Reply To: The ‘Allard Special’ at Bicester Motor Shed
For colour I’ll summarise the two stories I heard about this car’s provenance. NB whilst I was researching what had happened to the pre-war Allard Specials I came across a number of conflicting stories for different cars, part of the fun being interrogating these stories and picking what (or what combination) seemed to me to be the most likely.
Graham is clear that following up a postcard in a newsagents window he bought the car, covered in cobwebs, from a lockup garage in an unsalubrious part of Cambridge – the seller saying he had bought it from Adlards at the beginning of the war. Graham said it was registered as a 1947 Allard Special and he did not push its pre-war provenance though held it lightly as an interesting possibililty. He said it must be 55 years ago he bought the car (ie early 1960s).
Many of you will know John Patterson who, as well as being generous in helping me with my car, has perhaps owned / broken / brokered more Allards than anyone else? He knows about and has stories about many Allards and “goings-on” in the post war period and over the years I’ve been amazed at his recollection of details in the stories he recounts. He knew about the car that Graham owned and in 2017 he described the following contacts he had had with the car.
- Some 30+ years earlier, as an Allard afficianado, he had been called to the house of Sir Kit Martin (the Queen’s architect in John’s recollection) to see this car which was then owned by someone in the family [I traced a Sir Leslie Martin who lived near Cambridge and checked with John that this sounded like the same person]
- Some years later John saw it again at Duxford Service Station and helped the proprietor by providing L type chassis plate and documents for the un-registered car. Apparently the car was used a few times then disappeared again. Presumably it went to Cambridge prior to Grahams acquiring it?
- On both occasions John knew the car it had a solid Ford front axle.
- NB in Graham’s garden was an Allard chassis without it’s Ballamy front end, so could this have been fitted to the car we are looking into?
On checking John’s story with Graham, he was sure that John must be talking about a different car. Graham was going to send me copies of registration documents etc, not to hand when I visited, so we could see if there was any firm data to help us – but they never arrived.
I sent Stewart all the information I had and he too was going to send be registration details, though they never arrived either, Stewart clearly having decided to move the car on. Stewart said that whilst most of the car was clearly post-war the chassis was recorded as a 1938 Mercury chassis which seems a bit of a stretch as the Mercury was only launched in November 1938. So it will be interesting to me to see if any documents associated with the sale can shed any clarifying llight on any of these stories.