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In 1958 I had an "M" series Allard Drophead Coupe much like the one on the left, but finished in Maroon with 60 spoke gold painted wheels. The previous owner was Peter Farquheson and I actually bought the car from Daniel Richmond at Downton Engineering.

I part-exchanged it for the J2 shown below which cost £285.

I really enjoyed both my Allards in the fifties, but eventually sold the J2 - Reg. KLJ 2 - when my first son was born in 1960. I bought a Ford Thames 5 cwt. van!

In November 2005 I came across an 'original' M Drophead Coupe which I have bought. It is a 1949 car and has been stored since 1967. I am now getting it back to m.o.t. condition and will report regularly on progress. The car is pictured below.


The story so far ......

CHRISTMAS EVE 2005 - Pre-Season Testing!

My very first run. 

The car had been bought in November. It was collected on a transporter and brought down from Carlisle. What an exciting moment. My ace mechanic had managed to get the car running for my pre-Christmas deadline. My thoughts were with my first ‘M’ Coupe and the ‘races’ I used to have with a Healey 3000 and a TR2. We used to hammer the eight miles between Malvern and Upton-on-Severn, and the eight miles back. Sometimes I won, but I was rarely left behind. I was nineteen. 

But now, as I sat behind the wheel, all thoughts were on how the trip would go, all these years later. My wife Jen and I had planned a short trip to start with. Across the Rodborough and Minchinhampton commons on the flattish A419 for two miles to the Ragged Cot Pub. Not a big trip, but far enough to ‘settle-in’. 

The engine started at the first touch of the button. I was at once pleased with the satisfying gurgle of the V8 and the healthy-looking exhaust gases emanating from the twin pipes. Faced with the uncommon column change, I moved it towards me and upwards. As I gingerly lifted my foot on the clutch we eased backwards. Shame really, as I was hoping to go forwards. However; no problem. Having correctly selected first gear, off we went. 

I changed into second at about 10mph, and it was then that it became apparent that there was a slight ‘body’ rattle. Nothing mechanical, just a sort of shuddering, shattering bashing and banging from the doors and windows. Snicking into top, doing at least 25mph, the glass in the windows was vibrating to such a pitch that any form of conversation was virtually precluded. However, over the terrible noise of the windows, now joined by a cacophony of sound from the juddering doors, I heard Jen shout “Let’s sell it”. 


No, I thought. I’m made of sterner stuff. On we went, now heading a queue of some twenty cars, each eager to get to Cirencester. It was a mile from home, at the blind left hander at Blue Boys Dairy, that the engine cut out completely and we coasted to what must have been, the most awkward place to stop in the whole of Gloucestershire. 

I opened my “suicide” door and leapt out (actually eased out) into the traffic. I opened the bonnet and a small selection of people started to congregate on the pavement. I noticed that the electric SU pump was ticking very, very slowly, so I diagnosed fuel starvation. Sure enough, after a few minutes, and now with a mile-long tailback to the outskirts of Stroud, a touch of the button started the motor. Amidst a small round of applause from the now generously sized crowd, we juddered off, thankfully to get back home with only a further three stoppages and an oil haze rising from the bonnetal area. 

It was quite obvious to me that something important had to be done. I opened a bottle of Champagne immediately. The problems of the Allard started to fade and by the time lunch was over, they were in the dim distant past. 

On Christmas morning, I decided to address the situation. As the car had been stored and standing for over twenty years, there were substantial ‘flats’ on each tyre. However, the car had been moved now and again, which meant there were more flats on my Dunlops than on the East Cliff of Bournemouth! My second discovery was that the hole which was the outlet for the oil haze was in fact, meant to have a mechanical petrol pump over it. Apparently, the electric pump is only to prime the mechanical pump!

So, perhaps the replacement of the octagonal tyres and the fitting of a proper petrol pump will improve matters. I’ll let you know in due course ……




Here's the motor with its re-painted wheels, with Bruce at the wheel. Everything now seems to be going well since the installation of a new mechanical fuel pump (e-Bay!) and a thorough clean-out of the petrol tank.



The continuing tale of two ageing classics  ……   Geoff Thomas and his “M” Type


July 2006: mechanically we’re up together. The engine is as sweet as a nut; the gearbox is fine and a new set of tyres has been fitted. Mike Knapman, a man of many parts, supplied a brand-new braking system and the fuel delivery problem has been fully sorted. A new bespoke exhaust system (straight through and throaty) will be on shortly, so now it’s time to look at the body.  

It’s always been muscular and attractive in a macho sort of way, but here and there, time has taken its toll and there are little bits that need attention. A big concern is that there has been a huge amount of spread around the middle section. However, enough about me, now let’s look at the “M” type. 

Ever since I have had the car, there has been a degree of body shake which I have found unacceptable. The doors are quite heavy and whereas close inspection had shown the door pillars to be fine, lateral flexing appeared to be the problem. It appeared to me that cross bracing of the pillars may well be the answer. I therefore decided to test my theory with a chain, shackles, eye bolts and a bottle screw, which, being an Allard owner, I tend to carry with me at all times


Having removed the Hood Sticks and the interior side panel trims, I was able to attach the chain and then adjust the bottle-screw. The effects were amazing and instantaneous. By pulling the sides in by only a small amount, the doors hung better and closed better. A quick test run showed that body shake had been virtually eliminated. What an improvement! 

After discussion with my ace mechanic David Shaylor, we have decided to construct what is basically an upside down tubular “roll cage” to stiffen the body in line with the measurements now available from the “chain” experiment. Because the “M” is really a good weather car, I have decided to leave the sticks and hood off for the time being, and have a Tonneau made. This will complete all the improvements which I have considered necessary. One could re-spray the bodywork, re-finish the dash-board and carry out all sorts of cosmetic improvements, but this is not for me. As I get in, I love the 50’s feel, the old embossed “mocquette” style carpets; it’s almost like a third-class carriage on the old steam trains. It’s nostalgia unlimited! 


The new Tonneau is a great success


Spring 2007. The "M" has been in proper storage over the winter at my son's establishment in Somerset. I visited him on May 2nd., at which time he had the car ready for its first trip in 2007. It started on the button, first time!

Here's a picture of the "M" together with my son and his wife, taken on the day .....

It's a fabulous car and it gets better and better!

MARCH 2008

Started on the button again: it's run up every three months.

M.O.T. and the rectification of the "door pillar" problem has now been completed


Too late, too late: It's been sold to an enthusiast in Portugal and it looks like this! More news as it happens ....





ALLARD TRADING POST - for all Allard parts - Contact Mike Knapman - atp@saqnet.co.uk

www.nordianservices.com for V8 parts - Contact Peter Robson

To contact a sympathetic, first-class mechanic in the Gloucestershire area ring DAVID SHAYLOR on 01453 - 765387