Although today their tech is understandably dated, classic cars were genuine pioneers in their day. Lancia alone helped introduce features like unibody construction, independent suspension, and full electrical systems. Modern AWD systems have Audi to thank. Even hybrid vehicles are older than many realize—Porsche’s founder created a functioning one in 1900. But ‘hybrid’ didn’t always mean a gasoline-and-electric vehicle. And the Allard J2X MkIII is a faithful recreation of the classic hybrid definition.
The Allard J2: an influential British hybrid
The Allard Motor Company, Silodrome reports, didn’t make a lot of cars. From its founding in 1945 to its closing in 1958, less than 2000 cars left the British company’s doors. However, its vehicles, particularly the Allard J2, have inspired quite a few important modern sports cars.
First, a point of clarification. Although today ‘hybrid’ refers to a gasoline-electric vehicle, in the 1950s, the term also referred to a car with a European chassis and an American engine. Technically speaking, the Shelby Cobra was a hybrid. In fact, both Carroll Shelby and famed Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov raced Allard J2s. Company founder Sydney Allard raced several models as well, even beating Stirling Moss in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally. It’s still the only time a company’s founder has won a race in their own company’s vehicle, Hagerty reports.
Without Allard, Mecum reports, Shelby wouldn’t be able to race in Europe and gain the clout necessary to start his company. And Zora’s experience at multiple Le Mans races, Hemmings reports, is what helped him design the first Corvette. Without the Allard J2, not only wouldn’t there be a Cobra or Corvette, there would be no Ford GT, Panoz Roadster, or Shelby Daytona.
Although Allard produced several models, Hagerty reports, the J2 and later J2X was arguably its most important. Like the J2, the J2X was a 2-seater, only even more stripped-down. It had aluminum body panels, weighed 2150 pounds, and could be built with one of several American-made V8s. The top-of-the-line engine was a 220-hp Cadillac V8. 0-60 time was quoted as 6.8 seconds, which Car and Driver reports was faster than the Ferrari 250GT California Spyder.
And, although the original company folded, you can still get a brand-new Allard J2X. Kind of.
The new Allard J2X MkIII
Canadian company Allard Motor Works’ J2X MkIII isn’t technically a replica in the way Pur Sang’s Bugattis are, Autocar reports. It’s actually considered a continuation, in the way Jaguar’s E-Type Lightweights and D-Types are. In fact, unlike Pur Sang’s cars, Allard Motor Works’ J2X MkIII is officially included in the Allard car registry.
Like the original, the rear-wheel-drive Allard J2X MkIII customer can pick from one of several GM and Mopar V8s. However, unlike the original’s, they’re all fuel-injected and emissions-compliant. They include the 6.2-liter supercharged LS3 V8, rated at 430 hp and 425 lb-ft, and the 426 Hemi, with 540 hp and 530 lb-ft. All these engines are linked to a 5-speed manual.
Unlike the original, the J2X MkIII has carbon-fiber body panels, though the chassis is still steel. The brakes have also been upgraded, to modern Wilwood discs, with the rears being inboard to reduce unsprung weight. The suspension is fully independent now, and the sports car also gets a limited-slip differential.
Allard Motor Works also updated the J2X design in a few other areas, the New York Times reports. The seats are adjustable, the pedal box and cabin are more spacious, and it has an actual trunk. The engines come with their factory warranties and can be serviced at their respective brand’s dealerships.
Autocar reports the Allard J2X MkIII “is enjoyable to drive.” The steering is precise, the modern tires grip well, and it even rides fairly comfortably. Jay Leno drove an earlier MkII version and was also impressed by the car’s fit, finish, and sense of fun.
Pricing and availability
Allard Motor Works’ J2X MkIII isn’t exactly cheap. Because it’s highly customizable, the sticker price is firmly ‘on request.’ However, Autocar reports a ‘base’ model will cost about $150,000. For that money, you could get about 2 Morgan Plus 4s, or a few 3-Wheelers.
However, compared to a classic Allard J2, it’s actually something of a bargain. Original models regularly sell for over $100,000 on Bring a Trailer. Hagerty estimates a ‘Concours-level’ example would fetch $329,000 at auction. RM Sotheby’s auctioned a 1953 J2X in 2018 at $280,000. And a 1-of-7 example of the later Allard JR, piloted by Arkus-Duntov at Le Mans, went for $605,000 in 2013.
But, if you get one, you can genuinely tell people you own a brand-new classic British hybrid.
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