Sydney Allard was a successful trials and hill climb driver. He also pioneered dragster racing in the UK and produced dragsters.
Sydney Allard was a successful trials and hill climb driver before the war, to such an extent that people ordered cars based on his winning car. He made 12 cars before the war. During the war Sydney received a government contract maintaining jeeps and other Ford V8 based vehicles.
After the war he set up the Allard Motor Company Ltd and commenced motor manufacturing. In all he made about 2,000 cars, but candidly admitted that he became a manufacturer to subsidise his competition activities.
His first model was th J1 competition model. 12 of these were made, of which 3 had trials bodywork. There followed the K1 Roadster and the L type Tourer. After this the M type Drophead and the P type Saloon, then the J2, the K2 and the M2.
Sydney also made 'one-off' cars for his own competition use, and the Steyr Allard - powered by an air-cooled Steyr engine won the British hill climb championship in 1949.
Perhaps the most remembered Allard model was the J2/J2X which won many competitions both in Europe and the USA. The first factory made J2 with a Cadillac engine came third in the 1952 LeMans 24 hour race.
"Motor" magazine road tested a Cadillac powered J2 in 1951. Having described it as "the finest sports motor bicycle on four wheels ever conceived" the review went on to refer to its "splendid handling qualities and outstanding performance" and concluded "to take the J2 Allard with Cadillac engine 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".
Another great triumph was when Sydney won the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, with Tom Lush and Guy Walburton. This is the first (and only) time the rally has been won by a manufacturer driving his own car. Other models included the K3, the P2 Monte Carlo Saloon and the P2 Safari estate car.
By this time Sydney realised that the side valve Ford or Mercury V8 engines he used to power his cars were being superseded. The competition cars such as the J2X and JR were by now Cadillac powered as the post-war import restrictions had been lifted. The Palm Beach had a Ford Consul or Zephyr engine, which with a modified head and three carburettors was reasonably brisk. The Mark 2 Palm Beach was intended to be powered by either the Zephyr of Jaguar 3.8 litre engine. In 1959 two Allard GT's were built, one with a Jaguar engine, the other with an Oldsmobile engine. This was virtually the end of motor production. Sydney Allard went on to convert Ford Anglias and Cortinas for competition use, and rallied them with his son Alan. He also pioneered dragster racing in the UK and produced dragsters. In 1968 Alan Allard set a world quarter mile record in a Chrysler powered Allard dragster.