The story of the Allard Chrysler Action Group began when Brian Taylor visited the National Motor Museum in Hampshire back in 2006. A keen motoring fan, Motoring Writers member and a key player in many car clubs and shows, Brian had visited the museum in order to research the book he was writing.
It was while there that he came across literature about the first European dragster car and decided to explore its history.
Known as the first British and European drag car, ‘Ally’ was designed to race against the well established American cars, which were obviously miles ahead of the British when it came to drag racing.
The more Brian read, the more his curiosity began to get the better of him and he began to research how he could bring this beautiful car back to life.
The original creator Sydney Allard had created this iconic car more than 40 years previous and it had raced for years after. The vehicle in the museum however was simply a rolling chassis with none of the important parts present.
First things first, Brian needed to find out whether there was even a demand for the Allard Chrysler to be restored.
He began by talking to Carl Olson of the SFI Foundation, former drag racer, NHRA Vice President and FIA Drag Racer Supreme. Well established in the drag racing world, he informed Brian that that the idea of a working ‘original’ dragster in one of their nostalgic drag car meets would create a huge buzz.
Brian then spoke to Sydney Allard’s son Alan and discovered more about the history of the unique drag car and its creator. All he needed now was the go ahead from the team at the museum in order to begin the restoration and thankfully they received the approval in early October 2008.
From the outset, the ACAG project gained attention from a few familiar faces. In fact, one of its first patrons was renowned motoring fanatic and Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason.
Another well known campaigner, Linda Vaughn a 60’s car show model raised the profile of the project and helped capture people’s attention raising funds for the scheme.
Brian and the ACAG team estimated that they would need approximately £35,000 to complete the project. In order to realistically achieve this, they had to find sponsors who believed in the cause.
The Performance Direct Non Standard Awards who are famed for helping people live their motoring dreams, stepped up and offered the ACAG a lifeline, the chance to double their money raised of up to £2500.
On Sunday 1st July 2007 ‘Ally’ burst back into life for the first time as part of a test to see which parts were needed for the restoration. Other than a minor fuel leak, this initial fire up didn’t present any major flaws.
Despite this, the restoration wasn’t problem free. First discovering which parts were needed and sourcing them proved remarkably tricky due to the age and rarity of the car.
Many things took longer than expected. It took over 12 months for the team to find and restore the engine to working condition. However, discovering that the Ally had a standard engine block and crank made other aspects much simpler than first anticipated. The engine and blower were then immediately sent to renowned Hemi engine builder Booth- Arons in Michigan to be rebuilt for the restoration.
May 10th 2012 marked another important date in the restoration of the Allard Chrysler dragster – a full inspection of the rolling chassis (qualifying the condition and identifying part numbers) and the fitting of the Booth-Arons recreated engine back into the car.
After many years of hard work, the Ally finally fired up at her first public appearance. It is clear that without sponsorship from the Performance Direct Non Standard Awards, the restoration would never have gone ahead. Performance Directs Non Standard Awards not only provided financial support, they also gave moral support and helped the ACAG gain the attention it needed to raise the £35,000 for the entire restoration.