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An English car enthusiast made a play for Eamon de Valera's Rolls Royce in 1985

Ten years after his death Ireland still wasn’t at all sure what was to be done with Dev’s classic car.

rolls royce The Rolls Royce, with trademark number plate reading ZJ 5000, carrying De Valera to the funeral of former president Erskine Childers in 1974 Source: Youtube

EAMON DE VALERA built up an interesting relationship with his car while President of Ireland between 1959 and 1973, and by extension the state built up a relationship with the machine too.

The 1947 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith landaulette eventually became the official state car of the President after its inception that same year.

A car with large dimensions, the roomy nature of the vehicle became invaluable to de Valera as he became progressively incapacitated (and almost totally blind) towards the end of his presidency.

Dev's_car The Rolls Royce, on display at Aras an Uachtarán Source: Wikimedia Commons

De Valera died in August 1975 and the car which had come to be associated with him more than any other went into storage.

Ten years passed and the issue of what was to be done with the vehicle remained unresolved, although it was given something of a refurbishment on the cheap in 1978.

Vultures were circling.

20151204_143513 Source: National Archives 2015/88/613

Click here to view a larger image

In June 1985 one Andrew M Pastouna, a classic car enthusiast who had written a feature on the car for the magazine Classic & Sportscar with the government’s assistance, made it clear that “should you dispose of the car instead of putting it into an automobile museum in the Republic, I would be very interested”.

classic Classic & Sportscar magazine, August 1985 Source: Ebay

The sale never came to pass, Mr Pastouna has since passed on, and the Rolls Royce is still the official state car of the President, although these days Michael D Higgins prefers the use of a classic Mercedes.

Read: Garret FitzGerald really, really did not like Sinn Féin in 1985

Read: Irish people really didn’t like paying for their tv licence 30 years ago

See National Archives File 2015/88/613

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