This is Sydney H. Allard in his hillclimb special, the Steyr-Allard at the Prescott Hillclimb on May 11, 1947, the first appearance of Allard’s new sporting creation. He set a new record for the hill of 47.25 seconds. Allard had a lot of hillclimb and sprint experience having modified some other cars for these activities in the 1930s.
His new car was built around an Allard sports car chassis frame with a large front cross member to hold the then standard Allard semi-independent front suspension using a transverse leaf spring and friction-type shock absorbers. At the rear the Allard’s Ford rear axle was located by a sliding ball and had coil spring suspension and the friction shocks. Allard used a lot of Ford parts, such as gearbox, rear end and steering, his family having owned a Ford dealership.
The Steyr engine, seen here at the left, had been developed during the War in Austria as a military truck engine and was rather unique, being an air-cooled V8 of 3.6 liters displacement. It had excellent low speed torque characteristics and after various internal modifications by Allard produced about 150 bhp at 4,000 rpm. The overall weight of the Steyr-Allard had been kept as light as possible for hillclimb use at under 1500 lbs. This Allard used a somewhat unusual braking system with two brake pedals. The second one, on the far left, allowed the driver a form of trail braking to adjust both direction and weight transfer when the accelerator was being used with the right foot.
The Steyr-Allard was developed further by Allard during hillclimbs in 1947 and 1948 and won the British Hillclimb Championship for him in 1949. It also took its owner to a second place in the Championship the following year. Allard later built a twin-engine version with four wheel drive but it was perhaps too complex to be successful. The original Steyr-Allard hillclimb special was very influential on the design of the Allard sports cars of the early 1950s which used mainly Ford and Cadillac power and were very successful in sports car racing, both in England and the United States.
Photos by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.kklemcoll.com
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