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Lot 024: Allard L1

Classic Cars & Bikes, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (12 March 2008)

A motor sport enthusiast through and through, Sydney Allard was a well-known figure on the pre-war trials and hill climb scene. His first car was based on a wrecked Ford V8 coupe onto which he grafted the body of a Grand Prix Bugatti. Based at his family's garage in Putney until 1945 and then in Clapham, he went on to make a succession of lightweight sports cars powered by powerful American V8 engines which would be competitive in trials events and still be suitable for road use. In fact Carroll Shelby drove an Allard in the 1950s and acknowledged Sydney's influence on his famous AC Cobra.Just twelve Allards were made before the war, mainly for Sydney's own use, but such was their success that he turned the hobby into a business once hostilities were over. Four post-war models were introduced: the J, a competition sports car; the K, a slightly larger car intended for road use; the L, with four seats; and the M, a four-seat drophead.All featured a V8 engine mated to a Ford three-speed manual transmission with a remote shifter, torque tube drive shaft and a solid rear axle. Front suspension was of the Bellamy pattern, which was a Ford solid front axle modified into a swing axle independent suspension. With good handling and excellent power-to-weight ratios, the cars were formidably successful in competition, Sydney himself finishing 3rd at Le Mans in a J2 two-seater and winning the Monte Carlo Rally outright in a P2 saloon.Testing a J2 in 1951, 'Motor' referred to it as "the finest sports motor bicycle on four wheels ever conceived" before raving about its "splendid handling qualities and outstanding performance" and concluding: "to take the J2 on a 100-mile journey away from towns on a fine day is one of the most memorable experiences which a motoring enthusiast can achieve." By the time Allard production ceased in 1959, less than 2,000 cars had been made.This particular car is especially rare, being unlike the other 191 L models which were produced between 1946 and 1950. First registered in December 1948, it is believed to be one of just two such cars made, named the L1. It was reputedly driven to the 1948 or '49 London Motor Show by Sydney Allard and bought off the stand by an English racing driver resident in Italy. In 1959 it was acquired by a Birmingham man who used it as his daily driver for many years and whose family kept it until earlier this year.The chassis has recently been shot-blasted and painted, new brakes have been fitted all round and a new fuel tank made and fitted. The ash frame is said to be in good condition and the aluminium bodywork is all sound. The 3.6-litre Ford V8 engine runs but the car now needs further work to finish.Still on its original, transferable number plate, MPK 36, It comes with a buff continuation log book from 1959 and a modern V5C. The black-and-white picture shows the car as it was in the 1960s. Altogether a most fascinating and rare survivor that will amply reward the straightforward restoration that is now required.

Lot Details
Auction Classic Cars & Bikes
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers,
Lot Number024
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£12900
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating3
Registration numberMPK 36
Chassis numberL771
Engine numberR1007125P
Engine capacity (cc)3622
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2