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HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1954 Allard J2X

Pick of the Day: 1954 Allard J2X

Before the Shelby Cobra there was the Allard J2X

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Years before Carroll Shelby had the idea of cramming a big American V8 engine in a British roadster a chap named Sydney Allard was building cars in Clapham, England and doing much the same thing. The difference is that Allard sold his cars without a specific engine, allowing buyers to pick the specific V8 engine they wanted in their car.

These cars, called Allard were very successful in racing in the early 1950s both in the US and international competition. These cars were driven by notable drivers including the aforementioned Carroll Shelby, Tommy Cole, Sydney Allard, and Bill Pollack. He built a number of different models over the years but the one most consider his crowning achievement was the J2X.

The Allard L2X was Sydney’s attempt to improve the car that was quickly becoming obsolete due to advances in sports car design from Companies such as Aston Martin, Jaguar and Ferrari. The J2X, the X standing for extended featured a front suspension’s with redesigned rear attaching radius rods which allowed the engine to be moved forward  7.5 in making it better balanced and improving interior room. This kept the cars from Allard competitive for a little longer and J2X cars would achieve 12 first-place finishes; 11 seconds; 17 thirds; 14 fourths; and 10 fifths in 199 total racing events.

The Pick of the Day is one of these storied sports/racing cars, a 1954 Allard J2X located at a dealer in St Louis, Missouri. (Click the link to view the listing)

They describe the car well stating that it is chassis number 3209 and is one of just nine total Allard automobiles exported new to Canada, and the sole J2X exported there. The car is said to have originally been painted Beige with Red upholstery and Crimson wire wheels.

This J2X was exported on May 15, 1953 to Canada via rallyist and importer Alec Budd of Budd & Dyer in Montreal, Quebec and sold new to Quebec resident David Gurd who then sold it to restaurateur Richard Mauron of Toronto, Ontario, an MGs racing driver during the early 1950s. Mauron’s raced the car at the 1955 Canadian National Exhibition, damaging the right front and then sold the J2X in favor of a 300SL Gullwing. This Allard’s next owner was Downsview, Ontario resident Fred J. Hayes, who had the car repainted first Red in 1955 and then Black in 1956. Mr. Hayes would advertise the car for sale in the January 1956 issue of Road & Track magazine with the ad reading “ALLARD J2X. One of the last produced, mileage under 5000, condition original and immaculate, modified Cadillac engine, Jaguar gearbox, wire wheels, side mount spare.”

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 racing events for 3209 while under Mr. Hayes’ ownership include an outing to Harewood Acres in Jarvis, Ontario – the ex-RCAF training base.

The next owner of 3209 was Dave R. Pidgeon, a resident in Oakville, Ontario and 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, who described the car 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 would keep the car for more than 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.

The seller goes on stating that this car was sorted and maintained by the most recent owner in readiness for driving enjoyment as originally intended. They go on to state that this J2X remains otherwise unaltered and as previously owned by Mr. Sands.

This 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. They add that the Metallic Blue paint finish remains nice and shiny. Accents include painted wire-spoke wheels and the wonderfully patinated, red leather-trimmed seats.

They close their ad stating that the car is nicely detailed and presented, calling it an honest Allard J2X with outstanding history.

A J2X like this one is one of those cars that is a veritable Swiss Army Knife. You can race it at any vintage event, take it on just about every tour in the world, and also show it at the best concours events. It is a rare car with a total of only 83 total built. With an asking price of only $345,000 it represents quite a bit of car for the asking price.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 carsā€”none of them normal or reasonableā€”as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

1 COMMENT

  1. Slight clarification, the front radius rods extend to the FRONT of the car, hence the front axles attaching to the rear of the rods. This it why the original J2X has that nose forward body, whereas the J2 nose is more or less flush with the front wheels. Same suspension was used on the M2X.

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