Allard J2X MkII - Click above for high-res image gallery
Tucked away into the nookiest cranny of the LA Auto Show and literally parked behind a Morgan sits the Allard J2X MkII, perhaps the most breathtaking car in the joint. You nerds out there might be saying, "They dragged an admittedly concours-condition J2X out to Los Angeles? Big deal." Which is precisely what we thought as we strolled right past the spiffy, spankin' Allard for nearly two days. But then we took a closer look. Why would someone fit humongous Wilwood brakes to a vintage car?
Because this puppy ain't vintage. See that "MkII" suffix hanging off the end of the title there? This Allard is all new. As in a modern, hand-built continuation of the original Allard. Not only does the Allard Registry recognize the roadster and issue each one its own continuation serial number, but the president of Allard Motor Works is named Roger Allard – though he's not a descendant of founder Sydney Allard. But even if it wasn't a bang-on recreation of the hugely successful 1951-1954 J2X race car, this car would tickle us you know where.
Why? So many reasons.
Besides the usual "Just look at it!" bloviation, the frame is built from tubular steel with double roll bars covering the cowl and fuel tank. And inboard rear-brakes. Then there's the absolutely stunning, jewelery-like hand-fitted instruments and aluminum dash. And the red leather. And the leather hood straps. And the (functional) portholes. The knock-off hubs. The twin side-pipes. And on and on and on. And on.
Then there's the little (or not so little) matter of what's under the hood. In this particular car, it's a 5.7-liter Chrysler Hemi V8 with a massive throttle body and a lot of other reworked jazz that's good for around 500 horsepower. You want a 600-hp 6.1-liter Hemi? Not a problem. You can also opt for a Chevy 350, Caddy Northstar or Ford 351. The sprint from zero to 60 happens in about 4.5 seconds and, depending on the motor, you could pop off a quarter-mile in the low 12 seconds at 110 mph.
Currently the Allard J2X is being built in two places (Montreal and Upstate New York), although there are plans to move to a single factory soon. Roger Allard plans on keeping the new Allard pretty exclusive, limiting its numbers to just one hundred per year. Oddly, about a quarter of that total is slated for Australia. Or maybe not so oddly, as when we shut our eyes we can totally picture ourselves blasting across the Outback in a J2X MkII, bugs in our teeth and roos bouncing off the nerf bars. Cost of entry? The new Allard starts at $138,500.