Where shall we start?

Classics Monthly - - Driver's Diary -

It’s been noth­ing but a hec­tic time just re­cently. The high sea­son is over but as I write this in late Oc­to­ber there is still loads go­ing on. I’m in the mid­dle of a num­ber of our P & J Tours out­ings and have two fully sold out trips to JCB at a num­ber of their plants. I’ve more later in the month plus a sold out trip to John Deere. The same day we also visit a com­pany that re­stores trac­tors full time and have a staff of six. Yes, there are such com­pa­nies, as the restora­tion busi­ness isn’t just con­fined to cars.

Get­ting back to life with my two Al­lard’s, it has been in­ter­est­ing to say the least. In my last col­umn I ex­plained how I wasn’t happy with the low oil pres­sure. This came about when I re­placed the bi- pass oil fil­ter and changed the en­gine oil in the Al­lard M. Af­ter road test­ing the car, I wasn’t im­pressed with the low pres­sure, so I or­dered some Miller’s 20/ 50 Pi­s­tonezze.

The Al­lard’s en­gine takes just un­der a gal­lon of oil and af­ter re­plac­ing the oil again I thought the pres­sure was much bet­ter. How­ever, that really was not the case as I was to find some weeks later, but we’ll come to in my Fe­bru­ary (gosh, how time flies) col­umn. One good thing I’ve got to re­port is that the Al­lard’s very dif­fi­cult to fit chrome wheel trims have so far stayed in place.

On the first week­end in Au­gust, I took the Al­lard P to the Weald Of Kent Steam Rally at Wood­church in Kent. This show is held some 44 miles from where I live and has be­come a ma­jor event in this part of the world. It’s held on an ex­cel­lent air­field strip site that also fea­tures some clas­sic World War Two pe­riod air­craft and I was de­lighted to find the Al­lard’s wheel trims sur­vived the trip.

The event goes back to the orig­i­nal style of ral­lies and the first Weald of Kent Trac­tion En­gine So­ci­ety ral­lies started 61 years ago on a site at Pad­dock Wood, Kent. In fact my late fa­ther se­cured the site for WOKTES and I at­tended in the ten­der of a 1902 Wal­lis & Steevens steam trac­tor. How­ever fa­ther dropped the trac­tor’s fire­box fusible plug, which he had to re- lead on mother’s kitchen cooker ring be­fore the event the next day. The steam en­gine own­ers were paid 50 shillings to at­tend back in those days, which was quite a lot of money when you think of it.

To try and miss any ma­jor traf­fic to Wood­church, I left home at 7:0am but as there was ma­jor road works in Hawkhurst but the Al­lard’s en­gine tem­per­a­ture stayed at 160-180° F, which was good, as these cars are known for run­ning very hot. I was on site by 8:30am and made a call at Kelsey Me­dia’s stand to see the 1959 Massey Fer­gu­son 35 trac­tor that is go­ing to be given away as a prize.

It’s a nice trac­tor though, and I was able to pa­rade it around the show ring and later to per­suade peo­ple over the PA sys­tem to buy a £2 ticket to try and win it. The draw takes place on Sun­day, Novem­ber 11, at the in­door/ out­door Newark Vin­tage Trac­tor Show, the sea­son’s cli­max for vin­tage trac­tors and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles.

Dis­played next to my Al­lard P at Wood­church was Derek Grans­den’s 1927 Wolseley 16/45. Built when this fa­mous mar­que was part of Vick­ers, Derek’s car was pro­duced just be­fore Wolseley went bust and was taken over by Wil­liam Mor­ris. As I about to leave the show to drive home, I was ac­costed by a Ger­man Al­lard fan that was very ex­cited to see the car and wanted to talk about it for hours. When I even­tu­ally got on the road just

Af­ter road test­ing my Al­lard, I wasn’t too happy with the oil pres­sure, so I or­dered an­other blend and tried again

af­ter 7pm the weather was still very hot and ev­ery­where I drove there was just loads of traf­fic along the coun­try roads, par­tic­u­larly as I trav­elled to­wards Ten­ter­den.

The roads are very twisty in these parts and the P’s en­gine with its three-speed trans­mis­sion was start­ing to ‘hunt’. This sug­gested the en­gine was run­ning rather weak, so fed up with the traf­fic I pulled into a petrol sta­tion and filled the tank up at some ex­pense (un­for­tu­nately the Al­lard’s fuel gauge doesn’t work!). When it came to leave, I must have flooded the en­gine, as it took a few sec­onds to fire up, but I placed it in gear and streaked out on to the high­way at some speed to be in front of an 1981 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC. I’m sure the own­ers were not pleased to get be­hind the Al­lard, as they fol­lowed me for some 20 miles be­fore un­til I pulled over at Hurst Green to let them pass.

Rather than travel through Hawkhurst where there were three sets of lights plus a car­ni­val at­mos­phere, I de­cided to keep to the main roads but the brakes started to squeak. One bright mo­ment on what was be­come a tir­ing jour­ney home was when a lad spoke through the Al­lard’s pas­sen­ger win­dow to say it was the most beau­ti­ful car he had ever seen!

What a night­mare jour­ney and when al­most home I met an am­bu­lance at speed com­ing to­wards me – help! Some­how we man­aged to get past each other and I was pleased to get home in one piece at just af­ter 9:00pm.

I’d hoped to be out with the Al­lard M the fol­low­ing Sun­day to a lo­cal ‘car’ party just a few miles up the road but I had to can­cel as I needed to pre­pare my 1925 Davey Pax­man 3hp steam portable for the Kelsey Me­dia Old Glory mag­a­zine stand at the 50th Great Dorset Steam Fair that was held be­tween Au­gust 23-27. More on this ex­cit­ing event and other ad­ven­tures with my two Al­lards as the sea­son fi­nally comes to an end in my next Driver’s Di­ary. It may be a tad early, but a Merry Christ­mas and a Happy New Year to you all.

My Al­lard P1 cer­tainly looks dif­fer­ent and was built 22 years later that this very orig­i­nal 1927 Wolseley 12/45.

An­other car that at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion at Wood­church was this mag­nif­i­cent 1954 Jensen In­ter­cepter drop­head coupé. Pow­ered by a 3998cc six-cylin­der en­gine, only 88 ex­am­ples were ever built.

Al­lard Own­ers’ Club (1951) Cap­tain Dave Lovey’s with his 1949 Al­lard K1 717 at the Sil­ver­stone Clas­sic in July, Dave hill­climbs the car at Prescott and other places.

This mod­i­fied Mini Club­man turned up at an event Peter at­tended. A low­ered roofline and wide wheels really play tricks on the eyes!

An im­pres­sive line up of Al­lards at a re­cent show at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion. Not sur­pris­ing though, as these are good look­ing cars.

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