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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.
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.
Details of the advertisement are as follows:
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org