Pembroke Kilkenny

Statham's Ford Special in good company!

The Irish Veteran and Vintage Car Club (IVVCC) Spring Event for pre-1939 cars takes place this coming weekend, Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th May. We are delighted to say that this run is now known as the Statham’s Pre-War Run. The 1930’s was a very special era in Irish motor racing. The three successful Irish International Grand Prix held in Dublin’s Phoenix Park between 1929 and 1931 encouraged many enthusiasts to become involved and led to races being held on street and road circuits throughout Ireland.

For those that could not afford a purpose-built racing car, there was an alternative – designing and building your own ‘Special’. This was a very popular route into motor racing for Irish enthusiasts and these ‘Specials’ were often of a very high standard and very competitive.

One of the most famous Specials was the Statham-Ford Special built in the garage of the same name. The hotel now stands on this site and we have named our Bar & Restaurant in their honour. Driven initially by it’s designer and builder, George Statham, the car was driven to several notable successes by MJ Hynes, who took over driving duties in 1930.

Powered by a Ford V-8 engine it had such a notable success at the 1934 Phoenix Park Senior Race that it won outright in a new record time. But it’s greatest success came in the 1935 Limerick Grand Prix, a street race that attracted some of the world’s best drivers. There it placed 7th overall against some of the finest purpose-built racing cars of the day built by such legendary names as ERA, MG and Bugatti.

Today, the Statham’s Ford Special gets a lot of love and, having brought back to it’s original condition, is back home at the hotel where it is on display. It’s spent the last two weeks being tuned up and shined up for the IVVCC Event by local mechanic, Alan Bull.

The Statham’s Pre-War Run will leave Kildare on Saturday afternoon and drive to Kilkenny, followed by a jaunt around Kilkenny county’s scenic routes on Sunday. Check back for photos from the event!