A SHORT HISTORY OF TR2 55 AND TR2’S AT PEBBLE BEACH
Dave Nelson’s Triumph TR2, aka TR2 55, rolled off the assembly line, at the Triumph factory in Coventry, England, on July 11,1955
In 1954, the first TR2 to appear at the Pebble Beach Road Races, was the car of Lt. Col. Bill Harris. He had the car shipped from France, and was the first appearance of a TR2 in a race on the west coast. He finished a credible 12th place in the Cypress Point Handicap race.
Dave bought TR2 55 off of Ebay in 2002. Coming from Florida, it was a real 10 footer. Beautiful in its Signal Red paint, but a nightmare in the rust that was found under the fiberglass. After a 3 year restoration . TR2 55 was returned its original color of British Racing Green, and with a few period modifications , such as 4 wheel disc brakes. It made its first west coast appearance at the 2005 Wine Country Classic, winning the trophy for its race group.
Following the success of Bill Harris in 1954. Eight TR2’s appeared for the 1955 running of Pebble Beach. Seven cars vying for the Cypress Point Trophy and one going for the Del Monte Trophy. With Wally Kieckhefer finishing in sixth place in the rain soaked event.
TR2 55’s best finish was a fourth place at an equally wet Sonoma Historics.
By 1956 most drivers had opted to race the new TR3. But Ed Kretz finished a fine 15th, in the Del Monte Trophy race, in his TR2
In 2006, fifty years after Ed Kretz and his TR2 last ran in the Del Monte Trophy. Dave Nelson’s TR2 55 has taken up the mantle as the lone TR2 competing at the RMMR and as part of the new Del Monte Trophy Race Group.
Took the checkered flag at the 1955 12 Hours of Sebring, later re-classified as 2nd place
Winner of both the 1955 and 1956 Del Monte Trophy, Pebble Beach Road Races
Driven by such legends as Phil Hill, Carroll Shelby, and Jim Hall
Piloted to victory by Jim Hall in his very first road-race in 0510 M at Fort Sumner, New Mexico
Owned continuously by Mr. Hall, its last racing driver, from 1956 to 2016
Photo right: Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby
260 bhp, 2,999 cc DOHC inline four-cylinder engine with two Weber 58 DCO/A3 carburetors, five-speed manual transaxle, independent front suspension with coil spring, De Dion rear axle with parallel trailing arms and semi-elliptical leaf springs, four-wheel drum brakes, and a tubular steel frame. Wheelbase: 88.5 in.
In the mid-1950s, sports car racing took America by storm. Almost every weekend at tracks around the country, both professional and gentleman drivers could be found pushing their machines to the limits, all for a chance to stand atop the podium. So often, these race cars were driven hard, put away wet, damaged in accidents, and often modified for the sake of performance, as their drivers sought to extract just one more race behind the wheel. It was extremely rare for a racing car to enter the crucible of motorsport and leave unscathed and unmolested.
It was even rarer for one of these racing cars to be retained by its racing driver after it retired from competition. Furthermore, it is almost unfathomable that one of these drivers would hold onto their cherished racer for the next 60 years. Yet, such is the story of this Ferrari 750 Monza.
HILL AND SHELBY’S CLOSE SECOND AT SEBRING
Chassis 0510 M was sold new to Allen Guiberson of Dallas, Texas, a manufacturer of drilling and refinery equipment, who owned and campaigned several early Ferraris. The car was finished in a distinctive color combination of white with a dark blue triangle, stretching from the car’s nose to its windshield, and mimicked on the tail. The 750 Monza would retain this distinctive color scheme for the 1955 season, where it would see great success at the hands of some of motor racing’s great drivers.
