Before there was the Pantera, before there was the Sunbeam Tiger, before there was a Cobra, before there was a Nash Healey, Sydney Allard got the idea of putting a big American engine in a European sports car. He owned a Ford dealership in London, so his first racers were Ford based specials, starting with flattop Ford V8s, moving to the larger Mercury versions, and then to Zora Duntov’s Ardun heads. In 1950, Allard introduced the J2, a full-tilt sports car which at first came with Ford power. After Cadillac’s modern high compression overhead valve V8 became available, Bill Frick, who was the Allard dealer on New York’s Long Island and a seminal figure in the American performance scene, started swapping out the flathead Fords for the modern Cadillac V8. Allard followed suit. So while finding a Ford engine in an Allard wouldn’t be that unusual, this particular Allard J2 has a 289 cubic inch Ford V8 built to Cobra specs.
That engine dates to a decade and a half after the J2 was built. Former ad man and novelist Bob Judd owned the car in the 1960s and 1970s and he’s the one who swapped out the flathead for the Cobra engine, apparently with the approval of some oldtimers at the Allard Ford dealership who said that Sydney would have approved. After the conversion, Simon Taylor called it the “ultimate Allard”. Cobra power with less weight than one of Carroll Shelby’s cars. Judd sold the car to finance an around the world trip and it eventually found its way to the United States. Collector Martin Stickley found it in a metal shed in Florida and commissioned a full restoration original Allard condition, albeit with a blueprinted and balanced 289 Cobra motor. Following the restoration it was shown at Amelia Island in 2011, and since then elsewhere on the show circuit. These photos were taken at the 2012 Concours of America at St. John’s. Now comes word that Stickley is selling the car at Gooding & Co’s upcoming Amelia Island sale.