John Carlson

John Carlson

National President, CEO, Chief Judge, NAACC

John has been involved in the collector car hobby for more than 45 years. His motor sport experiences are as varied as his passion for high performance vintage track racing and concourse quality restorations. He is a hands-on restorer who does most of his own work. These areas have contributed to his extensive background and form the basis of his belief that research, hard work and attention to detail will allow anyone who has a dream to become part of the winner’s circle.

John is a three-time International High Point Record Holder and National Class Champion to the International Show Car Association of North America (ISCA) and a five-time recipient of the Specialty Equipment Market Associations (SEMA) “Most Outstanding Detailed Vehicle Award”. He was a “Best of Class” winner at the Model A Ford Club of America (MAFCA) National Meet in Reno, Nevada and the first foreign participant to achieve this recognition. He has also been a Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) and Early Ford V/8 National 1st place winner many times.

John organized and served as chairman for the Vintage International Antique Auto Show. This event opened the automotive theme period for the 1986 World’s Fair- EXPO 86. The show was a combination of concours quality restorations, nostalgic hot rods and muscle cars. This was the largest undercover collector vehicle show of its kind staged in North America.

John is a past National President to the Vintage Car Club of Canada (VCCC) and is serving as President of the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation (NAACC).

He has an extensive career in Vintage Automobile Judging. He is a Certified Senior Judge for a number of organizations including the Model A Ford Club of America. He is a ‘Master’ Judge for the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA). He is the Chief Judge for Vintage Car Club of Canada (VCCC) and a panel judge for the Early Ford V/8 Club of America. He is a permanent Chief Class Judge at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, USA. He is the Chief Judge for the French Lick Concours, Indiana, a Chief Judge for the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance in South Carolina, Chief Judge for the Cobble Beach Concours, Ontario Canada and the Crescent Beach Concours in BC Canada.

John is an Advisory Board Member to the Classic Collectible, and Special Interest Car Appraisal Guide of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). He serves as a Board Member on the British Columbia Government’s Collector Car Club Council.

He has written numerous articles about automotive restoration and judging. He is a co-author for the initial Canadian Judging Standards for MAFCA and is the author of the Canadian Judging Standards for the NAACC. He has been the Chief Judge for the NAACC since 1989 and has been the Chief Judge for the Vintage Car Club of Canada since 1995.

John’s judging philosophy is “there are no losers only different winners”. He believes that the vehicle speaks for itself and should be set aside from personalities, money and influence. He also believes that the NAACC has one of the finest and fairest Judging Standards ‘world-wide’.

September 13th Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Ontario

From the NAACC Facebook page
Tonight at the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance opening Banquet The Lee Iacocca Award was awarded. It was the first time in its history it was awarded to anybody outside the USA!

This prestigious Lee Iacocca Award was established to recognize outstanding classic car enthusiasts and is given for Dedication To Excellence In Perpetuating An American Automotive Tradition. This award celebrates auto enthusiasts on multiple levels, including character, community involvement, integrity and a level of excellent presentation of their vehicle. This beautiful award is a one of a kind elegant plaque with a likeness of Lee Iacocca and his signature engraved in gold. Since the awards’ inception in 2006, the Antique Automobile Club of America named the Lee Iacocca Award “the most coveted award on the classic car circuit.”

On behalf of the board of the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada we would like to congratulate our President Mr. John Carlson who was awarded this award.

Congratulations John! There is no one who deserves it more!

John’s personal philosophy is “you will get as much out of this hobby as you are willing to put into it. The people in the hobby are what is ‘really’ important. We are only caretakers for the vehicles that we restore and hopefully they will be here long after we are gone.”

On a personal note, John owns and operates Carlson Custom Automobile Appraisals & Consulting. He is married and has two ‘car guy’ sons, “JJ” and David. His wife, Koko, and he have been married for over 40 years. They reside in the seaside community of Belcarra, BC. John is a journeyman master mechanic and a graduate of the University of British Columbia. He is now retired after a 30-year career as a Technology Education teacher.

He has been honored for his work in the collector car hobby by being inducted into the Hall of Fame the Vintage Car Club of Canada, the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation and the Greater Vancouver Motorsports Pioneer Society.

