If you are looking for a sports car that is eligible for weekend club drives, concours events and vintage rallies, one that stands out as something different, rare and with a great history in racing, yet is still somewhat affordable, the Allard that serves as Pick of the Day should be on your list.
The Pick of the Day is a 1955 Allard Palm Beach finished in red with a tan leather interior and powered by a Jaguar engine.
Of the many cottage-industry car manufacturers in England following WW2, Allard has to be among the most famous. The company was founded by racing driver Sidney Allard in 1945 in the Clapham district of southwest London, and the company would produce around 1,800 cars, many of them successful racers in the early 1950s.
They were raced by such acclaimed drivers as Bill Pollack and Phil Hill at Pebble Beach – a 1951 Allard J2 won the Del Monte Forest classic in 1951 and ’52 – and even competed at Le Mans in 1950 through 1952, finishing a resounding third place overall in 1950. Some other noted drivers who raced Allards were Zora Duntov and Carroll Shelby.
These cars differed from other sports cars produced in the 1950s is that most were sold without engines or transmissions, which allowed owners to choose whichever engine and gearbox they wanted. Many Allards, both street and track, were powered by Cadillac and Ford V8 engines.
This left-hand-drive Allard Palm Beach was once owned by Sidney Allard’s son Alan, who bought the car in 2013 but sadly never got around to finishing its restoration, according to the Shreveport, Louisiana, advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. The roadster was sold by the Allard family in 2015 to a client of Cato Restorations in the UK.
Originally, the Mk1 Palm Beach cars were designed to use underpowered Ford Consul 4-cylinder or Ford Zephyr inline-6 engines. The restoration shop and the client decided to merge the best of the Mk1 with a Mk 2 option from 1956, a Jaguar DOHC inline-6 engine. The restorers rebuilt the axle and modified the crossmember to handle the powerful Jaguar engine, the seller notes.
The current Allard owner was not happy with the quality of the paint after buying the car, the seller reports, and had a full respray done. In the process, the 4-speed overdrive gearbox was overhauled, a special new large radiator added, twin electric cooling fans and new set of period-correct Blockley tires. That owner also sourced and fitted new bumpers, period-correct Marchal headlights and chrome wire wheels. At the same time, the imitation-leather interior was replaced with correct real tan leather and a matching tonneau cover.
Allard made only about 80 Palm Beach cars during their production run from 1952 and 1958, and of all their cars, the Palm Beach is the most civilized.
This Allard is being offered for what I would call a bargain price of $120,000. To get such a rare car that is eligible for exclusive events for at a lower cost would be next to impossible.
And compared with the mythic Allard J series cars, this is a sports car that can be driven in greater comfort for less money.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.