Irish-designed cars aren’t common, but they tend to be unique, writes William Martin
While a good number of cars from many manufacturers have been built in Ireland, the number of cars uniquely produced in Ireland isn’t big.
The most famous one is, of course, the DeLorean, but the Irish have also given us, in quite small numbers, the Shamrock and the TMC Costin.
The Alesbury, Co. Offaly
The Alesbury Brothers produced this light automobile in Edenderry, using an 8/10hp two-cylinder engine from Massachusetts-based Stevens-Duryea. Aside from the engine and the gearbox, the entire car was designed and built in Ireland.
At the 1907 Dublin Motor Show, Alesbury Brothers exhibited its four-seater automobile, which was constructed entirely of Irish wood and had solid rubber tyres. It was powered by an 8/10hp two-cylinder Stevens Engine, and except for the engine and gear box was wholly constructed at the Edenderry Works factory in Edenderry, County Offaly. Just nine Alesbury automobiles were ever made.
Silver Stream, Co. Kildare
The Silver Stream was built from 1907 to 1909 in Kilcullen, County Kildare and was the brainchild of Irish railway engineer, Philip Somerville Large. He designed the body himself and it had a modified MAB chassis – manufactured by Malicet et Blin – with a Gnome six-cylinder 3,065cc engine.
The story of the Silver Stream is another one of those “might-have-beens” that litter Irish Motoring History. It began when an Irish railway engineer, Philip Somerville Large, retired to his native Kilcullen in 1906 from a post in India with the Indian State Railway, and formed a company to manufacture a large quality car which he named the Silver Stream.
In Ireland, Somerville Large had purchased a 16/24 hp De Dietrich car to which he soon began to want to carry out improvements. Instead of doing so, he decided to build his own car, and began to search for suitable manufactured components with which to form the basis of his design. His attention to detail was outstanding and he was particularly intent on his design being suitable for Irish road conditions. A modified MAB chassis -manufactured by Malicet et Blin – was finally selected and fitted with a Gnome six-cylinder engine of 3,065 cc.
Continue reading in this year’s Ireland’s Own St Patrick’s Day Annual