The first event for the new 750 Monza was the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1955. With Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby behind the wheel under race #25, the Monza was initially crowned the overall winner at the end of a hard-fought 12 hours against the Jaguar D-Type of Mike Hawthorn and Phil Walters that was entered by Briggs Cunningham. Both teams argued that their car had crossed the line first. Upon a final review of the lap charts, well after the race, the Jaguar was declared to be the winner. It had crossed the line just 25.4 seconds ahead of Guiberson’s Ferrari, an incredibly slim margin over the course of just 12 hours. However, Hill and Shelby still managed to clinch the Index of Performance trophy.
The car’s next outing with Phil Hill would be more fruitful. Chassis number 0510 M raced to a hard-fought 1st place finish for the Del Monte Trophy at the Pebble Beach road races in April. The car’s third and final event for the season was at Palm Springs on 3 December, where it finished in 2nd with Phil Hill behind the wheel yet again. This would be the final event for the car under Guiberson’s name. At the end of the season, it was sold to Richard “Dick” Hall and his brother, Jim. Perhaps they did not know it at the time, but the Ferrari would remain in the hands of the Hall family, only the car’s second owners, for an incredible 60 years.
FURTHER SUCCESS WITH HALL AND SHELBY
Chassis number 0510 M would find its way back to Pebble Beach for the first event of the 1956 season with Carroll Shelby behind the wheel, repeating its overall victory from 1955. The next week, Shelby and the 750 Monza travelled to Dodge City, Kansas, where they took first place yet again. Chassis number 0510 M would rack up 1st place finishes at Eagle Mountain, Texas, with Carroll Shelby and Fort Sumner, New Mexico, that year.
Fort Sumner would be the very first time that Jim Hall drove the Monza, and he recalled it as being a hard-fought battle. Not only would this be Hall’s first race in the car, but it was his very first win. Finishing in 1st place against the Porsche 550 Spyder driven by Jack McAfee, who was that year’s SCCA National Champion and is considered to be one of the SCCA’s greatest drivers, this was a clear highlight in what would become a very successful motorsport career for Jim Hall.
In a recent conversation with RM Sotheby’s Research & Editorial department, he commented, “I remember driving it for the first time and was amazed by it. It had lots of torque and you had to shift through the gears quickly, but it had lots of go. The brakes were fantastic, even though they were drums. I thought it was a fabulous race car.”
During the race in Dodge City, the car’s engine had picked up some debris on the track and the car was subsequently shipped to Maranello to be serviced. In addition to the engine service, the factory fitted chassis number 0510 M with a door on the left-hand side and a full-width windscreen in order to conform to FIA Index C regulations. It was refinished in red by the factory prior to being shipped back to Jim Hall, where it would resume racing.
Purchased outright from his brother prior to the 1957 season, Jim Hall continued to campaign the Monza. The car was raced in a handful of sports car races, mainly in Hall’s home state of Texas. Hall raced his Ferrari in at least one event in 1958, finishing 3rd overall and 2nd in class at the Mansfield Spring Sports Car Races in Louisiana.
Following its retirement from racing, the car remained in storage with Jim Hall for nearly 40 years, preserving its unmolested condition at a time when other Ferraris of similar ilk were often modified and upgraded in pursuit of continued racing careers. No such fate would await 0510 M. In the mid-1990s, Hall decided that his 750 Monza should be restored to its former glory and entrusted it to Troy Rogers, former chief mechanic for the Chaparral racing team. At this time, the engine’s bell housing and starter were replaced, but all of its other mechanical components were retained.
Finished in its recognizable blue and white livery, Hall’s 750 Monza was first displayed at the Monterey Historics in 1997 as part of a tribute to Carroll Shelby. Following its initial appearance at Monterey, it was shown at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as part of a special display of cars honoring Phil Hill and Stirling Moss. In 2011, it was part of an exhibit honoring Phil Hill at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
Since then, the car remained well-preserved in Jim Hall’s care in his native Texas. After its restoration, it would be started occasionally and gently driven around Hall’s test track to make sure that everything was in running order. Prior to the passing of both Carroll Shelby and Phil Hill, Jim Hall had both Shelby and Hill draft letters detailing their experiences with 0510 M.
