Of the many automobiles designed and produced by innovative British Ford dealer, constructor and racer Sydney Allard, the elemental, cycle-fender J2 and J2X continue to vividly embody the adventure and romance of early postwar racing like no other automobiles. Carrying on Allard’s proven, race-winning formula the J2 combined a lightweight chassis and simple bodywork with powerful large-displacement engines.
Produced for 1950-51, the J2 featured a simple and lightweight box-section chassis with Allard’s signature split axle up front and a deDion rear suspension, plus advanced, large-diameter Lockheeed ‘Al-Fin’ hydraulic brakes. Offered with a choice of factory-installed or customer-sourced American V-8 engines, including Ardun OHV Ford and Mercury conversions, plus the powerful new Cadillac and Chrysler overhead-valve V-8s, the J2 was usually equipped with a 3-speed manual transmission for power delivery; however, the General Motors Hydra-Matic automatic transmission found its way into a handful of Cadillac-powered Allards.
Immediately, the Allard J2 was the scourge of British, European, and American motorsports, taking a sterling class win and third overall at the 1950 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Allard co-driving with New Yorker Tom Cole. The J2’s success in America was particularly strong, including wins at Bridgehampton, Pebble Beach, Watkins Glen, and many other venues during the early-1950s “Golden Age” of American sports-car racing. Soon-to-be-famous American J2 pilots included Phil Hill, Carroll Shelby, and John Fitch. According to data maintained by the Allard Register, 94 examples of the J2 were constructed from 1949 to 1952, with the carefully re-engineered J2X succeeding it.
Among the welcome revisions ushered in by the J2X were a 6-inch frame extension, while wheelbase remained unchanged at 100 inches. Engines were moved forward by 7.5 inches for improved cockpit space with the added benefit of improved handling characteristics. As before with the J2, a wide array of engines was available; however, Cadillac and Chrysler V-8s were most commonly used. In addition to 71 cycle-fender J2X models, 14 envelope-bodied J2X Le Mans cars were produced, according to figures published by the Allard Register.
The late-production J2X offered here, numbered J2X 3209, carries exceptionally well known and documented history from new. According to Allard Register records, Chassis 3209 is one of just nine Allard automobiles exported new to Canada in all, and the sole J2X exported there. Originally painted Beige with Red upholstery and Crimson wire wheels, 3209 was exported on May 15, 1953 to Canada via rallyist and importer Alec Budd of Budd & Dyer in Montreal, Quebec. Quebec resident David Gurd was the Allard’s original owner, through whom it passed to restaurateur Richard Mauron of Toronto, Ontario, who raced MGs during the early 1950s. Among Mauron’s outings with 3209, he raced the Allard at the 1955 Canadian National Exhibition, damaging the right front and thereafter selling the J2X in favor of a 300SL Gullwing.
The Allard’s next owner was Downsview, Ontario resident Fred J. Hayes, who had the car repainted Red in 1955, then Black in 1956. Mr. Hayes advertised the car for sale in the January 1956 issue of Road & Track magazine: “ALLARD J2X. One of the last produced, mileage under 5000, condition original and immaculate, modified Cadillac engine, Jaguar gearbox, wire wheels, side mount spare.” However, the car went unsold and Mr. Hayes retained and raced it until 1957. According to a period photograph published by the Allard Register, Fred Hayes set fastest time with 3209 at the 1956 Rattlesnake Point hill climb. Other period sightings of 3209 under Mr. Hayes’ ownership included an outing to Harewood Acres in Jarvis, Ontario - the ex-RCAF training base – and other racing venues prior to the establishment of the Mosport circuit (now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) near Toronto during the 1960s.
The next owner of 3209 was Dave R. Pidgeon, resident in Oakville, Ontario and a nephew of movie actor Walter Pidgeon, who worked in Toronto at the time and reportedly used the Allard as his daily driver on sunny days. Photographed for the October 1959 cover of Canada Track & Traffic magazine, 3209 was offered for sale by Mr. Pidgeon in the magazine’s July 1961 issue, described as a “CADILLAC-ALLARD J2X – Superb track and road car. Particularly suited to hill climbs, as featured on CT&T cover, October 1959. Maintained in top condition. Engine set up by Detroit Racing Equipment with 4 2-throat carburetors, solid valve lifters. Corvette 4-speed transmission. Finished in bright blue, red leather. Not suitable for beginners or those with a “heavy foot.”
In January 1962, Mr. Pidgeon sold the Allard for a reported $2,000 to Ontario resident Al Sands, who retained it for more than the next 50 years, eventually selling the car to a fellow Ontario, Canada-based Allard enthusiast. In tribute to Mr. Sands, the new owner drove the J2X in the 2018 Hockley Hill Climb, held in Southern Ontario’s beautiful Hockley Valley, with the former owner’s ashes fittingly along for the ride.
Sorted and maintained by the most recent owner in readiness for driving enjoyment as originally intended, the J2X remains otherwise unaltered and as previously owned by Mr. Sands. As offered, the J2X features a 331 cubic-inch Cadillac OHV V-8 engine, equipped with twin Holley 4-barrel carburetors and finned alloy rocker covers, paired with a Jaguar 4-speed manual gearbox. While older, the Allard’s Metallic Blue paint finish remains nice and shiny, indicative of proper care and maintenance. Accents include painted wire-spoke wheels and the wonderfully patinated, red leather-trimmed seats. Nicely detailed and presented, this rare, lovely, and honest Allard J2X carries outstanding history and marks an important evolutionary step in classic postwar sports cars with its British chassis and potent American V-8 power, clearly foreshadowing such other sporting legends as Carroll Shelby’s AC-based Cobras of the 1960s. Now offered ready to enjoy on your favorite stretch of open road or on today’s most desirable long-distance classic rallies, including the famous Colorado Grand, this wonderful 1954 Allard J2X is ready to amaze all onlookers with its purposeful presence and mighty performance.
Offers welcome and trades considered
Stock number 7567
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