ACAG CHRISTMAS 2010 REPORT
Here is the latest update on our restoration project and you will see that there is good news and bad news. First some good news. I’m pleased to confirm that global freight forwarding and logistics company SBS Worldwide has just announced that it will sponsor the Allard Chrysler Action Group (ACAG) project to restore Europe’s first dragster - Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler.
SBS is a privately owned British company that commenced trading in 1983. With its Head Office in Dartford, Kent it has six offices in the UK and four in the USA: Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. It also now has fifteen offices in China.
For nearly fourteen years, the company has been the freight forwarder for ACAG technical and transportation advisors US Automotive of Bedford. Pete Stafford of US Automotive said,
“I know we can trust their expertise and capabilities and it’s nice to keep it in the family so to speak. The initial task is to return the completed engine from Booth-Arons in Michigan to Beaulieu in Hampshire so that it can be fitted to the rolling chassis. This is taking place week commencing December 6th.”
Nick Walker, SBS Group Managing Director, says,
Having a company as important as SBS join our list of sponsors is a great tribute to the project and all the enthusiasts who have donated money and bought products to support the restoration so far.
SBS expertise applied to transporting the engine takes a great weight off my shoulders, as does the fact that they are covering the costs. I look forward to working with them as the project progresses. I would like to thank Dennis Potts and Debbie Milone at the Chicago office and Nancy Bolt at Sam Eidy’s Berkley office.
SBS Worldwide has just been named as Freight Forwarder of the Year at the prestigious IFW Freight Industry Awards, which recognise excellence and innovation in the logistics industry. Our links page will shortly post a direct link to the SBS site.
The bad news is that due to the extra unforeseen work required on the engine, as indicated in my last report the ACAG restoration fund now has a cash shortfall. The following figures represented the current situation.
Funds required vs funds available
VAT will be on top but the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu will cover that and claim it back because they are the purchasers of the engine. They also agreed to cover any shortfalls in funds required for the engine’s return, but the extra money would have to be paid back out of donations, sponsorship and profit from ACAG merchandise. I have signed a personal agreement with the museum to this effect. This will delay work commencing on the rolling chassis - apart from that funded by sponsors (another announcement about this soon) and ACAG members.
Back to some good news. Peter Walters of PWRD has just created a basic livery design for a trailer to transport our dragster. With the engine now on its way back to the UK I thought it important to give potential sponsors an idea of how the ‘on-the-road show could appear. Peter has been involved with the ACAG for a while and designed the dragster’s Facebook page. We like to keep things in the family so I asked him if he would like to give designing our trailer livery a go. The design shows the car along with the names of all those who have donated money to the restoration fund. Sponsor’s logos will be on the back with the Beaulieu logo prominent on the sides and the back. The illustration does not include all names or logos but gives an idea of how things might look.
At the moment we do not know whether we will go for a trailer or a flatbed truck so the design might change. New sponsors will need to be included in the design and a major sponsor would clearly need prominent identity.
Peter Walters said,
A link to Peter’s website will shortly posted on the ACAG website links page.
Press releases about the SBS Worldwide sponsorship and the Peter Walters design will be issued within the next couple of days.
The latest artist to join the creative wing of the ACAG is Gloucester-based Stuart Taylor who first became interested in drag racing in the early 1960’s via Hot Rod Magazine with his first drag racing meeting being Kemble during the 1964 International Drag Racing Festival organised by Sydney Allard. He has been drawing since he was 7 years old and became interested in Chinese art although he now specialises in transport and racing cars of different types. For most of his work he uses graphite pencil on heavy fine quality cartridge paper but more recently he has returned to using colour pencil to add depth to his drawings. It is this technique that he has used on the new drawing designed specifically for the ACAG’s fund raising activities. It features a drawing of the ‘Gov’nor’ himself - Sydney Allard - and the Allard Chrysler at Kemble in 1964 sporting the race number 121. Measuring 23.75 inches by 16.5 inches, each one is numbered and signed by the artist. The prints are produced on Polymeric and are only available un-mounted priced at £20.00 plus postage and packing (UK £2.50, Europe including Southern Ireland £3.00, overseas including USA £3.50).
