The 1947 Steyr-Allard racer owned by the legendary Sydney Allard, one of America’s greatest automotive pioneers, will be sold at No Reserve during the 38th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, January 11-18, 2009.
Considered the most famous of all Allards, the race car captured victories worldwide and blazed a path followed by American heroes like Carroll Shelby and Briggs Cunningham.
“This is a car with a fantastic pedigree that can be enjoyed at a Concours or historic racing event,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “Sydney Allard is considered the first to combine a British chassis with an American or German V8 to create a car with outstanding reliability and power to weight ratio. This was the formula later followed by Briggs Cunningham and then Carroll Shelby, who also raced an Allard before going on to build the iconic Cobra. Some could argue that this championship Allard set the stage for some of the greatest sports cars in the world.”
This race car is the most documented, race winning and famous Allard of all time. Sydney Allard drove the Steyr-Allard in the British Hill Climb Championship for five years. He finished third in 1947, third in 1948, first in 1949, second in 1950 and third in 1951. The Allard held class and outright records at all hill climb courses and sprint events that it competed in during the period. The car could have been even more successful, but Sydney Allard’s other racing commitments, such as coming in third at Le Mans in 1950 and winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1952, kept him from entering all of the hill climb events. After being sold in 1952, it competed in numerous races until the early 1960s.
The car was built using a set of altered production Allard J1 chassis rails fitted with tube and channel cross-members. The front suspension was the standard Allard Bellamy split axle but with the radius rods behind the axle and pivoting in line with the front axle pivot points.
With engine choices limited in the post World War II period, Sydney chose a lightweight, air-cooled Austrian Steyr V8 that was used in WWII armored cars. Allard modified it for competition and the engine developed 150 horsepower at 4,000 rpm with the finished car weighing only about 1,600 pounds.
“It’s been said that the car’s layout was determined by having Sydney sit on a soapbox on the workshop floor,” noted Davis. “They propped the V8 and gearbox on a wooden box to approximate the correct height, with broomsticks acting as axles for the front and rear wheels to create the 100 inch wheelbase. The car’s dimensions were then written in chalk on the factory concrete floor and construction began following the chalk outline.”
In 1994, the car was fully dismantled and a long, six year restoration process was completed. The car is currently in 1949 Hill Climb championship-winning configuration with the coil sprung De Dion rear end, rear tubular shock absorbers, rear inboard brakes with Alfin drums and rear wheel drive. It is also complete with documentation, spares and a unique Allard battery cart. Since restoration, it has competed regularly at numerous hill climb events and continues to receive invitations to special events such as the 2003 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it won its competition class.
The 1947 Allard will be joined by approximately 1,000 collector vehicles and automobilia to be sold at the historic Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction.