Thursday Trivia

Thirsday Trivia Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars! This week’s question: What two car models comprised the first official Allard? If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see if you are right. allardSydney J Allard is perhaps best remembered for his small run of post-war cars that presaged the Euro/American hybrids such as the Shelby Cobra, Sunbeam Tiger, and DeTomaso Pantera. His cars melded light-weight chassis and minimalist bodies with honkin’ big American iron, typically the biggest V8 he could lay his hands on, making them formidable foes on the track. Allard’s first special however, wasn’t intended for a traditional race course, but instead that most English of competitions the Automobile Trials. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a Trial, picture a Jeep Jamboree only with the Jeeps replaced with tiny cycle-fendered cars featuring sewing machine motors and tires narrow enough for a bicycle. Lightness and agility were preferred over brute power and the likes of MG, Singer and HRG proving the most popular competitors. Into this melieu Allard leapt with a heavily modified Ford. The car proved not to be all that competitive owing to both its weight and that weight’s distribution. Allard decided he could do better and after finding out about a wreck nearby set upon building his first namesake special, one that would be a mad mix of two cars that probably couldn’t have been more disparate. From Allardj2x.com (pdf):

The first car to be officially called an “Allard” was the result of a marriage of an English Ford V-8 Coupe and a Grand Prix Bugatti body. … Sydney Allard had been competing with a modified Ford, but its size and weight distribution were against it. So when a brand new Ford was totaled near his garage (Adlards Motors) in 1935, he bought it, dragged it into the shop. When it re-emerged, complete with the body off of a Bugatti racing car, the purists swooned. CLK 5 as the car became known (that was it’s English registration or “license number”) became an instant hit. It featured the tried and true Ford Flathead V8, essentially the same engine that Ford built in the US. Of huge displacement by English standards it only produced 85 horsepower in its stock configuration. But it did have torque in abundance. And torque, combined with a chassis that had most of it’s weight concentrated on the rear axles, gave it TRACTION!!!!

Like everyone else, Allard’s racing and construction work was halted by the war. During the conflict he turned his attention to maintaining Ford trucks for the military. This led to the post war bounty of a machine shop full of tools and a sizable inventory of Ford parts. That provided for Allard’s transition from specials production to limited series production starting with the J. The rest, as they say, is history. Or, at least a page from it as Allard ceased production due to financial difficulties in 1959. Syndey Allard died on April 12, 1966. Image: actc.org

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