1947 Dodge D24 custom 4-door limousine car, once owned by Eamon de Valera, registration number ZH 1333.
1947 Dodge Car D24, 4-door once owned by Eamon de Valera and prior to that, Sean T O’ Ceallaigh, registration number ZH 1333. 1947 Dodge specifications: Powered by a 230 cid; Chrysler flathead six-cylinder engine; Engine capacity 3,772 cc; 25.23 horse power; Power: 102 bhp/3.600 rpm; Top speed of almost 100km/h (62mph) although originally said to 129 km/h (80 mph); A three-speed manual transmission with Chrysler “Fluid Drive”; 16km (10 miles) to the gallon; Range 401 km/249 miles; Fuel tank capacity 64 liter/14.1 gal; RWD (rear-wheel drive); Side-hinged hood; Can seat eight people plus the driver; Dimensions: weighs 2 tons, 137.5 inch (3492.5 mm) wheelbase, 226 in long, 75in wide, 66in high. At two-ton and eight passenger capacity, this car was a favourite of two Irish presidents who liked to take the wheel regularly. The 1947 Dodge D24 limousine was originally coloured ‘military maroon’ (Chrysler) and purchased new as the personal car of the then Irish President Sean T. Ó’Ceallaigh. It was acquired by another famous Irish political figure Eamon de Valera who later became President. While both did their formal events in the Presidential Rolls Royce, on their days off UK built cars where not their choice. Both had done numerous visits to the US and seemed to be impressed by the big-bumpered autos from Motown. A product of American post-war plants, it was manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation Dodge Division in Detroit. The D24 went on sale in late 1946 and remained almost unchanged until the end of that decade. One of the reasons for the pre-war look of the D24 was because Chrysler was forbidden by the US government from working on new designs during the War period. These cars were a huge success at the time, and their production exceeded two million units between 1946 and 1948. Much sought after for its elegance and performance, buyers of the time most appreciated the comfort and durability, seeing it as a true family vehicle. That durability arose from what one source says was “the quality of body construction and materials used throughout was superior to that of competing GM and Ford models of the time”. As a result many of these cars were exported due to its good constructive qualities, with some winding their way to Ireland. In 1946 the retail price for the regular D24 started at $1,389. President Ó’Ceallaigh drove this top of the range Dodge limousine for 12 years, until his presidential term ended in 1959. That same year Eamon de Valera, himself a former head of government and legendary Irish political figure, purchased it for his own personal use and had it painted black. The de Valera car was the range-topping vehicle in the Dodge D24 series which was available in a number of different configurations, including this 4-door 8-passenger limousine. At 5.74 metres (226in) long and 1.9 metres (75in) wide this tear drop and torpedo in design Dodge was big and presidential. While the detail about this car says it has seating for eight people the Dodge was originally designed to accommodate only seven. The Chauffeur seat with partition window, foot rests and jump seats gave it the limousine touches. The Dodge was a familiar sight in the roads of Clare in the 1960s when President de Valera came to visit.
Collection: De Valera Museum