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Chambers Motors was the first automobile manufacturer in Ireland. The company built vehicles by hand featuring high-quality components designed and fabricated in-house. Passenger cars were made to suit doctors and wealthy businessmen, and commercial vehicles were produced for duty as delivery vans, ambulances, and hearses. A key feature of the vehicles was a unique design of epicyclic gearbox in the rear axle. Chambers Motors employed around 75 people and built approximately 500 vehicles in 25 years of operation.



The founder, Jack Chambers, had earlier designed and constructed the first Vauxhall car in 1902-3 while Managing Director of the Vauxhall Iron Works, London. After resigning in January 1904 he filed a master patent in May 1904 for a Chambers car featuring coil springs and a twin cylinder transverse engine with chain drive.


Production was undertaken in Cuba Street, Belfast in association with Jack's brothers Robert and Charlie who had been operating as millwrights from 1897. Their main product was an automatic bottle-wiring machine to fasten the corks of mineral-water bottles at the rate of 1200 per hour. During the First World War the company produced ambulances (for the Ulster division), munitions (such as shell cases and percussion caps for hand grenades), and aircraft components (for Avro 504 biplanes).


Business became less profitable in the face of competition from mass-produced cars. The operation was voluntarily wound up in 1929. Only four Chambers cars are known to exist today, including an 8 hp model from 1908 [1] displayed in the newly-refurbished Ulster Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Specifications of Chambers cars

Chambers cars competed in many hill-climb, reliability, and time trials. In the Irish Reliability Trial of 1906 during non-stop runs an average petrol consumption of 43 miles to the gallon was achieved.

Model Years Cylinders Engine orientation Bore Stroke Wheelbase Track Feature
7 hp 1904-1905 Two Horizontal 3 1/8 in 4 1/4 in 6 ft 6 in 4 ft
8 hp 1905-1909 Two Horizontal 3 1/8 in 4 1/4 in 6 ft 6 in 4 ft
10 hp 1906-1909 Two Horizontal 3 3/4 in 4 1/2 in 7 ft 4 ft
10-12 hp 1908-1909 Two Horizontal 4 in 4 1/2 in 7 ft 4 ft
12-16 hp 1907-1909 Two Horizontal 3 3/8 in 4 1/4 in 8 ft 6 in 4 ft
12-14 hp 1909 Four Vertical 85 mm 4 in 8 ft 4 ft
12-16 hp 1910-1924 Four Vertical 3 3/8 in 4 in 9 ft 6 in 4 ft 3 in
11-15 hp 1912-1924 Four Vertical 3 1/8 in 4 in 8 ft 3 in 4 ft
11-15 hp 1919-1924 Four Vertical 3 1/3 in 4 in 8 ft 6 in 4 ft Sliding gear gearbox
14/34 1925 Four Vertical 2 15/16 in 4 in 9 ft 6 in 4 ft 3 in Sliding gear gearbox
18/48 1925-1929 Six Vertical 2 11/16 in 4 in 10 ft 6 in 4 ft 8 in


Moore, John S (2000). Chambers Motors 1904-1929. Ireland: Dreoilin Specialist Publications Limited. ISBN 1-902773-09-8.  

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