The print is now included on the merchandise page of our website and a link to Stuart’s own website is posted on the ACAG links page. There you can view more examples of his work. And he is open for commissioned work with profits donated to charity.
There might still be time to purchase your ACAG Christmas cards or other ACAG goodies. And don’t forget that if you have any money left after Christmas then we need it. The quicker we get the funds back in credit the quicker the work can progress. Have a great holiday and let’s celebrate Ally’s 50th birthday in 2011 in a style the Gov’nor would appreciate.
LADY IN RED IS ALMOST READY TO DANCE
Getting a 50 year old museum exhibit seen as being a ‘cool’ car was not something I originally thought was feasible, but within just four days we accelerated from a standing start to fourth position. Although it has dropped back since then I think we have proved our point, but keep voting so that Ally remains on the Cool Wall. The voting link is http://thecoolwall.com/entry/342. If you can’t vote directly from that pic (there has been a glitch on the site) select COOL from the wall and spool down until you find a pic of Ally. Click on the pic and you can vote.
LADY IN RED
The engine’s a real ‘Lady in Red’ with just the blower intake piping, fuel system, electrics and Dyno-Test before she’s ready to dance. We can then get her back to Beaulieu and continue with the rest of the restoration of Sydney Allard’s 1961 iconic car. But we will need more funds to cover the cost of the extra work that has been required during the engine build process, plus the cost of transporting it home. Not everything has been donated by suppliers. The following figures detail our current position regarding funds available and funds required. Exchange rate used £1 = $1.55)
These totals are reasonable estimates but until the Dyno-test is completed we will not have a final accurate figure.
I am in contact with two potential sponsors and I am also trying to negotiate a freight sponsorship deal so some of this might be covered. If we could arrange our own transport from US Automotive, Bedford to Beaulieu we could save around £200.00. There will be VAT due on the final total but as it is the National Motor Museum Trust, Beaulieu that is paying for the engine (the ACAG is just raising funds) they will be able to claim it back.
Fortunately the National Motor Museum Trust, Beaulieu has agreed to cover the immediate shortfall in funds and we thank them for this support. But the ACAG will have to pay them back out of donations, sponsorship and merchandise sales profit before we can spend again on the chassis restoration. I have given a personal undertaking that this will be the case and this might delay work on the rolling chassis. So for those of you who have yet to donate then your funds would be most welcome now. If you have donated but can afford a little more then thanks in advance. You can donate via the Pay Pal facility on the Merchandise page or by cheque. Contact email@example.com if you prefer the latter.
EXCLUSIVE SIGNED PRINTS
NEW SHIRT DESIGNS
The prices have been retained at 2008 levels - £22.00 for Polo or T plus £2.00 postage and packing UK and £6.00 postage and packing USA. Other overseas postage on request. Discounts on bulk orders. So why not treat yourselves and your family. As well as providing funds for the restoration you will be supporting the companies who are supporting us by flying their flags. Full details with Pay Pal payment facilities for all these items are on the merchandise page.
NEW FRAMED PHOTO
It is a photo that Brian proudly had on display in his home after loaning the car to the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu in the early 1980s so it has some history. I’m not sure whether to sell this or save it as a suitable gift for a major sponsor’s reception area. So it is not on our Merchandise Page. However, if anyone wants to make me an offer then it’s firstname.lastname@example.org
ALLY BLUE AUDIO CD
There you have it. The engine will be with us soon but we need more funds to continue the work.
ALLY AT EXTREME WHEELS
The Allard Chrysler dragster appeared at two shows in June. The first was at Xtreme Wheels held at the Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford. This was the first time the show had been held at the venue and there were a few teething problems that affected traffic flow through the Nostalgia Marquee and the planned book signing on Sunday. However, it was good to see the Allard Chrysler next to an Allard Dragon and the restored Nobby Hills’ first Jaguar-powered Houndog - the chassis of which was based on the Allard Chrysler with Nobby going down to Allards in Clapham to take measurements in the early 1960s.