The provenance and importance of chassis number 0510 M is irrefutable and second to none. Following a highly successful racing career with three of America’s greatest drivers, its careful preservation, restoration, and custodianship, in the hands of Jim Hall (one of those very drivers) for over 60 years, has put it in a class of its own. While many four-cylinder Ferrari sports racers fell to the crucible of motorsport or general neglect following their racing careers, this particular 750 Monza persevered and remains today as perhaps the finest example in existence.
See also https://ttf3289.wordpress.com/
March 2018. drivers Bart Wolf and Tazio Ottis drove the Wolf Motorsports #28 at the IMSA Prototype Challenge at Sebring.
Today’s story begins in the sun fried podunk called Bell on the west side of an arid ditch called Los Angeles River in California, where ‘Okie’ George Wright drifted in 1919 and started a wrecking business that transformed over time to become the world first speed shop called Bells Auto Parts for competitors running Model T’s.
Just before the second world war a lanky redheaded kid called Roy Richter from Maywood California, a perfectionist with a genius for pattern making and fabrication started building a reputation at Cragar, a company owned by George White , manufacturing Leo Goosen designed cylinder heads and at Bell Auto Parts where Roy built his first Saxon midget, then raced it successfully.
Roy moved to Detroit where he continued to manufacture dirt track cars, but in 1938 after a racing tour of New Zealand, Roy settled again in California where he built an extremely successful Offenhauser powered midget for Sam Hanks, the eventual 1957 Indy 500 winner aboard the Belond Exhaust Special.
During the war Roy worked in the aircraft industry and his former employer George Wright of Bell Auto Parts passed away, Roy took the opportunity to lease Bell Auto Parts, raising the money by selling his Model T.
After the war a huge demand for racing equipment was unlocked as hundreds of thousands former forces personnel who had built up an enthusiasm for all things mechanical during the war now had the time and disposable income to explore their curiosity to go faster and further.
Bell Auto Parts took full advantage of it’s position as a distributor of performance parts and diversified with a mail order catalogue. Roy with an eclectic taste in vehicles midgets, desert streamliners and sports cars became the California distributor for Allard cars and imported this vehicle the 3rd J2 built and the 8th ever imported to the USA.
Allard J2 1513 was shipped to the USA without a motor, as was customary, and Roy installed a Cadillac 331 cui V8.
On one occasion when Roy’s wife Colleen was away he took his #1 Allard J2 down to the US Navy airship base at Santa Ana and entered a race with amongst others a couple of XK120’s driven by Phil Hill (#18), and Jack McAfee (last row), Tom Frisbey (#3) Allard K2, Basil Panzer (#2) Allard J2, and Sterling Edwards (#10) Edwards R26.
Roy won the race and when his wife came home he is said to have confessed all and promised never to race again.
In 1953 Richter diversified his interests into the manufacture of safety helmets hoping to capture the market occupied by English Cromwell leather head gear which he distributed. The success of the Bell 500 was followed by the first helmet to meet Snell standards the Bell 500 TX helmet in 1957.
Roy followed the diversification into safety equipment with a response to the ‘strength and style deficiency’ in after market performance wheel market sold under the Crager brand name he had acquired from the White estate.
In 1954 William ‘Bill’ Leach acquired Roy’s J2, now painted white, from a third party, Bill raced the car without much success and sold it in 1956 to pursue his interest in horse racing.
Bernard Dervieux, acquired Roy Richter’s J2 1513 in 2000, it is still fitted with its Cadillac motor powerful enough to provide plenty of excitement 60 years after it’s debut win.
Earlier this year the #1 J2 -1513 was seen at the Dessert Classic, apart from its non period yet apt Cragar wheels, the car is in original immaculate shape, a fitting testament to the extraordinary figure who first owned her Roy Richter.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton, who initiated today’s blog, Colin Warnes, of The Allard Register, and Bernard Dervieux, the owner, for sharing their photos. Further thanks to Frank, Woody and David at The Nostalgia Forum, to Mr Holland at The Cadillac Forum and Brock Yates of Car & Driver for background information. Hope you have enjoyed this ‘Roy will play’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a trip to the Atwell Wilson Museum. Don’t forget to come back now !
from https://www.psychoontyres.co.uk/tag/dervieux/ with thanks
Del Monte Trophy Race Group Bulletin Number 2, June 2021
It was a pleasure to catch up with many of you earlier this month at the CSRG Laguna Seca races. We actually had 4 Jaguar XK-120s (see the group shot of the drivers and owners below) racing together all weekend in a scrum of nearly 30 cars. Our 1947-1955 Group was well represented by both Over and Under 2000cc production Sports Cars as well as California Specials.
I’m sure we are all looking forward to gathering the full Group at the Reunion in August. At this point, 28 cars have been invited for our Race Group 4A (Saturday). We are still working through a few issues with the Selection Committee. Several entries had been placed in other Race Groups and we have been able to get them reassigned. Several entries are under discussion and we are hoping for a decision next week.
2021 is the Pebble Beach Road Races and Concours d”Elegance 70th Anniversary celebration year. Our cars are the historic racing connection between modern day Pebble Beach and the Reunion. We want to ensure that everyone in the Group who wants to participate can join us for the Celebration. Celebration preparations have evolved in the several months since the last Bulletin. We have developed a proposal for large commemorative displays at both the Concours and the Reunion. These consist of 5 panels with art photos and text that present the Road Races in their historical context. The artwork and graphics are by noted digital artist, David Gentry, and the period race photos are taken from the PBCo Julian Graham Archives. Our proposal has been accepted by both the Concours and the Reunion organizers. Sponsorship is being finalized and we are moving to production.
A major element of these two exhibits will be the presence for the 5 Del Monte Trophy/ Feature Race winning cars. The Concours has gathered all 5 winners for a Special Exhibition Class. They will also be featured in other activities during Car Week. On our race Saturday they will be at Laguna Seca in front of the Anniversary Exhibit.
The cars of the 1947-1955 Del Monte Race Group 4A will play a key role in the Reunion’s Celebration. Those that actually participated in the Pebble Beach Road Races will participate directly and virtually in several activities. Last week the Concours organizers held a film shoot with 5 of our cars (photo below) doing (slow) laps around the original race circuit in the Forrest. The footage will be used in the coming weeks for various promotional efforts.
At the Reunion on race Saturday, the 1949 Parkinson Jaguar and the 1950 Cannon Mk.1 Specials will join the Phil Hill XK-120 Jaguar for photos and interviews. These cars were the top three finishers of the 1950 Feature race.
As in past years, we will be organizing our dedicated Del Monte Trophy Race Group paddock lane and activity. It will be linked with graphic panels to the main Celebration Display in the Exhibition/Drivers Lounge area. Ours are the sports cars that pioneered European-style road racing 70 years ago and we’ll make a big effort to use the Celebration to show them off.
Del Monte Trophy patches are available in two formats for your race suits. Send Rob your mailing address and you’ll have one for August. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me.
Gentlemen, As we all begin (optimistically) to plan our racing calendars for the upcoming season, Doug and I felt that it would be a good opportunity to put out this first Del Monte Trophy Race Group 2021 Bulletin. The new Season will be the 70th Anniversary of the first European-style Road Races in California and on the Monterey Penninsula. For those of you doing mental calculations, this was to have happened in 2020 but… The upside is that everyone has had a bonus year to plan for a truly extraordinary celebration.
In the halcyon days of the early 1950s, you could go to a sports car race and watch real cars race on real roads—places like Golden Gate Park and Pebble Beach reintroduced European style road racing to Americans.
Close roads to ordinary traffic, put a few hay bales on corners, wave a green flag and the race would be on. And they raced on airport venues too. Airplanes had the right of way, of course. Racing would be stopped to allow scheduled flights to use the runways. It worked fine.
