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Lucan's Motor Industry

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Those of you familiar with Treasures of Lucan will recall the piece on the Bubble Cars, at John Caldwell's Garage – now Topaz. Well here's some more information on the business.

A French car, the Panhard was also assembled in Lucan. It was put together in a shed at Crowe's Corner, on the old Celbridge/Leixlip Road junction near the Spa Hotel. The cars were later transferred to the garage in the village where they were put on display.

john caldwell

Mr. John Caldwell who was also a keen golfer, advertised his garage as 'open 24 hours', in Times Pictorial, May 1951.

Very little is known about the Panhard side of things, but by chance an advertisement from a 1961 issue of the Irish Independent, came my way courtesy of two gentlemen, Frank Capelli and Niall Murphy who have more than a little interest in the subject.

panhard 1961 advertisement

Details of the advertisement are as follows:
Front–wheel drive
Forced-air-cooled engine
Outright Winner Monte Carlo Rally, 1961.

Fulfil your wishes; own this compact car with today's most advanced engineering features, proven performance and unmatched economy.

Comfort of a large car (6 seats)
Economy of a small car (£13 Tax, over 40 m.p.g.)
Performance of a sports car (top speed 85)
Normal insurance rates

70 years of constant progress and 1000 victories are behind this front-wheel drive, full 6-seater saloon with its flat-twin, air-cooled engine that will maintain 80 m.p.h. indefinitely without effort. Hydraulic tappets, enormous boot, completely flat floor, excellent road-holding. £725.

bubble car

The Messerschmitt Bubble Car was also assembled at Lucan.

£725! It was a lot of money back then. The cars proved much too expensive and only 29 were sold in Ireland. Many will remember the cars lined up outside the old garage – some were 'odd' shades of blue and orange as I recall.

Any Photos out there? If anyone has a photo of John Caldwell’s garage (when it was a garage), we’d love to see it. Drop in to Lucan Newsletter or email:
Mary Mulhall