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Allard Sports Cars

Allard K2
Buick-style portholes and rather odd proportioning marked the Allard K2. This example has been treated to a supercharger and protruding dual exhausts.

Nineteen-fifty brought out an improved version of Sydney Allard’s roadgoing K1 sports car. Logically designated the Allard K2, it retained a live rear axle with transverse leaf spring and a split front axle, now on twin coil springs instead of the single transverse leaf. Also new was a smoother, two/three-seat aluminum body with cut-down doors and a tail treatment not far removed from that of the Jaguar XK120.

From there forward, however, the K2 was its own car, sharing a style with nothing but other Allards. The front fenders were what some designers call the “clamshell” type and carried flush headlights. The front bodysides, with three portholes a la Buick, joined to a rounded nose with a squarish, vertical-bar grille. Set well back from this was a small flat hood panel. Typical of Allard practice to date, stamped-steel disc wheels were standard, and short bumperettes protected the easily dented body front and rear.

Inside, the Allard K2 was pretty stark but more “luxurious” than any previous two-seat Allards -- more like the four-passenger L, M, and P models -- with full instrumentation and a choice of right- or left-hand drive.

Underneath, frame rails and cross-members were stamped specially for Allard by Thomsons of Wolverhampton, not made up from Ford pieces, though engine, transmission, and both axles continued to come from Ford. Also retained was a front axle split in the center to create the now-famous Allard swing-axle ifs, while the rear axle was shortened to provide a narrower rear track.

The Allard K2 was offered with four engines, all based on the Ford/Mercury flathead V-8: a 221-inch version with 85 horsepower, the same with 90 bhp (presumably via high-compression heads and dual intake manifold), a 239-cid block with Ardun ohv heads and a rated 140 bhp, and a bored-out 266.8-cid Mercury unit with Allard aluminum heads and 110 bhp. Unlike the J2, no ohv American V-8s were available here.

Allard made his own speed equipment for the Ford engine because of England’s exorbitant import duty on U.S. parts, though he based them on the American items. His cylinder heads, for example, were copied from Eddie Edmunds, his dual intake manifold from Eddie Meyer.

Americans who bought an Allard with a “Mercury” engine soon found that it really had the 1937/early-’38 Ford 21-stud unit, with the water pump in the block and the water outlets in the center of the cylinder heads. Those who tried to put American speed equipment on the British-built V-8 often found things didn’t fit right, and a 24-stud Edelbrock head, for example, wouldn’t fit at all. The intake manifolds were interchangeable, so that was no problem.

Like the predecessor K1, most carried proprietary British and American flathead Ford V-8s.
Like the predecessor K1, most carried proprietary British and American flathead Ford V-8s.

Like so many other Allards, the Allard K2s were little more than British-style hot rods, modeled on the American concept but designed more for touring or road racing than sheer straight-line performance. American hot rodders bought ‘32 Ford roadsters and went to work; British hot rodders just bought Allards. Undoubtedly, Sydney Allard would have felt right at home in Los Angeles or on El Mirage Dry Lake, and Yankee speed demons would have found him a kindred spirit.

Allard built 119 Allard K2s through 1952, and a substantial number of them were sold in the United States. (Curiously, the first two, sold in February 1950, went to Uruguay.) This isn’t surprising given the Ford heritage of most Allards, many of which received extreme engine modifications after reaching these shores. The ready availability of flathead-Ford speed equipment and wide knowledge of how to use it made a lot of Allards a lot faster than Sydney ever dreamed.

To learn more about Allard and other sports cars, see: