One of the cool aspects of The Italian Job (1969) is that it features 3 Mini get away cars one Red, one White and Blue.
On my recent visit to the Haynes International Motor Museum I was surprised to learn that the idea of continental forays in three patriotically colour co-ordinated vehicles was not born in the 'Swinging 60's' but rather dates back to at least 1947 when Allard entered three cars for the Alpine Rally one Red one White and one Blue.
David Hooper tells me that two of the cars used in this event chassis 156 seen here and 595 left the factory painted blue so presumably chassis 595 was repainted white especially for the Alpine event.
The model used by Allard on the Alpine adventure was the K1 fitted with a British built 3622 cc / 221 cui 85 bhp side valve Ford V8 with aluminium cylinder heads and twin carburetors, not to be confused with the externally visually similar 100 bhp 3917 cc / 239 cui Mercury V8 from the WW2 Universal Carrier known as the Bren Gun Carrier with which the Allard brothers had worked during the war and supplied as standard with the Allard J2 model.
The K1 chassis featured independent front suspension, Marles steering gear and hydraulic brakes.
Production of the Allard K1 ran from 1946 to 1948 with 151 examples built, though thanks to a rushed order an early K2 chassis, #1703, one K2 was delivered with a K1 body. Meaning there were actually 152 K1 bodied vehicles and only 118 K2 bodied vehicles built.
[Photo courtesy David Hooper]
Leonard Potter drove this particular vehicle, the only one of the 3 1947 Alpine team cars in original unrestored condition, to fifth place in class in the 1947 Alpine Rally despite a damaged front. There were no overall awards in this event until 1952 if there had been Potter would have been classified no better than 17th.
The remaining two cars did not fair so well Goff Imhoff in the white car (which according to some sources is described simply as pale) won a trophy on the manoeuvrability test at Aix but ultimately retired with a gearbox problem, while Maurice Wick retired with a big end failure.
My thanks to David Hooper for his photograph and recollections, to Colin Warnes of the Allard Registry along with David McKinney, Allan Lupton, Tim Murray, Peter Stowe, and Richard 'Vitesse2' Armstrong of The Nostalgia Forum, for rifling through a library of information that I can only dream of accessing.
Hope you have enjoyed today's Alpine edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow for a visit to an interesting collection of cars in Calne. Don't forget to come back now !
22 06 11 mikeC has kindly confirmed that the Allard team cars were definitely red, white and blue on the 1947 Alpine Rally.