Irish Motor Vehicles – A Little Bit of History
We know that St Patrick’s Day is more associated with drinking than driving but we thought it would be interesting to have a look at Irish Motor history. Ireland is famous for lots of things but car manufacturing doesn’t jump out as one of these, but even so there are still some cars that hail from the Emerald Isle.
Yes, the iconic car made famous for its time-travelling adventures in Back to the Future was manufactured in Co. Antrim in the 1970s.
John DeLorean an American engineer set up the DeLorean Motor Company in 1975 to build his own dream car, he wanted it to be ‘fun to drive, safe to operate and long-lasting’. The proto-type was designed by Giorgetto Giugaro; Renault provided the engine and Lotus Cars the frame and suspension. Key features were its futuristic gull-wing doors and unpainted stainless steel for the bodywork.
Unfortunately they only produced 8,500 cars before production was stopped in 1982. However if you’ve still got one the price tag has gone up considerably!
The Aylesbury exhibited at the Dublin motor show in 1907 and was built by the Aylesbury brothers. The body was constructed entirely from Irish Wood and had solid rubber tyres. It was only manufactured until 1908 and wasn’t a great success.
A lightweight sports car built by Thompson Motor Company in Co. Wexford in the 1980s. The car was designed to rival Caterham Super Seven and the Westfield , both of which derived from the original Lotus 7.
Cars had a standard Ford Kent engine with a maximum speed of just over 100mph although customers could choose to upgrade to a Ford CVH with a top speed of 120mph.
In 1987 TMC went bankrupt ending just 4 years of production having produced only 39 cars.
In the late 1950s William K Curtis and James F Conway produced the Shamrock, a car designed to be a large, luxury motor to appeal to the US market.
There were however some key design flaws that meant that production was short-lived. The car was big and heavy but used a small Austin A55 1.5 litre engine which limited performance and gave it a top speed on 90mph and 0-60 in 19.7 seconds. It also had a fibreglass body that shrouded the rear wheels making changing the tyres impossible without removing the axle first.
They planned to build up to 10,000 cars but only 10 were ever made and there are just 8 survivors, 5 in Ireland and 3 in the USA making it quite the collectable!
This bubble car was designed by German aircraft manufacturers Heinkel Flugseugwerke and was produced in Ireland for a short time in 1958.
This 3-wheeler looks pure retro, its drivers had the luxury of a reverse gear but the only way to enter the vehicle was through a single door at the front of the car.
Fintos Electric Cars
Fintos are building the Spika formerly Alex Eroadster in Ireland this year. It is Ireland’s first fully electric car and the design has been drawn up by Mike Keane former Head of Engineering, UK at Williams F1.
You can find out more about this in their video
Irish Motor history is certainly interesting and varied!
If you would like us to help with your next new vehicle then get in touch, we’d love to hear from you