If the organisers persevere I’m sure the show will prove to be a great success at this venue. And it was good to see a few names from the past attending like Nobby, Roy Phelps and Sue Boden. With Gerry Belton, Alan Allard, David Hooper, Gerry Andrews, Roz Prior, Liz Burn, Mike Hutcherson, Norm Wheeldon, Dennis Priddle and Ken Cooper joining many others, it was a very enjoyable couple of days.
The following weekend saw the Allard Chrysler on show outside with the Hot Rods attending the Victory Wheelers Hot Rod Drive In at Beaulieu. This year over 500 vehicles were on display and there were over 5,000 visitors. Brian Taylor was even interviewed by an Argentinean TV film crew. If the Xtreme Wheels crew want an example of how a museum-based show can become a success they need look no further. Thanks to Syd McDonald, David Hooper and Chris Eames of the ACAG for helping man the Allard Chrysler dragster stands at both venues.
ALLY AT THE POD
The Nostalgia tent containing Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler dragster and the 1967 Commuter dragster (so accurately restored by Antony Billinton) created a lot of interest at the Main Event held over the Spring Bank Holiday and the post-event feed back has been very positive. Organised by the Allard Chrysler Action Group (ACAG) and the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, the assembled names from the past included Alan Allard, Peter Billinton, Mike Hutcherson, Dennis Priddle, Ken Cooper, Roger Phillips, Stuart Bradbury, Brian Taylor and Syd McDonald. Paul Whitehouse was also there showing his nostalgia drag racing paintings and many other faces from the past dropped by to say hello. Good to see Mike Lintern after all these years.
Brian Taylor would like to thank all who helped out along with those visitors who gave donations to the Allard Chrysler restoration fund or bought ACAG items. It was great to catch up with old friends again and update them with the project’s progress and a nice surprise to meet Melanie Troxel who was over racing in Pro Modified. A big thanks to Santa Pod for providing the marquee and the space enabling the display to take place. We must do it again.
PRIDDLE, HUTCHERSON AND COOPER
Dennis (Mr Six) Priddle, Movin’ Mike Hutcherson (Houndog slingshots) and Ken (Mr Flathead) Cooper will be joining those manning the Nostalgia Dragster display on the pit side of the strip at the Main Event on Sunday 30th May. They will be joining Alan Allard, Peter Crane and Peter Billinton - all involved in the early days of UK drag racing. Drop by and say hello to these pioneers of our sport.
The Allard Chrysler dragster and Commuter will be on display on Saturday, Sunday and Monday with an ACAG team including Brian Taylor and Syd McDonald available everyday to update fans about progress of the Allard Chrysler restoration. There will be many opportunities to help with the project via donations and purchasing special ACAG items. Paul Whitehouse will be displaying his Nostalgia Drag Racing paintings and he has just finished one of Commuter for the event.
News about recent ACAG auctions are that both copies of Crazy Horses (containing autographs collected at Pomona and the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing) have been sold and raised £150. The Paul Whitehouse painting of the Mark II Allard Chrysler raised £500 and was purchased by Nick Davies who now owns all three originals auctioned by the ACAG for funds. And Alan Allard kindly donated a four figure sum to the project. Thanks to all of them and the many others who have helped move things along. Here’s hoping for more success at the Main Event.
THE ALLARD CHRYSLER AND COMMUTER
The Main Event drag race meeting held at Santa Pod Raceway over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (the first round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championships) sees a first for European drag racing. Thanks to the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, the Allard Chrysler Action Group (ACAG) and Antony Billinton of G-Max, it has been confirmed that two of the sports most iconic dragsters - Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler and Commuter that first appeared in 1967 - will be on show together on the pit side of the strip.
