is understood to have been shipped during its early days to Uruguay, a South American hotbed of racing activity following WW II, giving rise to international superstars like Juan Manuel Fangio and Froilan Gonzalez. Years later, it was rediscovered in Europe, where the K1 was appropriately restored and participated in numerous events and classic tours including the 1993 the Mille Miglia, in which it ran as Number 155.
As offered, the K1 looks great in its black paint, with only some aging to the paint finish at the cowl visible upon closer inspection. Chrome brightwork, “Brooklands” racing windscreens, a central rear-view mirror, roll bar, and Halibrand-style American Racing chrome wheels provide great accents. Upholstered in very inviting red leather, the cockpit of the K1 features a period-style 4-speoke steering wheel with padded hub, a floor shifter, an engine-turned dash panel and full period-style instrumentation. Full leather-clad door panels feature useful map pockets with a lightning-bolt motif suggestive of power and speed. A rear-mounted spare wheel/tire combination occupies a recess within the rear deck for quick access while in the heat of competition. Lurking beneath that long hood with its oversize offset air scoop resides a proper 239 CI Ford “Flathead” V-8 engine as fitted to most K1s. However, this one gets a healthy power boost courtesy of a vintage belt-driven McCulloch centrifugal supercharger fed by a Stromberg ‘97’ 2-barrel carburetor. A 3-speed manual transmission, period Ford “Banjo” differential and 4-wheel drum brakes round out the Allard’s proven and robust mechanical package.
Highly attractive throughout, this 1951 Allard K1 Roadster is one of only some 57 examples cited by the Allard Register to remain in existence today. It offers a great driving experience evoking the 1950s “Golden Age” of sports cars and motor racing and can readily be prepared for vintage circuit racing or rallying. A thrilling find, it will provide a great entry into a multitude classic touring events and an awesome drive along your favorite stretch of open road!
Offers welcome and trades considered