ellie.jones_39242 Apr 23

‘Festival of Britain’ Allard in fine fettle with Mercury Engine

‘Festival of Britain’ Allard in fine fettle with Mercury Engine image

After displaying the fabulous Mercury V8 engine on their stand at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show, with Discovery, last year, the Allard Owners Club is going one better this year – they’ve bringing the engine now installed in the famous 1951 ‘Festival of Britain’ Allard J2.

Chris Pring’s J2, numbered OZ 4444, made its public debut as the official Allard exhibit at the Festival of Britain before being delivered to Ulster racing driver Desmond Titterington in September 1951.

Titterington's performances in the Allard, including an outright win at the 1952 Leinster Trophy, would lead to race seats in the Ecurie Ecosse and works Mercedes teams. In all, he bagged 14 podiums from 24 starts in OZ 4444.

In 1954 the car was sold to a Scotsman, Jimmy Braid, who took the J2 to India to compete in races run by the Calcutta Motor Sports Club. He sold on to another Scot, Allan Ramsay, who really shone in the Allard, winning the Calcutta ‘Grand Prix’ of 1958 and 1960.

Later, following a hard life on the track, the Allard changed hands for the price of a beer and was stripped for restoration. Sadly, the owner died shortly afterwards and the parts were packed away in boxes for many years.

A chance conversation in a Dorset B&B lead to the Allard’s return to the UK from India and a 10-year restoration.

The final step in the restoration was to find and restore an Ardun OHV converted Mercury V8 flathead engine to bring the car up to its original racing specification.

A Mercury V8 engine was professionally restored and reconstructed in America with a set of new Ardun ohv heads as originally designed by Zora Arkus Duntov. This fabulous engine was displayed on the Allard Owners Club stand at the Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration show in 2017.

This year The AOC stand will be displaying OZ 4444, with its Ardun engine finally installed and in full racing trim.

See the engine in its rightful place on the Allard Owners Club stand in Hall 5, stand 410.