The modern limousine industry lost one of its founding members on January 1, 1994 when Carlos Perry Allen died of a heart attack following a stroke. Allen stretched his first limousine in 1966 in Mexico City and went on to build hundreds of limousines under the names Eagle/Allen Coachbuilders and Allen Coachworks as well as for a number of other distributors. He is widely remembered as an energetic and light-hearted person who loved people as much as he loved custom automobiles.
“I have been a coachbuilder since 1952,” Allen told Limousine & Chauffeur several years ago. “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.”
Allen’s limousines were known for beautifully inlaid wood trim as well as innovative features such as raised roofs, rain gutters, and extended passenger doors. “Anybody can stretch a car, that’s only 12 percent of the job,” said Allen. “The other 88 percent is the fine finish.”
Allen admired the finish of European luxury cars and visited manufacturers in England, France, and Spain to study production processes.
In 1975, Allen met Ainsley Dencker and formed Bradford Coachworks to distribute limousines in the eastern United States. When Bradford faded, Allen launched Allen Coachworks which also succumbed to a declining demand for limousines in the late 1980s.
Drawn back to the limousine industry by his love for designing and building luxury vehicles, Allen formed a new company, AJR Coachworks, in late 1993 and was preparing to exhibit a limousine at the past month’s Limousine & Chauffeur Show when he died. True to his word, Allen once told L&C, “Coachbuilding is all I’ve ever done, and I plan to keep doing it until I’m pushing up daisies.”