Using a Hot Rod feature on Chris Karemesines’ 1960 Chizler dragster as a model, the Allard Chrysler was built in the winter of 1960/61 to add a bit of jazz to the UK sprinting scene. It was Europe’s first dragster, and although the sprinting regulations existing at the time restricted just how Americanized it could be, it soon became apparent that the machine could be used to publicise and develop the sport of drag racing in the UK. The sound of its blown 354 Chrysler Hemi V8 with it’s sleek body became the siren for those seeking something a little more exciting from straight-line motor sport.
During 1961-62 it ran at sprint meetings throughout the UK including the Brighton Speed Trials, and in 1963 Sydney accepted a challenge from American Dante Duce driving Dean Moon’s blown, gas burning 350 Chevrolet V8 Mooneyes dragster. It gave drag racing a massive boost this side of the Atlantic with demonstrations at Silverstone, Brighton, Church Lawford and Debden. Mickey Thompson decided to join in the fun and air-freighted in his nitro burning, blown 427 Ford Wedge engined Harvey Aluminum Special slingshot.
The interest kindled by this series resulted in Sydney Allard organising the First International Drag Festivals in 1964 with America’s top drag racers appearing at venues throughout the UK. At the end of that year Sydney’s first Chrysler dragster was retired and a new car built for 1965. The car on display has not been run since that time but is being restored by the ACAG to ‘cackle’ and parade in 2011 - it’s 50th birthday. By modern performances it’s times and speeds were not spectacular. When it behaved it put down low 10s at 150mph plus.
The second dragster on display is Commuter, the first British-built car to run nitromethane. There is a genetic link between Commuter and the 1963 International Dragster Challenge. Mickey Thompson’s dragster was left in the UK at the end of 1963 and remained as a show vehicle for many years. When Santa Pod opened in 1966, the strip owners backed a project to get the car running again under the name Golden Hind and Tony Densham, Peter Billinton and Roy Phelps tried their best; but despite their efforts it failed to impress. After a complete rebuild and the addition of that FGR body, Commuter was launched in 1967. There was very little left from Mickey Thompson’s original dragster by this time and the development period was tortuous. But things gradually came together and if you visited Santa Pod during the late 1960s and early 1970s Commuter was one of the star machines you looked forward to seeing blast up the quarter mile.
It also toured Scandinavia and appeared in TV commercials plus many shows promoting the sport of drag racing. It set World Records in the late 1960s and broke the British Land Speed Record in 1970. When ‘on-song’ it put down mid to low eight second passes at 180 mph plus for the standing start quarter mile with Tony Densham driving. It was retired from the track in 1973 but continued as a show vehicle for a while. The car has remained in the Billinton family ever since and is still in fine condition today. The full story of both these cars is in the book 'Crazy Horses - the History of British Drag Racing' published by Haynes.
Special ACAG items including prints signed by Alan Allard and ACAG Patron Nick Mason of Pink Floyd will be available from the dragster display, and those wishing to donate money to the Allard Chrysler restoration fund will be able to do so. ACAG member and artist Paul Whitehouse will show some of his original nostalgia drag racing paintings on the stand. Part of the proceeds of any sold will go towards the fund and there will be a special auction of a couple of paintings - Swamp Rat and Andy Cockerill’s 57 Chevy Pro Mod.
And watch out for some of the sport's top names from the past manning the ‘nostalgia’ display. Those planning to be there include Peter Crane, the man who put down Europe’s first five second run back in 1976 when he beat Don Garlits; Chairman of the ACAG, the author of Crazy Horses and Santa Pod commentator in the 1970s Brian Taylor; Syd McDonald, Race Director at Santa Pod in the 1970s; one of the three men responsible for building and running Commuter, Peter Billinton of G-Max Research; Sydney Allard’s son Alan Allard who drove the Allard Chrysler in 1964; Stu Bradbury, Chief Starter at Santa Pod during three decades and Chairman of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame. These drag racing pioneers will be joined by others during the weekend so the display is certainly somewhere those collecting autographs should visit.
