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Precious Metal: 1953 Allard K-3

Although aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust, the difficulty in extracting it meant that, until new processes were developed in the 1880s, it was considered a precious metal and valued more highly than gold. Here’s an aluminum-bodied beauty that is similarly highly prized: a 1953 Allard K-3 tourer. Seen above in its bare state, it has since been completed and is on offer here on eBay with an as-yet unmet opening bid of $275,000, and a buy-it-now price of $357,500.

The finished product is quite a looker, isn’t it, finished in blue over red and white. Sadly, the seller’s presentation doesn’t do it justice; all of the photos are too closely cropped and oddly composed, and substantive information in the description is sorely lacking. This is a rare—that it is one of 61 made is one of the few factoids on offer—and not particularly well-known car being sold for a substantial price. The demanding buyers in this bracket will want more.

So we’ll try to fill in a few blanks and make some educated guesses. Allard built cars only for a short time, from 1945 to about 1958, in small numbers. The company never made its own engines; it relied on English Ford V8s (as well as English Ford frames, transmissions, and many other major components) for the home market, but U.S.-bound cars, which made up a large percentage of production, were shipped engineless. Upon arrival, they could be fitted with the buyer’s choice of American V8s, typically including Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, and Chrysler. The engine in this car is said to be original, but its maker is not named, and this is as much of the engine as we get to see, focusing on the Weiand manifold and dual carburetors. The long oil filler neck leads me to suspect that this is a Chrysler “Fire Power” Hemi.

That’s mated to an automatic transmission, which seems well suited to the touring vibe of the three-abreast cabin. All K-3s featured bench seating; when a manual gearbox was specified, the shifter was on the driver’s left, between the seat and the door—note the cutout in the seat cushion. They also featured a flat floor, achieved by simply elevating the floor above the driveshaft, which makes for a high seating position and limited headroom for even slightly tall drivers. Curiously, although the leather and carpet look beautifully trimmed and the engine-turned dash impeccable, the interior is pictured without the driver-side door panel installed. As recently as this car may have been a work in progress, if it’s described as “fully restored,” and a “museum grade” job at that, I want to see the finished product.

This car is said to possess its original body, engine, transmission, and rear end—and what a rear end it is! Ha ha, just kidding! Here are the dirty bits in question, looking extremely un-dirty. The rear view up top reveals a good-size trunk, given a large, regular shape by the dual gas tanks on either side. Capacity of either tank is only six gallons, however, which won’t get you too far with a Hemi. I don’t question the rarity or provenance of this car, or the quality of its restoration, but I do wonder how far this sales approach will take it at this precious-metal price. What do you think—if you had the bucks, would you bite?

Comments

  1. PJR

    How can you tell if it’s a looker there is no photo of the whole car, just different parts – nice car I am sure but if you want me to drop more the much money on ebay show us the whole car!

    Like 4
    • Mike

      Odd choice of pictures. Not helping the auction at all.

      Like 6
  2. jembolt

    If it’s a hemi, it’s not year correct, it has the later heads with front water crossover from 1955 on.

    Like 4
    • P T Cheshire

      Looks like my Cadillac 365 not a Chrysler and it is painted Caddy blue. Would be hooked originally to a 4 speed Hydramatic.

      Like 1
  3. Scott

    What first comes to mind is the seller might not familiar with the price points of Allard cars… Lovely car, poor preintation and why those naked red wheels?

    Like 2
  4. glen

    Are those wheels stock/original?, ugly! Ruins the look.

    Like 1
  5. Rovinman

    NOBODY is going to pay THAT sort of money, without going to see the car !
    I think that these are teaser pics., maybe meant to look Artistic (fail).
    But they’re only to stop the tyre kickers !
    There are actually 3 pictures of the carburettors, and some other underground dark forbidding stuff, including an excellent pic. of a 3/8” Whitworth nut and bolt.
    There appears to be only ONE picture of the car rolled outside of the garage.

    Like 3
  6. Pascal

    how is it possible to restore a car like this with bondo on the aluminium
    and put a hole on the left fender to put a $10 mirror in the middle of nowhere
    and absolutely no pics to show the car , i m sure its a crap , all the alignment looks bad
    how is it possible to destroy a car like this
    now the car need a real full restoration

    Like 1
  7. Jeff

    Even if concours quality, this is still at best a $200k car. And wire wheels would definitely be more appropriate.

    Like 1
  8. Dolphin Member

    Very nice writeup Nathan. I enjoyed reading it.

    There’s a reason why there are no bids on the car. These K3s have been selling at auction recently for a median price of $88K, so the pricing on this one is way too high. Yes they are handbuilt British convertibles, and scarce (62 made), but they are available much cheaper elsewhere, like at some of those recent auctions.

    And I doubt the seller will get $88K for this one unless he documents its history much more completely. When someone pays up for a handbuilt car like this they usually want to have its history documented.

    Like 3
  9. 68custom

    if this car sell for less than 100k someone is stealing it. But I know nothing about the market for Allards only that the are special race proven cars. equal in my opinion to Cunningham’s. not so sure about the resto on this one though?

    Like 1
  10. Mike Monti

    I remember a Cad-Allard roaming the hills of Los Altos, CA in the late 50’s that sounded bad to the bone and looked fantastic!!

    Like 2
  11. chad

    fella near here almost exclusively restores/maintains these (4 in garage right now). Yes a ‘full view’ would do great (4 tire kickers only) as they look nice but this advert is only 4 those who know these cars – an inrtro (“YooWoo, 1 over here.”) If in the know a f/u contact will happen. The Coloradie guy gets his product out there, known.

    Like 1
  12. bog

    Relisted with same price and a tad more info. That being built “as a racer for Gen Kern Metzger”. And the one “better” picture of the engine bay shows a Hemi variant, which were certainly available in ’53. Now I’ve gotta see if he’s on Wiki….

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