We stood beside the road and cheered as sleek Jaguars and Allards roared past at unbelievable speeds. The exotic smell of burning rubber and Castrol R motor oil hung in the air. Spectators were asked not to cross the track during events—there were no concrete barriers or safety fencing in those days.
And that, my friends, was road racing before the insurance companies and attorneys had their way.
Peter Darnall’s year end message 2020. Thank you!
Peter Darnall is a photographer, historic race car writer and fervent supporter of the Del Monte Trophy Race Group. He’s a fifth generation Californian and traces his roots to Berkeley and to the community of Ocean View which preceded it. He is now retired, married and living in Sacramento. On his love of writing about and photographing great racing cars from a bygone era, Peter says “My life seems to have come a full circle as I race to the finish line: I started out intending to be an automotive journalist and spent several years demonstrating that one couldn’t make a living in this esoteric venue. The financial arena was more promising: half a century—and two companies—later, I retired. Hoping to delay the onset of age-related dementia, I returned to my original efforts as a free-lance journalist and photographer. Years of benign neglect and good wine had taken a toll, but the creative side of my brain is staging a comeback.”
Message about the Monterey Motorsports Reunion from Doug Sallen and Rob Manson (2020 Bulletin 2) …
Hello All, after what has truly been a long strange Spring-into-Summer which in most of our cases has facilitated some serious garage time. We likely have our 1947-1955 race cars prepared like never before – all dressed up but with nowhere to go … perhaps “current license plates and open road at sunset”! There are hopeful signs for an active late summer and fall schedule in Northern California. Here is a list of events that could get us back on track. These organizers are our friends … get out on the track if you can …
CSRG Sonoma 7/10…
Laguna Seca Recreational Area Mangement Company Laguna Sea 8/8…
Sonoma Speedfest 9/3…
CSRG Sonoma 10/2…
CSRG T’ Hill 10/30…
SVRA Laguna Sea 12/3 …
Those of us who received invitations to this year’s August Monterey Motorsports Pre and Reunion and who are on their mailing list ( not necessarily the same thing … hmmm! ) will have received communications from Laguna Seca in the past week … copy below.
Laguna Seca Recreational Area Management Co …. the event organizers … in the end the intention as we all understood … was to hold the Pre and Reunion event “as a Club event” collapsed recently … county health and volunteer organization issues. The details are summarized in an article from Vintage Motorsport … below!
A consolation event … Drivers Appreciation Weekend … has been offered for the traditional 8 – 9 August Pre-reunion weekend for those entrants accepted for either or both of the Pre and Reunion. It will be organized by our friend HMSA / Cris Vandergif in adherence to the Monterey County guidelines for track day and private rentals for Laguna Seca Recreational Area / The Race Track. Recent weekends have held events including SCCA. Effectively, this means seat time for our vintage race cars at a reasonable / club price on our “home track” Laguna Seca. “No pool, no pets, no cigarettes” – paddock camping but no social events, no spectators and limited crew in the paddock. We’ll fly solo more or less … but fly all the same.
We would like to gather 10-15 of our Del Monte Trophy Race Group for the weekend and will stake out paddock space best we can given the “times” and work with Cris re group sturctures. This would ensure that we have someone to race with without too much hassle and enjoying beautiful Monterey Penninsula race track. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to get our group together for a bit of socially distanced celebration of our great cars and the friends who keep them on the track.
Please tell us when you apply for the event so we can do a bit of organization in these turbulent times. All the best, Rob & Doug
From “The Track Mgmt Co”…..
We deeply regret to inform you that the Pre-Reunion and Monterey Motorsports Reunion August 13-16 are canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and its impact on public social gatherings. The health and safety of you, your crews and family are our utmost concern. After much discussion and consultation with local health and government officials, and feedback from many of our participants, we cannot envision a suitable way to provide for the wonderful race and social settings for families of all ages to enjoy.
