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Allen Coachworks; Eagle-Allen
Allen Coachworks, Eagle-Allen; 1952-1989;  Nueva Laredo, Mexico
Associated Builders
AJR Coachworks ; LCW Automotive

Carlos Allen came into the business independently of the U.S. limousine activity during the 1960s. He said, "I have been a coachbuilder since 1952. At first... I built sports cars. Then I got tired of making cars smaller and faster, so I decided instead to make them longer and more elegant." 

Born in Mexico to an American father and a Spanish mother, Allen grew up with dreams of becoming a clas­sical guitarist and a race car driver. Allen ended up with a variant of his ambitions but one in which he found great satisfaction: he applied artistry to cars. In the early 1950s, he toured European coachbuilders and was struck by the flair and tradition of the Old World craftsmen. He returned to Mexico and put that experi­ence to work on small platforms, such as MG, Volkswagen, and Austin, which he converted to race cars with lightweight aluminum and fiberglass bodies.

Allen built his first stretch limousine in 1966, which he designed on a napkin in a restaurant with friends. "Let's make cars for the rich," he told them, "not the crazy." Allen turned to his friend, Lincoln dealer Bob Eagle, who ordered 50 limousines to sell through his dealer­ship, one of the largest in the country. Allen was hence­forth known for the beautiful and elaborate interior limousines. Allen came as close as any to the crafts­manship of the 1920s Custom Era. "His lifelong ambi­tion was to be an official Rolls-Royce coachbuilder," says John Patti of his friend. "Just like Mulliner or Hooper." Allen's associate and fellow coachbuilder, Ken Boyar, concurs: "He was one of the world's finest coachbuilders. "

Allen was an extremely playful builder as well. He toyed with a stretch Volkswagen Bug and built on almost any platform-from Ford to Mercedes to Rolls-Royce. He was unafraid of some of the more difficult tasks of limousine building, such as oversized doors and raised roofs. His fame, however, was earned with the interior work of his cars. "Anybody can stretch a car that’s only 12 percent of the job. The other 88 percent is the fine finish," he said. Allen sold Allen Coachworks in 1989 but was back at work with a new firm in 1993, AJR Coachworks, where he worked until his death the following year.

Eagle-Allen S.A. of Mexico was an unlikely home to one of the greatest names in modern coach building. Carlos Allen started out building sports cars. When he decided to "make cars for the rich, not the crazy, " his talents went fully to the creation of stupendous limousines. Eagle-Allen is now called LCW and is located in San Antonio, Texas and Nueva Laredo, Mexico.

© 2004 LCW Automotive, Laredo, Texas






George W. Green - Special-Use Vehicles: An Illustrated History of Unconventional Cars and Trucks

The Professional Car (Quarterly Journal of the Professional Car Society)

Michael L. Bromley & Tom Mazza - Stretching It: The Story of the Limousine

Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

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