The prestige and glamour of Autosport International is over. The Booth-Arons re-created 354 cubic inch Chrysler Hemi engine prepared for the restoration of Europe’s first dragster [managed by the Allard Chrysler Action Group (ACAG)] was revealed by Sydney Allard’s son Alan who drove the car in it’s last racing season – 1964. There was lots of interest and photos taken with a video made by one of the ACAG’s backers, insurance company Performance Direct who also supplied a bit of glamour to the reveal proceedings. British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Chairman Stuart Bradbury even had the 1964 Drag Festival starter’s jacket and flags to add a bit more nostalgia.

After reveal best Simon M
Revealing the re-created engine. Stuart Bradbury, Alan Allard
and Performance Direct girls (source; ACAG, Simon Maurice

During the show the car attracted some interesting visitors including Land Speed Record breaker Richard Noble. Allard J2X racer Jim Tiller sat in the dragster that he last drove back in 1962/63. Jim took his Chevy Big Block powered orange J2X to Bonneville in 2000 and ran 197 mph; and it covers the bumpy Madeira Drive at the Brighton Speed Trials in the low 10s. It was mentioned to him that he might like to attend the Dragstalgia event at Santa Pod in July. His J2X should run quicker on a prepared track once it’s dialled in and he is certainly part of UK drag racing history. What a treat it would be to see him run a 9 at Santa Pod!

Jim Tiller visits an old friend (source Bob Roberts)

But what’s next for the Allard Chrysler restoration project. ACAG Chairman Brian Taylor said,

“Getting the engine has been an important milestone for the project. But it’s now back to the grindstone. Raising more funds and preparing the rolling chassis mechanics to receive the engine. ACAG member Bob Roberts is arranging a meeting of all those ACAG supporters who have indicated their interest in working on the car. This will enable us to more accurately plan and cost the work with a time scale that lines up with our cash-flow capability and the museum’s display requirements. If someone gave me a cheque for �20,000 it could probably be ready in two months”.

But that’s not going to be easy. So who owns Chrysler these days? Fiat Group isn’t it? I wonder whether they know about Sydney Allard and drag racing in Turin? I wonder whether they know about the Chrysler heritage of which they are now guardians?

This project would appear to be just the job for helping them appeal to motoring enthusiasts across Europe and throughout the USA. Europe’s first dragster. The prestigious and much respected classic European sports car manufacturer Sydney Allard aligned with the Chrysler name that has provided the blueprint for today’s Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car power units, and has been the backbone of the sport since the early 1960s. Surely they should be interested - shouldn’t they?







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