Considering their love of beer, it’s probably lucky the Irish haven’t played a big role in the evolution of the car. They do, however, have a few that are well-known, and we thought we’d share a few of those in honor of St Patrick’s Day.
1. Alfa Romeo Guilietta QV – It’s about as Irish as a pub with no beer, but Italian sportscar maker Alfa Romeo has long used the four-leafed clover as a symbol of extra sportiness on its Quadrofoglio Verde branded family cars. Alfa Romeo is said to have adopted the cloverleaf symbol after racing driver Ugo Sivocci – who went by the nickname “eternally second” – had a four-leaf clover painted on his bright red racer in 1923. Then he started winning. The latest cloverleaf model is the Guilietta QV hot hatch, which features a 1.7-litre turbo charged four-cylinder that produces 173kW and can rocket to 100km/h in less than seven seconds – slightly slower than Seamus’ ability to down a pint of Guinness.
2. Delorean DMC-12 – It’s most famous for its starring role in Steven Spielberg’s Back To The Future trilogy, but before the Delorean DMC-12 (to give it its full name) became one of Hollywood’s most recognisable cars its biggest claim to fame is that it is one of the only three cars ever to be built in Ireland. That, and the dramatic rise and fall of the company behind it. The car was the brainchild of former General Motors executive John Delorean, who after a number of stalled attempts to generate the funds to kickstart his own car company eventually used a 100 million pound grant from the Northern Ireland Development Fund to build the Delorean factory in Belfast. After a series of long delays, production commenced in late 1981 and about 9000 cars were built before the company went bankrupt after Delorean was arrested for drug trafficking. He was later acquitted, but his dream car was washed up.
3. Shamrock – Like the Delorean, Ireland’s own Shamrock was a bit of a shambles. The company was established by an American duo, James F Conway and William K Curtis, in county Kerry in the late 1950s with the aim to produce a large luxury car to export to the United States. The car was styled similar to the popular large American models of the time, but was powered by a wheezy 1.5-litre four-cylinder from the Austin A55 which didn’t endow it with the kind of performance US customers demanded. Only 10 cars were built before the company went belly up. All the unused parts were reportedly dumped in a nearby lake when the factory officially closed.
4. TMC-Costin – Anyone would think that a qualified aerodynamicist and race car designer would come up with something prettier than this. But no, the TMC-Costin is the last car ever to be built in Ireland. It was designed by Frank Costin, who founded the British kit car company Marcos and worked with Lotus’ and Maserati’s racing teams before setting up his own company in Wexford. While the TMC-Costin was quite successful in club-level motor racing in Great Britain, only 39 were made before the company, like Delorean and Shamrock before it, went bankrupt in 1987.
5. And in the spirit of the holiday… Beer-powered cars – Considering the Irish don’t mind a tipple – or 10 – there’s bound to be plenty of bi-product from the production of its beer. And that waste product could be used to create ethanol to fuel its fleet of cars.
Beach Auto Brokers has been in business since 1985, Driven by excellence and proudly serving the Hampton Roads community for over 25 years. The Beach Auto Brokers full inventory of vehicles is available for you to look at, test drive, and ask questions about. And our knowledgeable staff is ready to help you. And while you’re here, we’ll take a look at your current vehicle and tell you what its worth – on the retail market and the trade-in value.