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James Hehir retires from the motor industry after almost fifty years.

Half century for James Hehir

A legend in Clare motoring circles is calling it a day this Friday. James Hehir, who started his career in the motor industry almost fifty years ago, will sell his last car this week at Sheils Motor Group, main Ford and Honda dealers on the Gort Road, Ennis. In a neat twist to the story, James’ career began at Sheils in 1971 where he started off straight away in car sales. At the time, the showroom and garage were located in the centre of Ennis, by the river near the CBS. There were only a few car showrooms in Ennis at the time with James recalling just Volkswagen and Morris. Ford, especially in the 1970s were seen almost as an Irish car company with their plant in Cork, the first to be built outside the US in 1917. That loyalty was repaid in car sales with Ford the undisputed number one. The big seller was the Escort, a revolutionary car …

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The Ford Mondeo is the Continental Irish Car of the Year 2016

Ford Mondeo is Continental Irish Car of the Year 2016

The Ford Mondeo has been voted Continental Irish Car of the Year 2016 by the Irish Motoring Writers’ Association. The announcement of the 39th Irish Car of the Year Award was made at an awards ceremony in Dublin today. The winning car was revealed by Rosemary Smith, to mark the 50th anniversary of her victory in the Tulip Rally in April 1965. She is the only woman to have won the rally. The overall results, with weighted scores, were as follows: 1. Ford Mondeo 148 points 2. Volvo XC90 147 points 3. Mercedes Benz GLE 144 points 4. Kia Sorento 144 points 5. Skoda Superb 140 points The Irish Motoring Writers’ Association judges awarded points on the basis of criteria ranging from design, comfort, safety, economy, handling and performance as well as driver satisfaction, value for money and technical innovation, with a maximum of 20 points under each heading. John Galvin, Chairman of the Irish Motoring Writers’ Association, commented: “The …

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Car sales in Clare are well up on last year.

New car sales in Clare up 35% on last year

FIGURES  just released by the SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry) show that so far this year, new car sales in Clare are up by 35%. Nationally, sales are up 28%. The confidence evident in January has continued into February with a 21% increase in car sales. The light commercial vehicle market, which is a good sign of activity in the SME sector, saw an increase in sales of 41% in February with sales of Heavy Goods Vehicles, often a barometer of activity in the wider Economy, seeing a 68% increase. Alan Nolan, SIMI Director General commented “The Motor Industry is often the first to be affected when there’s a downturn and one of the first to come back when the economy improves. Dealers are undoubtedly seeing a lot more confidence among consumers, many of whom have been putting off making large purchases over the last few years. Feedback from dealers confirms that footfall and sales enquiries are holding …

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The gorgeous E-Type with St Michael's Mount in the background.

To St Ives in an E-Type

It’s easy to forget that you don’t have to travel far for a great holiday. We’ve all been so spoiled by cheap flights that we seem to have abandoned the option of hopping on a ferry and visiting our nearest neighbours. Last year, my wife and I decided to try a holiday in Devon and Cornwall, mainly because of my fond memories of the area from a childhood trip in the mid 70s. At the same time, we were marking our 20th wedding anniversary and Shelly came up with the bright idea for my anniversary present of renting a vintage car for a few days while we were over there. I was definitely game for that and quickly decided that nothing short of an E-Type Jaguar convertible would do.   The problems began when I tried to find one for hire. It was easy enough to find cars, but none of them were near Cornwall. I got a lead on …

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