1937 DRA 9hp Sports Special Registration no. IU 3297 Chassis no. 1100 Engine no. 10598
This unique post-Vintage racing special was constructed by an Adare garage owner, W T Doherty, who drove it in the 1938 Limerick Grand Prix. The Limerick Grand Prix was run between 1935 and 1938 (1937 excepted), the first winner of the event being Luis Fontes driving an Alfa Romeo, while other major manufacturers represented include FIAT, Austin, MG, Bugatti, Maserati, Alta, Lea Francis, Riley, Sunbeam and Frazer Nash. Doherty had already competed in the event having enterered an MG in the 1936 race.
There were 17 starters for the 1938 race a handicap with none other than ERA driver Tony Rolt on 'scratch'. Rolt set fastest lap before retiring from a race notable for its attrition rate, only five cars making the finish. The win went to the MG Midget of Belfast man J D McClure at 54.21mph, and although the DRA failed to complete the race it was credited with 8th place having covered 53 laps at an average speed of 45.31mph. The Limerick Chronicle's report observed: 'Several of the drivers were rather inexperienced, and many rather wild skids were witnessed.' Doherty also drove the car in the 1938 Irish Motor Racing Rally, finishing 4th, and in several smaller events.
DRA stands for 'Doherty Racing Automobile', and in a letter on file to a subsequent owner, Mr Ronald Mathews of Portarlington, its creator states that he used parts from as many as 27 different cars in its construction. These included a Straker Squire (fuel tank) and a Citroën (radiator shell). Most of the car is Riley, the engine being that of a 9hp model. Doherty sold the DRA around 1945 and since coming into the vendor's family's possession circa 1966 was used by them up until the mid 1970s being placed in dry storage at that time. It was restored in 1967 by David Dunn but following such a lengthy period out of use will require re-commissioning, including re-metalling of the engine's bottom-end bearings. This unique Irish-built special is offered with the aforementioned letter and photographs of it in the pits at the Limerick Grand Prix of 1938.