Most modern celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day consist of daylong consumption of corned beef, cabbage, and green beer. But Ireland, and St. Patrick himself, gave the world more than just a reason to dye a river green. Not exactly known for their automotive achievements globally, Irish cars — past and present — have made some iconic contributions to the auto industry that are widely recognizable and quite notable. Not to mention that Henry Ford was the son of an Irish immigrant. For St. Patrick’s Day, let’s examine five unique Irish automotive accomplishments.
Made famous by the acclaimed movie Back to the Future, the DeLorean DMC-12 is Ireland’s most famous export vehicle. Production began on the futuristic car in 1981 in Northern Ireland. Approximately 9,000 DMC-12s were made until production was halted in 1983. The car’s body is made from the same brushed stainless steel you might see in a restaurant kitchen. It also got its name because it was originally supposed to sell for the cool price of $12k.
Despite all these fun facts, here’s a funner fact: American Express® figured the DMC-12 to be a huge hit and decided on doing a promotion in which gold members would drive 24k gold-plated DeLoreons. They made two of them and they live in museums today. Despite its bumpy history, the DeLorean has endured and still makes news today. In fact, with locations in five U.S. cities, it looks like the DeLorean is making a comeback…you might say, to the future!
The Crosslé Car Company was established in 1957 in Holywood, Northern Ireland. Crosslé is a racing car manufacturer that is the world’s longest established specialist in racing car construction. Drivers of Crosslé cars frequently won racing championships. Not to mention, producing cars for various champions throughout the ‘70s. The design is specifically made for single-seat, open-wheel formula racing. And with a design so unique, Crosslé is always winning. The founder, John Crosslé passed away in 2014 at age 82 but had sold the company in 1997 and is currently run by Paul McMorran.
The Shamrock was a four-passenger sports convertible that began production in 1959 and was nicknamed the “Irish T-Bird.” The body panels were made of fiberglass and the creator, William Curtis, aimed at making a vehicle to “…help the country and its people” by resembling the modern design of cars at the time, but selling for half the price. Although production never reached its goal, this car has an amazing look to it and a unique history. It’s said that eight Shamrocks are still lucky enough to be on the streets today. So seeing one is almost like seeing a four-leaf clover!
In 1907, the Alesbury made its debut with 10 horses under the hood and rode on solid tires. Despite its short lifespan (operations ceased in 1908), the Alesbury was a significant development in the automotive industry.
Alex Eroadster Electric Car
From the earliest design of the Alesbury to the latest design of Tom Finnegan and Swift Composite Prototype’s electric car set to be released in mid-2018. Giving a double meaning to the term “green car,” the Alex Eroadster sporty, futuristic, and should get you about 250 miles between charges using a lithium-ion battery. And to link this list even more, it will feature doors similar to that of the DeLorean that flip up as you hop in with keyless entry. The Alex Eroadster will also hit 60mph in under five seconds. With careful development to satisfy the electric car driver in you, this lightweight two-seater will continue to change the automotive game as more and more cars venture into going “green.”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!