NEW PAINTING TO BE AUCTIONED
Above is a new painting from Paul Whitehouse that is being auctioned for the Allard Chrysler dragster restoration fund. This time it shows Alan Allard driving the Mk II Allard Chrysler in the rain at Blackbushe in 1965. Paul has called the painting 'Reflections of 1965' and, as with his painting of the Mk I dragster racing Mooneyes in 1963, it is of the highest quality. As most of you will know the Mk II is the car that replaced the dragster currently being restored by the ACAG and the engine is the unit previously residing in the earlier car that was originally first fired up in 1961. It was eventually purchased by Clive Skilton. The current top bid is £500. We do not propose to make large prints of this although we may well make small Promo Cards featuring both paintings - so it will be very special. Those interested contact email@example.com quickly.
We also have two copies of Crazy Horses for sale for the fund that I had signed by many of the top American stars who have been linked with the UK drag racing scene over the past years. Full details are on the new Nostalgia Items page. Top bid so far is £50. There are only two so contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
LATEST NEWS ON ALLY’S ENGINE - APRIL 2010
Although there have been a couple of problems that have delayed the assembly of Ally’s new engine, generally things have progressed in most areas and once these problems have been sorted the engine build should be completed speedily.
The blower has been re-tuned by Littlefields in California and had been returned to Booth-Arons in Michigan. However, it was found that there was still an issue with the Potvin end-plate and after more communication with Littlefields it was returned to California. Such is the way with projects like this but Sam Eidy of Booth-Arons is on the case.
Otherwise everything has been machined and made ready for assembly. The hemi engine block has received Moroso block-fill treatment. Learning from experience this became standard practice on older fuel engines before they were solid cast or billet because, unlike water in-fill, it greatly strengthens the cylinder block.
Booth Arons is waiting for the custom pistons and this is holding up balancing the crankshaft, but everything else has been weighed and balanced on an individual component basis. Once the pistons have been received from Race Tec they will be weighed and balanced and so the bob-weight will then be available to balance the crankshaft - another key process completed.
After this has been done the short block assembly can progress and the estimate is that this part of the job will take a couple of days. Steve Sanchez of Total Flow Products, Michigan is doing the headwork and another five days should see the completed engine assembly. However we are still trying to locate some components on a donated basis so it’s not plain sailing yet. Head gaskets, rings, pins and bearings are still on our hit list. We thought we had head gaskets covered by a supplier of copper gaskets but in the end they couldn’t supply for 354 Chrysler hemis. If you are interested in becoming a restoration partner company contact either Sam Eidy at Booth-Arons if you are in the USA Telephone 248 399 4612 e-mail email@example.com. If you are in the UK contact Brian Taylor Telephone 01395 579733 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALLY PROJECT TO REACH OVER
The Quarter Mile Entertainment Foundation has been invited to participate on the highly regarded SpeedScene Racing Live on Tuesday, April 13, at 6 PM PDT (9 PM EDT; 8 PM CDT).
Joining host, Scott ‘Lucky’ Hudson in an hour-long discussion of PROJECT 1320 will be Traci Hrudka, Chairman of the Quarter Mile Entertainment Foundation (Co-Patron of the Allard Chrysler Action Group), racing’s favourite lady, Linda Vaughn (Honorary Member of the Allard Chrysler Action Group) and multiple NHRA Top Fuel star, Lori Johns.
The ‘Fast Track Sisters’ will discuss the historic importance of PROJECT 1320 to the sport of drag racing and the performance aftermarket.
Reaching over a half million live viewers, plus many more viewers of archived episodes, SpeedScene Racing Live will project the message about PROJECT 1320 to a very sizeable, and influential audience. According to Traci Hrudka. “When the Foundation was approached to do the show with ‘Lucky,’ I was very pleased to hear how large the live audience is, to say nothing about the carryover to the viewers who view the archived materials,” she said. “The fact the show is live, done in a studio setting, makes the program all the more impressive.”
