Raymond Saidel(in Civil Air Patrol Uniform) and his
Allard J2X Lemans serial # J-3201. August 4th 1953, Ray had contacted Sydney Allard because of an Oldmobile engine that had
been on display in the showroom all year and he wondered how best to use it. Allards invoice back indicates that the J2X cost
$2769.76 including "Olds modification kit, 5 wire wheels (extra), Full Size windscreen, and top, and an Oil temp gauge, and
shipped to the US. The J2X became Rays road car, until a friend (John Necashin) suggest that Ray travel to Conneticut one
Sunday and watch some people racing. By the October 6th, 1954 Ray had his SCCA liscense and by the end of the month he was
chasing Walt Hansgens "C" Jaguar Special around Thompson raceway.
In this picture Norman Leeds (Left) is assisting
Lou Turner with a stringer. Ray, Norm and Lou were the crux of the Jomar team. Long hours and late nights upstairs (above
the Oldsmobile Showroom) were more often than not. Ray actually had a cot so as to sleep over in some cases. They are working
on the 1st of the MK I's which was fashioned with a roll over bar, where as the 2nd MK I did not have this feature. In the
backround is Rays Allard J2X Lemans with a special bonnet built by the team to try and keep the nose of the Allard from floating
at higher speeds.
Above is a picture taken on October 31st 1954 during
race #5 of the CNESCC at Thompson Raceway, Conn. In the foreground is Ray in the Allard chasing Phil Cades Maserati, and Walt
Hansgens "C" Jag Special. Trailing behind Ray is #13 Jackie Coopers Modified Healey and several modified Jaguars. Ray went
on to finish 2nd, and then raced the Allard during the winter on the frozen lake at Franconia NH. The 1955 season would see
Ray clean house and finish as "C" Modified Champion.
This picture shows Ray Saidel(Left), Lou Turner(Center),
and Norman Leeds(Right) hand hammering their first Jomar MK I body.
The above picture is of Ray Saidel and the Allard
at a Franconia New Hampshire snow race during the winter of 1954/1955. Soon after the full windscreen and luggage rack were
removed for a perspex and roll bar with head fairing. During the season, Ray tried to find ways of improving on the Allards
handling. The crew built a new aluminum bonnet with a downward rake to try and apply downward force on the front end. The
Allard front would float at extremely high speeds.
Louis Turner sits in the 1st Jomar MK I Jomar in
the Paddock at Thompson Raceway 1956.
Rays Allard with the bonnet open exposing the dual 4 barrel carbs. These would later be replaced breifly with
a Hilborn Fuel Injection system that was too tempermental to be used and the dual carbs were reinstalled. Cumberland was Rays
first SCCA National event and according to Sports Cars Illustrated: "The start saw the three Allards pull into the lead, with
Saidel leading through the esses, building up a commanding margin down the first short straight, then revolving at the hard
right turn to let Burtner and Naughton into the lead." As Ray later said "if I'd have just slowed down we'd have won the race",
however Ray pushed hard and spun a couple more times. With a cool head he realized that it might be better to retire than
continue to push it considering this was his first national Event and SCCA was watching.
The MK I Jomars were indestructable, although their handling still left a lot to be desired. Cable brakes,
and solid front and rear axles could only corner so fast. Often after a race, someone would approach Ray and and tell him
that the inside rear wheel of the Jomar was lifting 6" or more off of the ground in the corners.
During the 1956 season
the Jomars scored well but often chased Len Bastrups Lotus as well as others. Ray found an advertisment for a "Race Proven"
chassis in "MOTOR" magazine and sent a letter to TVR Engineering.
Rays J2X Lemans on the Grid at Cumberland May 15th, 1955. By the middle of the season Ray decided that he
could build a better handling race car himself and set out to do so. He ordered 2 Dellow Mk V chassis (Eng#168602 chassis#410M555
Nov 1955 Painted Black, and eng#187496 chassis#413B565 April 5, 1956, painted silver) began to build alluminum bodies for
them. These were designated Jomar MK I.s. The picute below was taken at Thompson raceway, Conn during the 1956 season and
shows both Jomar MK I's. These cars were equipped with 1172 flat head 4cyl english Ford engines coupled with 3 speed non-synchromesh
gearboxes. Ray held the Thompson 1 hr Course Record for G Modified (750-1300cc) in 1956. This was in part due to the fact
that Ray had instructed his crew "not to touch the car" after Saturdays practise as "the car was perfect". Unfortunately,
the next day on the track Ray soon realized that the cable brakes had strecthed during Saturdays practise and were almost
useless for Sundays race.
This is the first TVR chassis (7C101) before shipment to Raymond Saidel in the USA. This was the only chassis
to be sent with magnesium brake hubs and bolt on VW style rims. The chassis was fitted with an 1100cc Coventry Climax 4 cyl
engine mated to a MG TC gearbox. The fully independent front and rear suspension is what really appealed to Ray. The aluminum
Coventry Climax engine engine was also a huge improvement over the 1172 flat head Ford.
The 1st Mk II Jomar was
quickly bodied and ready for testing by August 1956. Unfortunately, these new "race proven chassis" soon had bad suspension
failures and caused Ray to put the project on hold until they could sort out the issues. Eventually, Ray figured out that
the bottom torsion bar also needed to have a central lock bolt similar to the top. Without this even the smallest side load
created by where at either end of the bottom torsion tube would snap king pins. Once the top and bottom torson bars were both
locked the problems ceased, and racing success's continued to mount