For the Mitchell family, the last two years have been a labour of love, as they worked tirelessly to restore a 1926 Cork-built Model T Ford and get it back on the open road.
Now, as they prepare for the day of the big launch, they have one more task: To track down the original Cork owners of the classic car.
John Mitchell and his son Trevor have been restoring the old motor at their home in Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, since 2015, while wife and mother Joan has been trying to locate the descendants of James Herbert, of Charleville, who first drove the vehicle.
They obtained his details from the original log book and John says: “It’s very rare to have that. Most of the Model Ts in the country are either imported or we just don’t know where they came from, but this is great because we can trace the history right back to the very beginning of the car’s life.
“Over the years I’ve been picking up a few bits and pieces for it. I started on it nearly two years ago, and I’ve got it almost complete now.
“Luckily enough, I was able to salvage a lot of the original parts. Alright, there might be a few little marks on them, it’s not immaculate, but it looks the part.
“It should be on the road in the next few weeks. We hope to go out on a few of the Model T runs later on this year.”
After being in the ownership of James Herbert of Charleville, the car came into the hands of Jim Twohey in the 1950s, who restored it, but it later again fell into disrepair.
It came into the possession of the Mitchell family 20 years ago in a dilapidated, rusted state — but at least the log book was in good condition!
The Mitchells own and run Kilgarvan Motor Museum and Trevor hopes readers will help him track down the Herberts.
“I would like to to say that you produced a great supplement about the history of Ford in Cork in January,” said Trevor.
“Maybe our story of our Model T project will interest your readers, and we can find the descendants of the original owners, to see if they have any memories or photos of the car.
“We do have a few photos of the car from 1957 when it went in one of the first vintage car runs in Cork.
“A man called Jim Twohey pulled it out of a field, restored it and got it up and running.
“But the car was sold soon after and then got taken off the road and dismantled until we bought the remains and started to source parts for its restoration.”
The family-run museum started from a love of collecting and restoring vintage cars and Trevor adds: “We also have a couple of other Cork-built Fords here.”
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