Iconic English Dragster Gets New Engine

Jan 17, 2011

Great Britain’s iconic Allard-Chrysler, the first dragster in England and Europe, is one step closer to getting its new power plant, after the original was removed from the chassis when it was destroyed in 1964.

It took six months to assemble the engine at Booth-Arons Racing Engines in Berkley, Mich. Upon arrival in England, the engine was cleared through customs and released to the Allard Chrysler Action Group (ACAG).

From there it was delivered to Andy Robinson Race Cars, located south of Reading and west of London, where it was fitted for the clutch and a final installation of the induction system was performed.

“We are pleased that Andy’s group is handling the final fit-ups of the clutch, the injectors and the blower plumbing,” said Brian Taylor, ACAG spokesman. “ARRC campaigns a very competitive blown Pro Mod Studebaker on the European drag racing tour, and we are confident his team will put the final tune-up on the engine, so ‘Ally’ can be ‘cackled.’

He noted that ‘Ally’ was scheduled to be unveiled at the Autosport International Show, Jan. 13-16 at the National Exposition Centre in Birmingham.

Carl Olson of the SFI Foundation-who also serves as a board member of the Quarter Mile Foundation and is a former top fuel drag racer, NHRA vice president and FIA drag racing advisor-said the Allard-Chrysler is among the oldest original “working” dragsters in the world.

In the spring of 2010, the Allard Chrysler Action Group-a group of drag racing enthusiasts that works with the National Motor Museum – Beaulieu, where the Allard Chrysler is on display-approached the Quarter Mile Foundation (QMF) seeking an engine for the race car, according to a press release.

The foundation recommended several builders who could do the job, and ACAG chose Booth-Arons Racing Engines to handle the task, since Booth-Arons had a nearly mint-condition 354 cubic inch Chrysler Hemi available-the same engine that Sydney Allard used in 1961.

Veteran drag racer and engine builder Denny Hummel of Booth-Arons proceeded to carefully begin the task of preparing the block and heads for their new life as a blown nitro burner, according to the release.

The work progressed through the summer and autumn, with donations from several manufacturers including Crower Equipment (flat tappet cam), Hilborn Fuel Injection (two-port fuel injector, pump and bypass valve), Kalitta Motorsports (machining/fabricating of unavailable repair/replacement parts), Littlefield Superchargers (labor for supercharger repair), Manley Performance (Inconel and stainless steel valves), RaceTec Pistons (pistons) and Trend Performance (pushrods and wrist pins).

Three of the major challenges included mating the original Potvin blower drive to the crankshaft, the block and the supercharger housing; fabricating parts when replacement parts could not be found; and adjusting the pushrods and upper valve train to operate with the decked block, according to the release.

The crankshaft required modification of the snout to mate to the Potvin drive adapter.

Traci Hrudka, chairman of the Quarter Mile Foundation, is a co-patron of ACAG, along with Nick Mason, drummer for the rock band Pink Floyd. Additionally, Linda Vaughn is an honorary member of the ACAG organization.