John Carlson: Credentials & Collector Vehicle Biography

Current National President & CEO, National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation. North America’s largest collector vehicle group,

• Current Advisory Board Member to N.A.D.A.- National Automobile Dealers Association, Classic, Collectible, and Special Interest Car, Appraisal Guide

• National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation. Appraisal committee member. (Current)

• Harold LeMay ‘America’ Museum, Tacoma Washington Current Steering Committee Board member (Current)

• Heritage Village Museum Board Member, Burnaby BC (5 years)

• Kwantlen University College, Motor Sports Technology Board Member (2004-05)

• Past National President, Vintage Car Club of Canada

• Chief Advisory Judge to the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation (1989–Current)

• Chief Judge for the Vintage Car Club of Canada (1995– Current)

• Panel Judge to the Early Ford V8 Club of America (Current)

• Certified Senior Judge to the Model A Ford Club of America

• Master Judge, Classic Car Club of America (CCCA 1982– Current)

• Chief Judge, Steamworks Concours, Vancouver, BC 2004-2011

• Chief Class Judge & Permanent Panel Judge, Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, Pebble Beach, California, USA ( Current-over 20 years )

• Chief Judge 2005, 2009, 2012, 2016 & Permanent Honorary Judge, Hilton Head Concours, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA (Current)

• Chief Judge 2009-2012 Louisville Concours d’Elegance, Churchill Downs, Home of the Kentucky Derby, Chief Judge, Concours d’ Elegance at French Lick, Indiana (Current)

• International Show Car Association of North America (ISCA), Three time National Class Champion and MAFCA, National Champion

• NHRA, Started the Jr. Dragster High School racing program in Canada, 1989

• Charter and a founding member of the BC Collector Car Council (Current)

• Graduate, University of British Columbia, Double Major, Technology & Industrial Education

• British Columbia, Department of Education, Technology Education teacher (30 years)

• Member of the British Columbia College of Teachers


• Honorary ‘Life Member’ & Hall of Fame member of the Vintage Car Club of Canada (Inducted 1986)

• Honorary ‘Life Member’ & Hall of Fame member of the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation (inducted 2001)

Greater Vancouver Motorsports Pioneer Society Hall of Fame (inducted 2011)


International Collector Vehicle Appraiser & Facility Design Consultant & Concours d’ Elegance consultant

Areas of Appraisal Specialties include, CCCA Classics, Hot Rods, High Performance, Race Cars, Sports, Muscle, Vintage, Original and Restored Vehicles.

Areas of Consulting include: Concours d’ Elegance strategies, (How to put on a successful Concours) museum design concepts, their form and function, and collector vehicle workshop and vehicle storage design.

John Carlson, 604-931-5948 PST

Allard J2, A beer can with cycle fenders powered by a V-8

John Carlson bought his Allard from the casino designer in Reno, who last raced it in 1970. The Allards were pure thoroughbred race cars. The company just welded them together and that was it.

From Thursday’s Globe and Mail

‘I just wanted one,” says British Columbia’s John Carlson — a hot-rod enthusiast, antique-car restoration expert and chief class judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance — explaining how he came to own the rare Allard J2 he cheerfully describes as looking like a beer can with cycle fenders.

Consummate car-guy Carlson was attracted by the idea these British racers were essentially custom-built, each example a little bit different, and that, thanks to their big American V-8s, they were brutally fast and just about as brutally primitive — both things that appealed to his old-school hot-rodder roots.

“Allard didn’t do anything to make the things aesthetically pleasing. They just welded them together and that was it. It was a pure thoroughbred race car.”

The J2 Allard was created for 1950 with an assault on the Le Mans 24-hour race in mind. Company founder Sydney Allard went on to finish third in an Allard that year in the French classic.

The Allards were built on a tube-braced frame with an independent front suspension contrived by splitting a solid front axle and pivoting the halves, with a sophisticated de Dion independent setup at the rear with inboard, aluminum finned drum brakes.