CAL/OSHA still mandates as of June 5 that, “All public events or concentrated gatherings, including musical or other performances, at these facilities must be canceled or postponed.”
This has been a very difficult decision to make and we are truly disappointed. The entire team wants to thank you for your calls, email messages and feedback. You have been extremely supportive of the event and our attempts at finding a way to get you back on track.
You will receive a full refund of entry fees. Please contact [email protected] to begin the process.
In an effort to still get you on track, we will be hosting a Driver Appreciation Weekend to replace the Pre-Reunion dates of August 8 and 9, with load-in occurring on Friday, Aug. 7. This will be a private track rental where you will be able to enjoy driving in a low-key club-like affair. We empathize with many of you who remain dedicated to coming to Monterey, and this event is for you.
Please complete the attached simple pdf entry and return it to [email protected] by July 1. We want to make this process as easy as possible. Once entries are received Cris Vandagriff of HMSA will begin assembling the groups and developing the schedule to maximize your track time.
The attached press release will be distributed within the hour, as we wanted to ensure you heard the direction that we are taking firsthand.
Again, we cannot begin to thank you enough in words. But we hope to provide a suitable thank you when we return in 2021. We will keep in touch about run groups, opening of registration and other important matters in the coming months. Your patience and understanding during this time have been greatly appreciated.
Please continue to stay safe, healthy and happy.
Most sincerely, John V. Narigi , Barry Toepke, & Francesca Flores
With a lot of changes in “our vintage racing world” we are all primarily concerned with two things:
What is the Del Monte Trophy Race Group up to for us all?
What is different this year vs. last year for the Venues and Events that we participate in?
We have three events that we’re targeting for our DMTRG for 2020 and our Bulletins will be focused on developments related to those: RMMR, Sonoma Speed Festival and SVRA Laguna Seca.
Among the gems therein…
• Update on Laguna Seca Recreational Park
• What’s different for RMMR 2019 vs 2020
• DMTRG: 1947 – 1955 Race Group re RMMR
• HMSA Rules re RMMR
• 70th Anniversary of first Pebble Beach Road Races and the first Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
• DMTRG is targeting THREE EVENTS for 2020!
▪ SVRA Laguna Seca: April 30 – May 3
▪ Sonoma Speed Festival: 29 May – 31 June
▪ RMMR @ Laguna Seca: 8 – 9 August & 13 – 16 August
• Car “bios” and DMTRG recruiting initiatives
Big news. It has only taken me four years to catch up, but we are now pleased to inform all drivers, owners and friends of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion – 1947-1955 Sports Racing & GT Cars group – the Del Monte trophy race group – that the cars and their owners have been brought up-to-date on the web site. You can look at the listings in two ways
The number of each entry is in order of the cars going up on the web-site, nothing more significant. Cars and drivers which are not represented here are those where you have not sent us details, so please email [email protected] with a copy to Rob Manson ([email protected]) with the following details…
• Two photos of your car (or many more if you like) between 150kb and 1mb in file size
• Two photos of you, in race gear or in civvies
• Year of manufacture
• Manufacturer and type
• Engine and other details, laid out as follows if it’s convenient
o Engine: (Overhead/Side Valve) # of Cylinders (Flat 6, V8 etc)
Displacement in cc
Horsepower x bhp @ y rpm, torque z ft-lb at w rpm
Induction: carburettor type, intake type
Gearbox type, # of gears, final drive, diff, axle
Running gear and chassis; source and mods
o Brakes: Drum or disc brakes from what car type?
o Normal tyres: Blockley / Dunlop/Avon/ Hoosier Vintage TD / Hoosier Speedster / Goodyear Blue Streak / diameter in inches
Where is the car based? Who is the entrant?
