Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Interview with Roger Allard of Allard Motor Works: Part One

Allard J2X Mark II courtesy Allard Motor Works

Roger Allard, the man behind the Allard J2X Mark II, generously agreed to meet with me at a local coffee shop to talk about the J2X MkII. We did discuss the car, which he is obviously passionate about, but what I really wanted to know was what his background was, and where he got the idea to recreate the legendary Allard J2X.

Allard doesn’t have a gearhead background. He grew up in Northern Ontario and moved to Montreal in 1972. He worked in corporate communications for many years, specializing in marketing and in crisis management communication. In 1988 he made the move from employee to consultant, still working in communication. There’s nothing there to suggest a car guy. And despite the common surname, there is no family connection between him and Sydney Allard, the builder of the original J2X.

But of course he is a car guy at heart. In 1995, he was on vacation in England, looking for an Austin Healey. He wandered into a used book store. Right beside a book on restoring Austin Healeys, which he figured he was going to need, was an out-of-print book called “Allard: The Inside Story.” He wasn’t familiar with Allard, but since it’s his family name, he was interested and picked the book up. He read it that day.

By that time Allard only had 5 days of vacation left, and really wanted to see an Allard. Since he was in the area, he went to see the National Automobile Museum at Beaulieu (pronounced “bewlee”). There was a list of the cars represented on the wall, but he didn’t see any Allards listed. He figured he was out of luck, but spoke to a gardener on the site who said they’d acquired two the previous week, a J2X and a Dragon (a dragster). So in he went.

Allard J2X Mark II courtesy Allard Motor Works

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