HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1951 Allard J2, an icon of British/American motorsports

Pick of the Day: 1951 Allard J2, an icon of British/American motorsports

Well-document restored roadster has an extensive acing pedigree


The Pick of the Day is a 1952 Allard J2, a “well-documented icon of early American sports car racing that has been lovingly restored to period-correct specifications and is ready to tear the track with nostalgic glory,” says the Philadelphia dealer advertising the British-American roadster on ClassicCars.com.

“The Allard Motor Company was founded in 1945 by Sydney Allard, the son of a British Ford dealer with an innate love for car and speed,” the dealer adds. “Allard arrived on the scene with the J2 Roadster, a nimble sports car built for American V8 engines with a reputation for wild handling.”

These roadsters were shipped to buyers without an engine but were given kits to install any V8 engine of their choice. The V8 commonly installed was Cadillac’s 331cid overhead-valve V8, which turned this J2 into “a daunting opponent for Jaguars, Cunninghams and Ferraris in early SCCA events,” the dealer says.

1951 Allard J2

“This specific example, Chassis No. 99J-2123, has a plethora of historic documentation and photos verifying the vehicle’s racing pedigree as well as ownership history dating back to its original owner, Del Lee of Grosse Point, Michigan,” the dealer notes.

The story goes that Lee ordered this Allard on June 7, 1951, with the specifications to match Syndey Allard’s J2 roadster in which he drove and placed third overall in the 1950s Le Mans. These specifications include a left-hand drive configuration, knock-off wire wheels, Lucas headlamps with stone guards, and fittings for a Cadillac engine.

After receiving the Allard on August 31, 1952, from Wood Motors of Detroit and commissioning Cal Connell of Detroit Racing Equipment to install the Cadillac V8, Lee’s racing history with this JS began in numerous races, including the Bridgehampton Sports Car Road Race, Thompson Speedway, Glen Grand Prix and SCCA Lake Orion ice race.

1951 Allard J2

“His great success in his Allard came during the 1953 Giant’s Despair Hill Climb in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he took first in Class B and the Hollenback Trophy for Fast Time of the Day,” the dealer says.

Lee sold the car in 1954 to Fred Lavel who then replaced the stock alloy body with a Sorrell fiberglass body and the Cadillac V8 with a Hemi sourced from a DeSoto Adventurer. Lavel raced the J2 at the Bonneville Speed Trials, where his modifications helped him hit a 150.75 miles per hour top speed.

A man named John Whitlock purchased the J2 from Lavel and then shortly after, sold it to Robert Vandepaer of Jersey City, New Jersey on August 17, 1968. Vandepaer replaced the Hemi engine with a 1956 Corvette small-block V8 with a Jaguar Moss 4-speed manual transmission and then stored the car in his garage for 35 years.

In 1993, John Aibel found this “diamond-in-the-rough” in Vandepaer’s garage with the body separated from the chassis.

“Mr. Aibel embarked on an extensive restoration of the Allard, with the goal of returning it to period-correct specifications,” the dealer says. “He installed a race-ready 1959 Cadillac 390 V8 engine, Jaguar drum brakes, an exceedingly rare factory soft top, and a windscreen to complete the look.

“The elegant red leather upholstery was returned to its original glory, the original tachometer was converted to a reliable electronic mechanism, the Borrani wire wheels were restored to match the old photos, and the body was painted in a striking 1970 AMC Blue color similar to Lee’s special metallic blue paint.”

1951 Allard J2

Other upgrades include a Muncie M21 gearbox, triple Stromberg carburetors, aluminum Weiand manifold and polished Offenhauser valve covers.

“Like many of the previous owners, Mr. Aibel continued the Allard’s extensive racing pedigree in numerous VSCCA events on the East Coast, including the Fairmount Vintage Grand Prix, Pocono Vintage GP, Lime Rock Fall Festival, and  two Allard reunion events at Pocono and Watkins Glen in the later 1990s,” ads the dealer.

The asking price is $285,000. With the sale comes the car’s history file with period photos, documents, VSCCA log book and magazine features.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Racheal Colbert
Racheal Colbert
An experienced writer and editor, Racheal brings her enthusiasm for collector cars to her role as the Content Manager of the Collector Car Network. Former Content Writer and Marketing Manager in the tech and publishing industry, Racheal brings a fresh perspective to the Journal and the automotive world.


  1. You mention the rare softtop with no photographic entry Might you have any photos of this top?
    I am wanting to reproduce this top and windscreen snd any photos would be of great help.
    Thank You and best regards….your article was very well done and informative.

  2. Hi Racheal,
    Thank you for the informative article on my Uncle Del’s Allard J2. For years I’ve wondered where its journey took it. I helped clean the wire wheels on the J2 in those days as my Uncle Del only lived a few blocks away in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mi. His son, Michael & I were both 12 yrs old. With all his exciting rides, Jags, Ferraris etc, he instilled in me a love for sports cars,; starting by locating my first car, a 1953 TD, which my Dad gave to me in 1957 on my 16th B’day. I even worked for Del one summer in 1962 at his sprorts car dealership in NewOrleans. I still have a wonderful news paper photo of him holding a huge trophy after his win at the “Giants Despair” hill climb race in 1951 or ’53. Lots of wonderful automotive memories from the 1950’s


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