• History of the car, designer, engineering development and special features
• History of the owner/drivers and race successes (especially the first)
• Web links to any sites or pages referring to the car
• A short bio on each car entered in this year’s RMMR, 150 or so words
and suitable to be “read” by an announcer as we grid for our races
and during the race as time permits.
#26 in our series of cars and drivers in the Del Monte Trophy race group…
This splendid Allard was purchased by Australian Joe Calleja in about 2018 and driven to victory in the 2019 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion – 1947-1955 Sports Racing & GT Cars group – by John Bowe, also Australian. We turn to the text of a useful article from 2015, credited at the bottom of this page…
One of the fastest Group 1 racing cars circling Road America during the recent Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival was a 1953 Allard J2X. Carroll Shelby drove the Allard for Texas businessman Roy Cherryholmes back in the ‘50s. Nowadays the car belongs to Augie Grasis III, of Kansas City, who seems to like old racing cars that were owned by famous people and have links to his hometown. Grasis also owns a ’33 Studebaker 2-man Indy car that was driven by Tony Gulotta, a legendary racer who just happened to hail from Kansas City.
Carroll Shelby was a through-and-through Texan, but his co-driver in the Allard during the 1954 World Championship Argentine 1000 Kilometer race was Dale Duncan who, like his brother-in-law Maston Gregory, was from Kansas City.
Grasis says he didn’t buy the car because Shelby drove it. “They don’t come up that often,” he says. “People typically buy them and keep them, so I probably would have bought it no matter who was connected with it. The fact that Carroll Shelby drove it was just the icing on the cake.”
A history of Shelby by Michael T. Lynch says that he drove Allards owned by Charles Brown and Roy Cherryholmes, but it doesn’t say which car came first. Auctioneer Dana Mecum knows the answer to that question. According to Mecum and his friend Kevin Caulfield, Shelby’s road racing career began in 1952 in an MG TC. He then caught the attention of Charlie Brown a Louisiana businessman who owned an Allard J2 chassis number J2179. Later that season, Brown wanted a driver for his J2 and turned to Shelby.
The following season Shelby was invited to drive Cherryholmes’ J2X/3146 that was then owned by Augie Grasis. It competed in about 10 races and won nine. “Most were SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) races in Texas,” Grasis said. “But in January 1954 they took the car to Argentina to compete. Aston Martin team manager John Wyer saw Shelby race and offered him a job.
“The Allard was kind of the start of Shelby’s professional career,” Grasis e
xplained. After Shelby raced it, it went into a barn and resurfaced around 1970. After a string of owners, a man named Peter Booth ultimately got the car and re-restored it to the exact livery it was in when Shelby raced it.
Booth took the car to the 1990 Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca where Carroll Shelby drove it. He signed the car, too. Grasis bought it in about 2013. “It’s a lot of fun and we’re having a lot of fun racing it,” he said. “We brought it here to Road America and this is only the second race we’ve had it at. It’s going to be a few years before we get it all sorted out.”
Grasis said he looked forward to taking his J2X to the Colorado Grand and other rallies because it’s a fast, powerful, wind-in-your-face type of car. “It is something that we are going to enjoy and treasure,” said Augie. “We will try to get out to a lot of events so people can see it and enjoy a piece of racing history.”
The Allard Register wrote up the 2019 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. John Bowe drove Joe Calleja’s Allard Cadillac J2X to victory in the second race so we reproduce, with thanks to Colin Warnes, their article here in full…
Four Allards made up a part of the thirty-car race group 1B for 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars. The Allards were up against a strong group of California Specials, Jaguars, Mercedes, MG’s, Triumphs, Porsches, and a few flyweight H-Mod specials.
Sunday’s morning race was action packed. As the green flag waived, John Bowe rocketed past the third and second place cars and was challenging Rob Manson’s GMC Tatum Special for the lead by the first corner! After a few laps of trying to get past the Tatum, Bowe dropped back a few places with fading brakes. John Mote in his Buick K2 held his own starting and finishing 11th. Jon LeCarner had a good race in his K2 moving from 21st to 16th. Bernard Dervieux put on a show in J2-1513 (one of the first J2’s built) demonstrating the finer points of Sydney’s divided axle front suspension finishing 26th.