The engine in Carlson’s car (like most, it would have arrived in North America without one) is a 331-cubic-inch Cadillac unit, tuned to produce more than 300 hp. With an all-up weight of less than 2,000 lbs, they were, to quote a Brit magazine review, “rude, crude, and the fastest things on four wheels.”

Allard had its beginnings in the 1930s when enthusiast and car dealer Sydney Allard created a special, based on a Ford flathead V-8 and clad in second-hand Bugatti bodywork, intended for mud-plugging “trials” events. He built about a dozen cars, all Ford-powered, before the Second World War.

The Allard Motor Co. was created in 1946 and built the competition model J, the road-going two-seater K, four-seat L models and the drophead coupe M. A number of additional models ensued, including the tiny, three-wheeled and unsuccessful Clipper, before production ceased completely in 1959. Less than 2,000 Allards were produced in all.

Allard continued as a Ford dealership and producer of tuning bits and Ford Anglia-based competition cars used by Sydney and son Alan in international rallying. It continues in the performance parts business today.

Carlson’s 1950 example was launched into an arduous and action-packed life — providing more than its share of the thunder and excitement that launched road racing on the American West Coast, in the hands of Allard importer Alan Moss.

It was the winner of the first unlimited class race in the Pebble Beach Road Races on the Monterey Peninsula in 1950.


The rakish J2 (and in 1952, the J2X) — powered by large, powerful and, above all, familiar V-8 engines — proved popular with Americans getting involved in the “new” sport of automobile road racing. And they were raced by the likes of Carroll Shelby and Masten Gregory, as well as Zora Arkus-Duntov (of Corvette fame).

But they were available for only the brief period between 1950 and 1953. Most were sold by Moss’s Moss Motors (which still exists today as a purveyor of import auto parts) on the west coast and an east coast distributor. Between them, they might have sold about 30.

First owner Moss sold the car in 1953 after rolling it nine times, severely injuring himself and seriously reducing his enthusiasm for racing in the process. But the Allard soldiered on in other hands, including those of Frank Sinatra’s brother Ray.

It was last raced about 1970 by the casino designer in Reno, from whom Carlson bought it at the end of that decade, little knowing he’d just purchased an important piece of American auto racing history.

Carlson was born in Spokane, Wash., but now lives in Belcarra, B.C. He came to Canada in the late 1960s, after serving with the U.S. Coast Guard, to work for the B.C. department of education to create an auto mechanics and antique automobile restoration program for the high school system.

“It was a fantastic job. I ended up teaching antique auto restoration for 30 years. Retiring from that [in 2000] was a very difficult decision,” he says.

His lifetime involvement with the automobile began in 1954 as a car-crazy 14-year old eagerly anticipating his 16th birthday and his driver’s licence.

Parked in a neighbourhood widow’s garage on four flat tires was a 1936 Plymouth and one day he asked her if he could buy it. “She said, ‘Sure.’ I said, ‘How much do you want?’ And she, in her wisdom, said, ‘How much do you have?’ I told her $12. She said that was what she wanted.”

The Plymouth, which proved to be mint with only 10,000 original miles on it, was soon turned into a hot-rod and Carlson remained exclusively interested in hot-rods for some time afterwards.

“In those days collector cars were just not a big deal,” he says, although that soon changed.

Carlson drove a 1952 Oldsmobile hot-rod to work after his arrival in Canada, but by 1970 had became fully involved in antique-car restoration. “I still have a great affinity for hot-rods, but an equal love and passion for restored-to-original cars,” he says.

The extensive knowledge acquired over the years has led to his becoming, among other things, a Chief Judge at Pebble Beach and president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Antique Automobile Clubs of Canada Corp.

Carlson’s collection reflects his background, an eclectic mix that includes an original unrestored ’32 Ford Three Window Coupe, ’29 Model A Ford (his first major restoration), ’68 Camaro SS, ’47 Cadillac convertible, ’70 Buick 225 Electra, ’62 MGA, a currently-under-construction ’32 Ford roadster hot-rod and, of course, the J2 Allard whose restoration he completed in 1989.

Allards were never sold here, but there is now a Canadian connection. You can buy a brand-new J2X Mk 11 from Allard Motor Works, which is located in Montreal and operated by Roger Allard, who is no relation to the original car-making Allards.