1953 Allard J2X Le Mans
Lot 841 | Passion for the Drive: The Cars of Jim Taylor | Estimate: $350,000 - $450,000
Chassis No. J2X 3071
Engine No. 2S222
For 1952, the organizers of the 24 hour race at Le Mans changed the rules to require a full envelope body, with covered front wheels. Allard responded with a Le Mans version of their J2X, with a streamlined body using an entire new cowl, front clip, and dashboard. The balance of the body remained unchanged, as did the chassis beneath with its relocated radius arms permitting the engine and firewall to be moved forward, for improved handling and more passenger room. Even the sidemounted spares, essentially hung on the outside of the stock J2X's elemental body, were in the same location – only now under the fenders. Well-suited to long endurance races, the resulting car was actually quite comfortable, and was set up to accept full foul weather gear and provide some storage under the rear deck.
One of nine survivors of the original thirteen, chassis no. 3071 features an unusual and especially attractive raked windshield, believed fitted to permit use of a convertible top. It was originally delivered to the famed West Coast Allard dealer Noel Kirk Motors of Hollywood, California, in early 1953.
While the original owner is not known, in 1954 the car was bought by Charles Love. Mr. Love and his son, Gary, went through the car mechanically in the early 1960s, boring out the engine, fitting a Corvette close-ratio gearbox with Shaeffer clutch, and slightly lowering the floorboards, among other minor modifications. They would keep the car for nearly forty years, although a minor carburetor fire scorched the hood and resulted in the Allard being taken off the road in 1969. After an additional twenty-three years in the Love garage, 3071 was sold via Mark Harper to Mel Belovicz of Michigan, who sorted it thoroughly mechanically. Jim Taylor acquired it in 2007.
Those who savor cars that proudly wear their history, will find much to admire here; 'patina' has become almost a cliche with collectible automobiles, but it is aptly applied to the finishes of this wonderful Allard. It has been preserved in its original red paint – still burned off on the hood from that over-rich carburetor, but remains shiny elsewhere, including its original chrome. Markings from a custom fiberglass hardtop, once fitted but long gone, are still visible on the rear deck. Mr. Taylor had the interior and carpets replaced, but they have since been worn-in by use and now have a consistent appearance, accented by the original Brooklands banjo steering wheel, three-inch racing lap belts, and original Smiths gauges. Even the original Allard chrome knock-offs are still present on the wheels and appear to have their original plating, and the Noel Kirk Motors badge is still in place. Neither top is present, but in this car, who would complain?
Under the hood is what is believed to be the original 331 cu. in. Cadillac V-8 with dual four-barrel carburetors, set up to run hard with new fuel and cooling systems, as well as a new wiring harness and battery disconnect. At the time of cataloguing, the car had recorded 49,236 miles, and is accompanied by a framed collage of photos and documentation, as well as a history and service file with detailed descriptions of the work performed by Mr. Love.
Undoubtedly one of the purest surviving Allard J2Xs of any sort, this rare Le Mans variant is in remarkably original order, having enjoyed a life free of trauma and incidents to remain an exceptional example of its type. It is fun to admire standing still, but parked it fairly radiates power and yearns to move at the speeds it once experienced on California roads.