The J2 was a sports car built by the British automobile manufacturer Allard. The roadster was a potent combination of a light weight hand-formed aluminum body fitted with an independent suspension, inboard rear brakes, and designed for a Ford "flathead" V8. Importing American engines just to ship them back across the Atlantic proved problematic, so US-bound Allards were soon shipped engineless and fitted out in the States variously with newer over-head valve engines by Cadillac, Chrysler, Buick, and Oldsmobile. In that form the J2 proved a highly competitive international race car for 1950, most frequently powered by 331 cubic inch Cadillac engines. Domestic versions for England came equipped with Ford or Mercury flatheads, some of which were equipped with ARDUN overhead valve hemi heads, a modification designed by Zora ARkus DUNTov, who also later raced for the factory Allard team at Le Mans.
Available both in street trim and stripped down for racing, the J2 proved successful in competition on both sides of the Atlantic, including a third place overall at Le Mans in 1950 (driven by Sydney Allard himself, who also placed first in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1952 driving an Allard P2 saloon car). Of 313 documented starts in major races in the 9 years between 1949 and 1957, J2's compiled a list of 40 1st place finishes; 32 2nds; 30 3rds; 25 4ths; and 10 5th place finishes. Both Zora Duntov (the father of the Corvette) and Carroll Shelby (the father of the Cobra) raced J2's in the early 50's. 90 J2's were produced between 1949 and 1951.
In an effort to extend a line growing obsolete in the face of advances in sports car design, Allard introduced an extended model in late 1951, the J2X. In an attempt to improve handling, the front suspension's rear attaching links were redesigned with forward ones, which required extending the nose out past the front wheels. This in turn allowed the engine to be moved forward, yielding more cockpit room. There is much confusion on the internet as to labeling between J2 and J2X types, the most obvious differences being the J2 nose does not extend past the front tires and has two vents below the grill, while the J2X nose extends past the front tires and usually has a single vent below the grill placed on a more protruding chin. Tom Lush, author of "Allard: The Inside Story" said in the book that the chin was the most obvious difference between the two. Either version could carry one or two side mounted optional spares.
The J2X was not as successful in international racing as the J2, as it became less competitive against more advanced Jaguar C and D types, Ferraris, and Maserati works cars it headlined less often in major international races. Of 199 documented starts in major races in the 9 years between 1952 and 1960, J2X's garnered 12 1st place finishes; 11 2nds; 17 3rds; 14 4ths; and 10 5th places.
Even though the J2's and J2X's only represent a small portion of Allard's overall output, they are arguably the most widely heralded, best recognized, and best-looking cars it produced.
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