John Manley in a garage beside his Allard

The Allard: We meet a rare and hardy beast in Devon


Kate and John Manley-Tucker’s Allard has been a vehicle for adventure and a thread through their shared lives for almost four decades. We spent some time with a unique car and its unique owners.

The front if the Allard with its recognisable bumper and headlights

 Only 1,900 Allards were ever made. The brown Allard has a well-earned patina and a character wrought in hard work all of its own. Picture: JM DRAKE

In a corner of South Devon, by the estuary of the Orde River and along the Byzantine coast of Tor Bay, they live with the Allard. It’s known as The Lard. That’s it.  “It’s been a very important part of our lives,” Kate tells me.

Kate is a face of nature. The owner and designated driver of the Allard – she tells stories at a mile-a-minute. There was the time she hung out with Sterling Moss at the Monte Carlo Rally. There was the time they got trailed by a Soviet helicopter whilst traversing the Gobi Desert. There was the time at another rally when a famous automotive journalist cut her up, nearly causing an accident – after which she grabbed the cad by the scruff of the neck to tell him “what’s what.” All of this, all of these experiences – wouldn’t have been possible without the Allard she says.

John Manley-Tucker at the wheel of the Allard.

John Manley-Tucker at the wheel of the Allard. Picture: JM DRAKE

John, meanwhile, who spent years as a maritime engineer, is as striking to behold. And despite himself, is known to spin a yarn or two. ‘

“These cars are something a bit different’’, he tells me.

“They’ve got something else – a sort of strength – and that’s all based on my Allard’s engineering knowhow.”

The Allard isn’t going to win any beauty pageants. And Kate And John’s edition, all late 1940s stoic and Desert Rat beige – (or is that caramac brown?) as the kind of worked through patina that appeals to some of us. And in terms of strength and stamina, it certainly is all there. The Allard has taken its charges from Peking to Paris, via the longer Hong Kong and Macau route. It’s taken them on numerous Monte Carlo and Pirelli classic rallies. It has seldom let them down – and in its burly stance and cambered road presence – there’s an appeal to this machine that transcends typical notions of automotive beauty.

A side on view of the Allard parked in front of a tree

This Allard has taken its owners around the world, and then some. Picture: JM DRAKE