“It will also give me a chance to mention our brothers in the UK and the Allard Chrysler Action Group who are restoring Europe’s oldest dragster, Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler. I am Co-Patron of this group along with Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Linda is Honorary Member. The engine is currently being built at Booth Arons in Michigan and the project has become an adopted part of our mission. Once complete it will appear in the USA alongside Dean Moon’s Mooneyes dragster. These two last raced each other in England during 1963”.
For host, ‘Lucky’ Hudson, the opportunity to bring the three women on the show to discuss the PROJECT 1320 effort was a natural. He commented, “First, our audience is male dominated, and to bring on three attractive blondes will get attention. However, on a more serious note, the cause they are involved with needs the fans, the racers and the industry to get behind it”.
“I have followed PROJECT 1320 from the early days, and I felt our show needed to help provide a platform to make the documentaries about the sport’s history a reality. When this opportunity presented itself, our staff jumped on it”.
“I think the combination of Linda’s iconic status, Lori’s on-track achievements, and Traci’s dynamic personality and passion will receive a positive response from our audience. It should be fun, informative and at times, I am sure, poignant. I, for one, am looking forward to this program!”
The program will be seen at www.speedsceneracing.com at 6 PM Pacific time, 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain. The show will also be available in the website’s archives for 28 days following the initial airing. The archived show should be available on Thursday, April 15.
Viewers are encouraged to participate in the show. The toll free number for American audience participation is 1-800-809-0802.
ALLY AT RACE RETRO
Showing the Allard Chrysler dragster at Race Retro, Stoneleigh through March 12th-14th prompted much interest in the restoration project from visitors and the press. The report published by Pistonheads and the pre-show release sent out by the organisers (supported by our own release in the press room) generated coverage across the globe.
I was only able to attend on the Sunday and we sold a few signed copies of Crazy Horses plus a couple of prints. Had I been able to attend all three days I’m sure we could have sold more of both items but we can only do what we can do and there was no way I could get stocks up to Coventry beforehand. Bob Roberts and Phil Brown covered the first two days, logging enquiries that I was able to follow-up, and Syd McDonald helped me out on the Sunday. Jerry Cookson and the Wild Bunch team also kept an eye on the car for us. Thanks to all of them.
One thing I have found most interesting is how people view the car now compared to when we first started to promote its restoration. Early comments were typified by “Isn’t it ugly” because people did not understand why the car was designed this way and of course it bears little resemblance to modern dragsters. It is more common now for people to make comments like “Isn’t she beautiful”. Clearly a deeper understanding of its construction and importance plus its heightened celebrity status are all having an effect.
We also had a three page feature, plus front cover teaser, in the January/February issue of Connected – the publication of the Mopar Muscle Association UK.
50th O’Reilly NHRA
ACAG Chairman Brian Taylor has been over in the good old US of A publicising his book Crazy Horses - the History of British Drag Racing. While he was there he took the opportunity of doing a spot of networking and promoting the Allard Chrysler Action Group. You can read all about it by clicking here.
Here are a couple of ACAG-related pictures from his visit to whet your appetite.
Ally's Engine – January 2010
The latest news from Sam Eidy at Booth Arons regarding progress on the engine for Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler dragster restoration project is encouraging. The engine block has now been disassembled and it was discovered, thankfully, that it has a standard bore and crank. It has been baked and blasted and is currently awaiting boring and honing. Racetec Pistons is designing and donating the pistons - billet slug - and these will be ordered as soon as the block has been bored. The crank is awaiting bob weights for balancing and the heads are in the process of being refurbished with new guides and seats. Manley Performance is donating the valves. The cam is being donated by Crower and will be ordered shortly. The blower is on its way to Littlefield Blowers who will re-tuning it free of charge for the Potvin set-up. Many thanks to all the donating companies. Their websites are now on the links page which you can access from the menu on the left.
Booth Arons hope to be assembling the engine by the end of February. They already have a company willing to donate the copper head gaskets. The brightwork is being tumbled and polished - including a rare set of valve covers that will be chromed. Some parts are still required so contact email@example.com if you are interested in becoming part of this exciting and important project.