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Homepage. This page: Three factory shots of a prototype Allard coupe, with retractable hardtop, at Ford's plant in Dagenham.

A prototype Allard retractable coupe - K1 based?

These three Allard car photos throw up more questions than answers. They appear to show a prototype Allard, possibly a modified Allard K1, which has been turned into a tourer, fitted with a retractable metal folding hardtop roof. Each photo shows a young lady, demonstrating the ease in which the transformation from closed coupe, to open-top tourer, can be carried out. To add more confusion to the mix, the setting is the Ford plant at Dagenham (Allards often used a Ford powerplant), and pencil-written notes on the rear simply say "Allard Experimental Car 1939". Each has been stamped with the official Ford Motor Company stamp.
Yet Sydney Allard only founded the Allard Motor Company in 1946, and prior to war had limited his car-building activities to a number of sports-cars and specials. Maybe work on the K1 commenced prior to WW2, when these photos were taken, and resumed once hostilities had ceased.
The first photo shows the lady mid-way through folding the metal roof into the rear boot space, reminiscent of how today's modern convertibles (eg those from Peugeot, Mercedes Benz etc) tend to work.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A prototype Allard car
Photograph number 2 shows the Allard with the roof fully in position, and the beaming lady sat within. The factory buildings in the background appear in many pre- and post-war Ford factory photographs, note the Ford workers peering out for a better look - either at the Allard, or the dame behind the wheel. Note the style of headlamp surround evident in this shot - production K1s would feature the usual 7" Lucas headlamp and ring. The spare wheel is mounted on the nearside wing.
The Allard with its folding roof in position
The final photo in this set shows the Allard in full tourer mode, the folding roof fully hidden away in what would normally be the car's boot space. A few wobbly bits in the car's coachwork suggest that it was a one-off prototype - but was it an Allard creation, or built by Ford, or perhaps by someone else altogether, maybe with Ford's blessing?
The Allard as a tourer

The Dolphin-Allard.

A hunt around online for clues has brought up reference to a car known as the Dolphin-Allard. Photographs show a car with a near-identical folding roof, although it is quoted as being based on an L-Type Allard, and features bodywork with much revised treatment of the side panelling. However the similarities with the roof mechanism are so numerious that it would suggest that it could well be the same car, modified after these shots were taken, or at least a car produced by the same firm - Dolphin Industrial Development - circa 1947/1948. Some detail areas, such as the roof guttering and the chrome handles on the folding panels, differ between the Dolphin-Allard and the car shown above. More information on the Dolphin-Allard, including post-war photographs, can be found on the Allard Register website.
Hopefully more information on the Allard featured here will come to light, and when it does I'll update this page accordingly.
Return to Page 11 in the vintage car motoring gallery. Featured in the gallery are two photos of a production Allard K2, and a snapshot of a London street that just happens to include a view of a 1949 M-Type.

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