Cohort Outtake: Home Built “Allard” Hot Rod with Ardun Hemi Heads on Ford Flathead V8

Ralf K posted this fine shot of a home built Allard hot rod sporting a Ford V8 with the legendary Ardun hemi heads. These heads were designed and built by Zora Arkus Duntov and his brother Yura, hence the “Ardun” name for their enterprise. They were designed in 1947, and gave a huge boost in power to the Ford flathead V8. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in 1949, hence the rarity of these heads.

This home built hot rod is interesting, because it is a rather close copy of the Allard J2X, which was available at the time with a Ford/Ardun V8 engine, as ZAD had joined Sidney Allard’s company, prior to his moving to Chevrolet in 1953 to head up the development of the Corvette.

Here’s the model for this hot rod, the Allard J2X, which was of course British, despite its dependence on many Ford parts.


And here’s the Ardun/Ford V8 nestled in its engine compartment.

The Ardun heads were of course classic hemi heads, with hemispherical combustion chambers and inclined valves, as first used on the 1903 Premier racer.  (I’m still planning a post on a definitive answer to who was the original inventor of the hemi head). Aftermarket heads like these had been common for Ford T and A engines in the teens and twenties, but the Depression put a crimp on the aftermarket for expensive components. Given the near ubiquity of Ford flathead V8s in all sorts of use, it rather made sense to pursue this, but presumably the costs to build these fine aluminum heads was too much for the market.

And yes, it appears trucks were a target for the Ardun heads, which makes sense given the power needs of trucks and the relatively low output of mass-market truck engines.