CHASSIS NO: 99J2123
• Well-documented racing history
• Recipient of a comprehensive restoration
• An icon of early American motorsports
• One of few Allard J2 Roadsters intact
Cadillac 390 V-8 engine, Muncie M21 gearbox, triple Stromberg carburetors with aluminum Weiland manifold, de Dion rear axle and split front axle suspension, Jaguar drum brakes; wheelbase: 100”
Le Mans veteran and hill climbing extraordinaire, Sydney Allard was most famous for his mighty, road-racing Allard J2, which hit the American market with straight adrenalin just as the U.S. street-racing scene exploded. The meticulously restored example we have the pleasure to offer is all the more impressive when presented along with its well-documented and lively racing history.
Sydney, a British Ford dealer’s son, had an innate love for cars and speed. As a young racer, Sydney built his first car by converting a three-wheel Morgan into a four-wheel racer. By the time he trial tested his J1 prototype, he knew he was onto something. Though his J2 Allards were built in Britain, he produced the feisty racers to release into the burgeoning American street racing market. He wanted a car built specifically for American V-8 engines, but there was a hitch. Customs on imports were near impossible in post-war Britain; there was no sense importing engines only to export them with the car after production. So, Sydney cooked up the ingenious idea to manufacture his J2s to accept a heavy-hitting Yank engine upon delivery to the owner. He used a robust chassis, de Dion rear axle, large Alfin drums, and a revision of his signature split front axle (designed by Les Bellany) then he shipped it all without the engine and transmission. American buyers could opt for whatever engine they chose. Ford and Lincoln flatheads were popular, but the Cadillac’s groundbreaking 331-cubic-inch V-8 cemented the J2’s reputation as a dominant force on the blacktop practically overnight. With 160 horsepower in stock form and plenty more available, the “Cad-Allards” were regular contenders against Jags, Cunninghams and Ferraris throughout the SCCA’s formative years. While the J2 was undoubtedly fast, it also garnered a reputation for wild handling, which necessitated high caliber drivers akin to John Fitch or Carroll Shelby to tame its fury on the narrow, undulating racecourses of the day. Nevertheless, a legend was born, and the Allard earned its spot as an icon of American motorsports.
Chassis Number 99J2123 is a remarkable 1952 J2 Allard Roadster that boasts a fascinating, well-documented history on the tracks and through restoration. Delivered August 31, 1951 to Mr. Lee of Grosse Point, Michigan via Wood Motors of Detroit, it was ordered with knock-off wire wheels, left-hand drive, left-hand spare wheel, twin fuel pumps, headlamp stone guards, Cadillac engine fittings as well as red interior and blue paint. Mr. Lee hired Cal Connell of renown Detroit Racing Equipment to install a race-prepped Cadillac engine. Lee competed in numerous regional events and is documented as thrilling the crowd with a lead and a bailout during Detroit Region SCCA’s ice race on Lake Orion. His greatest success came at Giant’s Despair Hill Climb in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania where he took first in Class B and the Hollenback Trophy for Fast Time of the Day. The next owner to take the wheel, Fred Lavel of Birmingham, Michigan, slung salt at Bonneville two years in a row. During this time, he installed a DeSoto Adventurer Hemi, supplied by his friend Virgil Exner of Chrysler fame, added a PowerFlite automatic transmission and replaced the Allard alloy body with a Sorrell fiberglass for his 1956 run, which topped out a 150.75, but ended in mechanical woes. Lavel refitted the Allard body after the race then sold her. The next two owners did little of note, but a small-block Corvette V-8 with Jaguar Moss four-speed transmission and gearbox were installed at some point. The J2 was stored with care, body separate from the chassis, for around 35 years in Robert Vandepaer’s Jersey City garage, as accompanying pictures can attest, until it was given a sequel.
The next owner embarked on a comprehensive restoration to return the J2 to period-correct specifications. A 1959-spec Cadillac 390 V-8 engine and Jaguar drum brakes were installed. A rare, factory soft top was procured with a windscreen. The J2 was painted blue again and the upholstery was expertly returned to red leather, which is a striking contrast to the Borrani wire wheels that match old photos. The original tachometer runs electric for reliability. Upgrades ensure pure enjoyment and include a Muncie M21 gearbox, triple Strombergs, aluminum Weiland manifold and polished Offenhauser valve covers. Chassis Number 99J2123 is a rarity among J2 Allards. These cars were raced hard and enjoyed, and very few have survived with the original body work intact. This remarkably well-restored example has lived multiple lives and has survived to tell the tale. Accompanying the sale is an extensive history file with period photos, VSCCA Log Book and multiple spares including a Halibrand Quick Change. The mildly tuned Cadillac engine makes it a superb choice for pre-1957 road events and rallies or just a beautiful day on the road.
The well-documented, fascinating history coupled with its impressive condition, crisp blue paint, supple red leather, and superb detailing all around, results in an exceptional example of the British-American hybrid that set the racetrack alight during the dawn of American sports car racing.