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Vintage Friday: The Unknown Irish Car


Wishing you all a Happy St. Paddy's Day Weekend! To celebrate I wanted to write about Irish autos but I didn't know of any. So, like I always do I researched some and obsessed a lot. This is what I found: Shamrock Motors LTD! True story- The 1959 Shamrock named after the green Irish flower. And to sweeten the deal it was a convertible! Go Irish! The problem with this ill-fated car was to quote it's American critics, "Looked like a small car wearing a big American car costume." It was clear that the Shamrock was designed by Alvin 'Spike' Rhiando ( a presumed Italian or Brit, his true nationality was undetermined) with great aspirations to create a fun car for the American market. The trouble came about when proportions of this car were so off that it was said to look "more like a parade float than a car". It sported the Austin A 55 engine on a fiber glass body but it weighted too much. It was huge! To put it into perspective, it'd be like putting a '55 Chevy Bel Air body on a VW Bug! Other problems included bad press and financial issues ultimately putting the breaks on this Irish venture, which by the way, was funded by US businessmen. Despite, the Shamrock wilting away in the harsh cold reality of the auto industry, it's nice to know that there was a least a venture into the unknown. Too bad Shamrock Motors LTD faded away so soon.

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