Although there’s no Allard-related litigation, car enthusiasts who see a variety of companies building their own versions of the AC Cobra and other cars may wonder about the legal status of such enterprises. Allan Gabriel, an intellectual property lawyer with Dykema Gossett in Los Angeles, said in an interview that a trademark could lose its protected status if “complete abandonment” has been proved, something that might be hard to do in this case since the Allard family is still active in the car business.
In 2012, Lloyd Allard trademarked the Allard name in the United States, for the production of cars and parts. In an email, he said his company had sold Allard parts to the United States and Canada since 1980, and “all feature the Allard logo/badge, so considerable use of the Allard marque.”
For his part, Roger Allard said in an email that he was the registered owner of the J2X trademark in North America, and the owner of the Allard name in a number of other countries. He added, “My corporate name, Allard Motor Works, with the logo and U.K. flag, has been registered in Canada since 1999 and 2014 in the U.S.”
Mr. Gabriel said a legal tenet known as laches might apply. “According to the law,” he said, “a defendant accused of trademark infringement might say, ‘You knew about me, or should have known about me for a long time, so why didn’t you take action earlier? I’ve made investments, and a ruling against me would be prejudicial.’” It’s by no means an assured strategy, but it sometimes succeeds.
Owners of Roger Allard’s cars speak highly of them. Mr. Uihlein, now semiretired from the oil business, has owned many fast cars, including a Shelby GT350, Ford GT40, Maserati Ghibli Spyder and 427 Cobra. “I get more thumbs up driving this car than if I were driving a Ferrari,” Mr. Uihlein said.
Since the stock Allard weighs 2,750 pounds, the cars are quite quick. The car I tested, with a 370-horsepower General Motors Ram Jet 350 engine, achieves a zero-to-60-m.p.h. time of 3.5 seconds, Mr. Allard said.