Cadillac-Engined 1953 Allard J2X Was Once a B-Movie Star, and Then Was Forgotten
13 January 2020 - autoevolution
The name Allard might not ring that many bells in the minds of present-day car lovers, but there was a time when its simple mention struck just the chord with racing fans.
In the years following the second world war, people were beginning to find new and never-before-attempted uses for their hard-earned spare time. Motoring, in all its forms, was one of them, and in post-war America things like motorcycle clubs and open-road racing were starting to pick up speed.
We're here for the latter of the two. Usually taking place on closed public highways, open-road races were the place where you could find names like the legendary Carroll Shelby, or the first American to race in Europe after the war, John Cooper Fitch. Both used their share of cars for their exploits, but they had at least one of them in common: the Allard J2.
Designed by British Sydney Allard as a means to beat American-made racers at their own game, the J2 was among the craziest things you could drive at that time.
The J2 was a sports car you could have fitted with any engine you liked, provided it met the car's requirements, but for some reason most customers went for overhead valve engines made by Cadillac or Chrysler.
The J2 you can see in the gallery above is of a J2X variation (modifications were made to improve stability), once owned by film producer Albert Zugsmith and powered by a Cadillac 331 V8.
Just one of 83 ever built, the car was a star in several B-class movies produced by its owner, but achieved stardom in one of the man's most successful films, Written on the Wind (1956).
As with any star's glory, the success story of the J2X abruptly ended once it entered a private car collection, where it spent over 40 years hidden from sight.
Now, having been found and restored to its original glory, the car is once again out in the open, and it can be had by anyone willing to pay for it.
The 1953 Allard J2X is listed on the Classic Cars website as for sale, accompanied by a very detailed origin story.