DTO: St Irenaeus Day Special: 1960 Shamrock
Every year around St Patrick’s Day, we start scouring the web for odd ball cars from the Emerald Isle, but are always end up with a collection of DeLoreans and other assorted junk to feature. There are certain oddball rare Irish built cars that just aren’t for sale on a regular basis, like the Shamrock, of which a total of 10 vehicles were produced and 8 are accounted for today. So, it isn’t St Patrick’s Day, but it is the feast of St Irenaeus (a peacemaker and keeper of arcane knowledge) so lets go with that. Find this 1960 Shamrock offered for $34,900 from Memory Lane Motors, located in Renton, WA. Tip from JB1025.
St Irenaeus was one of the early Church Fathers, who was remarkable for his use of scripture (notably the four gospels) to refute the heretical teachings of a group of Gnostics who claimed to have handed down verbal secret oral teachings from Jesus — but otherwise little is known about Irenaeus’ early years and death. Anyway, that was a really long time ago and not at all relevant to this Shamrock except that today is St Irenaeus’ feast day and the Shamrock is also a little known car shrouded in the blinding veil of time’s passage.
The few things we know for certain about the Shamrock is that it was the brainchild of a James F. Conway and William K Curtis, one or both of whom may have been American (sources and information vary). What is clear is that the Shamrock was designed to be an inexpensive alternative to the Ford Thunderbird and used a fiberglass body with ladder frame. They were assembled in a small factory in Ireland and used Austin A55 engines, transmissions and suspension.
The 1.5 liter B-series Austin engine was completely worthless at the task of pushing a large personal luxury car around and its 50 horsepower was no match for any of the V8s or inline-6s used in big American luxury cars of the era. Performance can be best described as “wait a minute…we’ll get there eventually”
The interior of this Shamrock looks in nice condition, and is either indicative of a car that has been treated like a museum piece over the years or has been recondition at someone’s considerable expense. Many of the components are borrowed from the Austin or Morris parts bin, but all of the body/dash panels are unique one-off stuff.
The Shamrock won’t be an exhilarating ride, but for $35k you won’t find anything that is more rare or exclusive. If you do, send us a link — firstname.lastname@example.org
An Irish car. Who knew?
There were a few Irish made cars. Most were locally manufactured versions of popular brands e.g. in a nod to his grandparents being from Cork in Ireland, Henry Ford setup a shop there. There was also this successful competitor to the Lotus 7, the TMC Costin. As befits the tiny size of the nation, the volumes tended to be very low… Dunlop started in Ireland.
All things considered, not a bad effort at all. Styling seems very 'up to date', even if a little clonky, the interior is well finished, and the mechanicals, well, they were cheap and available. On an even more positive note, I can scarcely believe the car will have any problems with needing to follow the white markers on the road.