Allard found a way to combine racing ingenuity and innovation to build a breed of sports cars that challenged the big boys. See more pictures of sports cars.
Allard sports cars demonstrated how good-old-fashioned gumption can sometimes trump the fancy products of big-name automakers. In this article, you will learn how Allard’s homegrown designs in the 1940s and 1950s gave giants such as Ferrari and Jaguar all they could handle in the wide-open world of international road racing.
Sydney Allard came on the scene as a smart and resourceful Brit who owned a garage that sold English Fords in the 1920s and ‘30s. Allard was also a racer and enjoyed track success with home-built cars that put Ford flathead V-8s in chassis he had modified for the purpose.
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He began with the Allard K1, a roadgoing Ford-powered convertible of 1946. See how it was perfected in 1950 with the Allard J2, a wild-looking racing roadster that combined the crude-but-effective Allard chassis with hearty V-8s from Ford, Chrysler, even Cadillac.
Along with the Allard J2X of 1952, these crazed crossbreeds finished ahead of pedigreed sports cars on courses from Watkins Glen to Pebble Beach. Allard also built some tamer street models, including the Allard K2 of 1950 and perhaps his best-looking car, the Allard K3 of 1952.
Allard’s operation eventually would succumb to the development dollars “real” automakers could throw behind their designs. But for a brief and wondrous moment in the 1950s, Allard’s backyard brutes stood up to virtually all comers.
Let's get started on the next page with the car that started it all -- the Allard K1.