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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.
Neil’s summary of the engine fits with the notes I took in 2017. Graham said he had made a number of mods to the engine, including a high pressure cooling system and mounting it below the normal hangers. I’ve a note that he had a spare French V8 crated in his workshop and I’m sure he said he had installed a French V8 in this car. He had a mechanic who visited to work on his cars every Wednesday.
Another snippet is that he was very pleased with modifications to the chassis saying it was not only boxed in but also double strength – the inner “C” section fitting inside the outer chassis. He felt they had managed to transform the steering with this stiffening of the chassis, the lowering of the engine, installing a Watts linkage, modern dampers and using large 750 tyres.
I know this car a bit. It was most recently owned by Stewart Crouch who bought it ? 3 years ago from Graham Fuller. I went to see it at Graham’s place in February 2017 during my researches for the pre-war boolet as Mike Knapman alerted me that Graham Fuller had a car that he (Graham) thought might be a pre-war Allard Special. As observed above it is a lovely car with lots that is Allard-like about it. Stewart contacted me during 2021 hoping I could support its putative status as a pre-war Allard Special, which I did not feel able to do. During this period I was contacted by EDS Motorsport asking for observations, though they never got back to me.
I wrote a note at the time of my visit and can add more details when we discuss the car in a Registrars meeting. But in brief there are two variant stories I picked up that day: one from Graham and a different one from John Patterson who I visited on my way home. Graham responded to an advert on a newsagents window and bought the car from a lockup in a seedy part of Cambridge, the seller assuring him it was a pre-war Allard. John Patterson recounts a series of earlier owners including coming across the car at Duxford Service Station where John provided the proprieter with an L type chassis plate and log book so it could be registered after which it must have gone to Cambridge. Graham feels John must have been talking about a different car but John is certain it is the same car. Graham was going to send me paperwork but never did. Looking forward to the discussion…Des