Sunday’s afternoon race was another thriller. While two of the race’s nine laps were run under a full-course yellow, drivers and fans were treated to a tight contest among the five leaders – the Allard J2X against four California specials; the Parkinson Jaguar Special, a Chevy-powered Austin Healey, a Kurtis Dodge, and the Streets Manning Special.
John Bowe of Melbourne Australia was first to take the checkered flag at the wheel of Joe Calleja’s Allard J2X-3146. This is the very same ex-Carroll Shelby Allard that has been a familiar sight at Laguna Seca for the past 20+ years at the hands of Peter Booth and Augie Grassis. Joe has been working diligently to bring this Allard into FIA specs, with plans to race it in Europe and Australia in 2020. Driver John Bowe has some previous racing history in Australia having won the infamous Bathurst 1000 twice; needless to say, Shelby’s old J2X was in good hands. The J2X had a close race with the Parkinson Jaguar, but in the end the John Bowe made it to the checkered flag first – another Allard victory!
John LeCarner finished in 15th spot with his Cad-powered K2, and Bernard Dervieux’s J2 crossed the finish line in 23rd place. John Mote ran strong until lap 5, when his oil pressure gauge suggested that he prudently ‘call it a day’. All three cars will be undergoing refurbishment over the next year and we hope to see them back on track in 2020.
The Allards were pitted among a wide array of cars of similar vintage. Foremost in this group were a number of California-engineered built by names like Hagemann, Tatum, Baldwin, and Kurtis – cars that were not only fast, but quite able to hold their own on road courses against the sophisticated cars from post-war Europe. One could argue that many of the California Specials owe their existence to the production hot rods built by Allard.
The cars of Group 1B have adopted the moniker, Del Monte Trophy Race Group – cars that either raced in the Pebble Beach Road Races in the early ‘50’s, or would have been eligible to have raced there.
The entrance to this paddock area is fittingly decorated with rows of snow fencing and hay bales which were deemed to serve as protection for spectators back in the day, along with several historic black and white race photos from the early ‘50’s. This provided an ideal setting for a gathering after Friday afternoon’s practice, with all 38 cars from Group 1B on display. A more casual affair was held Sunday afternoon where the Del Monte Trophy was awarded to Tim Barnes (over 2L) and his 1951 Jaguar XK120 and to Kaiden Marouf (under 2L) and his 1951 supercharged MG TD.
Monterey’s ‘Car Week’ formally starts with Thursday’s Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, when more than a hundred rare and elegant competitors in Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance embark on a 70-mile tour on public roads around the Monterey area. This provides a unique opportunity for the general public to witness these show cars mix with Highway 1 traffic down to Big Sur, before returning to gather for along Carmel’s Ocean Avenue for lunch.
We again welcomed the opportunity to join Martin Allard in his biscuit-colored Allard K3 as we enjoyed the show cars along Highway 1. A part of this included a special surprise to see Ted Springstead at the wheel of his green Allard K3. Ted was one of the thirty Concours entrants to participate in the ten-day, 1500-mile Pebble Beach Motoring Classic run from Kirkland Washington to Pebble Beach. Aside from a minor fender-bender along the way, it was a great and memorable trip.
Three Allards were ‘on the block’ at two of the six (yes – 6!) auctions underway during Monterey’s Car Week. The Carroll Shelby J2 from his 1952 racing season was for sale at Mecum’s, and two Allards were consigned to Goodings. One was the red, Chrysler-powered J2X LeMans veteran of the Pebble Beach and Golden Gate races in the early ‘50’s, and the other was a very nice black K2. Neither the J2 nor the J2X LM made their reserve, while K2 was sold for a very reasonable $84,000.
We’re looking forward to 2020 which will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races. We hope to see you there!