Cliff-Allison.png Full Name Henry Clifford ‘Cliff’ Allison
Nationality British
Born 8 February 1932, Brough (GBR)
Died 7 April 2005, Brough (GBR)
Website
Twitter
Instagram
First Grand Prix 1958 Monaco Grand Prix Last Grand Prix 1961 Monaco Grand Prix
Grands Prix 16 Non-starts 2 (1 DNQ, 1 DNS)
Wins 0 Podiums 1
Best Finish 2nd, 1960 Argentine Grand Prix Points 11
Fastest Laps 0 Best Qualifying 5/21, 1958 British Grand Prix
Retirements 6 Laps Led 0

Career Highlights

1958 Formula 1, Team Lotus Climax L4 12 / 16, 7 races, 3 points, 18th overall
Formula 1, Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati L6 250F, 1 race, 0 points
1959 Formula 1, Scuderia Ferrari Dino V6 156 / 246, 5 races, 2 points, 17th overall
1960 Formula 1, Scuderia Ferrari Dino V6 246, 2 entries, 1 DNQ, 1 podium, 6 points, 12th overall
1961 Formula 1, UDT-Laystall Lotus Climax L4 18, 2 entries, 1 race, 0 points, Not Classified

 

Cliff Allison, 1960 Argentine Grand Prix

Biography

Henry Clifford Allison was the son of a garage owner. He entered motorsport in 1952 with a little Formula 3 Cooper, and steadily improved in the championship, peaking with fourth overall in 1955, the same year he started racing works Lotus Eleven sports cars for Colin Chapman.

In 1958, he was tasked with leading Team Lotus’ move into Formula 1. He started with a pair of sixth places at Monaco and Zanvdoort before he claimed an excellent fourth place at Spa-Francorchamps. It was a strange race: while Allison managed to limp over the line with broken suspension sustained on the final lap, all three of the runners ahead of him were battling their own maladies – had the race gone on another lap, none would have seen the chequered flag!

Team Lotus introduced its new 16 chassis at the German Grand Prix, and Allison was in contention for the win until a holed radiator saw him drop to fifth.

His efforts were certainly not in vain, and it was at Mike Hawthorn’s recommendation that he was offered a works seat with Ferrari the following year – sadly, he would never get to be Hawthorn’s team-mate: the Englishman was killed just a few months after winning the World Championship.

Allison performed solidly for Ferrari in 1959, and in 1960 he started excellently with a win in the 1000Km sports car race at Argentina, along with second place in the country’s Grand Prix.

His season would be cut short at the next Grand Prix at Monaco. An accident in practice saw him thrown from the car and he was in a coma for sixteen days, having also suffered a badly broken arm. When he emerged from unconsciousness, he spoke fluent French – curiously, he’d never been able to speak a single word of it before!

He was out for the rest of the year, but he landed himself a drive with the UDT-Laystall team to drive one of their Lotus 18 challengers. He showed he’d lost none of his competitiveness at a host of non-championship races at the start of the year, and placed seventh at the Monaco Grand Prix on his championship return.

But his racing career came to a permanent end at Spa-Francorchamps. Needing to out-pace team-mate Henry Taylor in order to secure the car for the race, Allison crashed at Blanchimont and rolled his car in a field. He sustained broken knees and a fractured pelvis in the mess. After one crash too many, Allison opted to retire.

While it marked the end of his competitive racing career, he eventually returned to the sport via occasional paddock visits and the odd drive at historic events. He took over the running of his father’s garage business and also drove the local village’s school bus. He passed away in 2005, aged 73.

CLICK HERE to return to our driver profiles.

Share