Motors & Me: John Vahey's 1910 Model T Tourabout

John Vahey shows us around his 1910 Model T Tourabout at the start of the Irish Veteran and Vintage Car Club Brass Brigade Run at Dungarvan Park Hotel, Co Waterford.

What are you driving?

Rare 1910 Model T Ford Tourabout and Skoda Octavia Elegance for everyday stuff.

Love at first sight, or just a means to get from A to B?

Don’t really think that the former applies as today one has to mainly look for and buy practical transport based on reliability, economy, style, and ease of use/ownership. All of these virtues I might say that, in my eyes anyway, the Skoda achieves with some ease.

What’s under the bonnet?

1.6 CR Diesel with DSR transmission.

Motors & Me: John Vahey's 1910 Model T Tourabout

Petrol head or Sunday driver?

Have possibly been the former with such disciplines as UK National Hill climbing, sprinting, rallying, and some circuit race participation. Basically entered as a privateer completing one’s own vehicle preparation, etc. However as one’s own years advance, so, seemingly, does one’s choice of cars; their speed capabilities dropping in favour of other charms and features.

What was your first car?

Motors & Me: John Vahey's 1910 Model T Tourabout

1947 Rover 14 Sportman. A classic six-cylinder car that was kept running on a shoe string budget. Normal back in the very early sixties. Mind you one had to quickly learn mechanics or else no transport, nor possibly girlfriend.

What else do/did you own?

Over the last few decades I have enjoyed restoring and or using cars as diverse as a 1904 Bayard 2cyl; 1929 Overland Whippet; 1932 Riley Monaco Ultra Plus with a Brooklands engine; 1935 Railton Straight Eight; 1937 Alvis Silver Crest Limo 6 cyl; 1973 NSU Ro80 still fitted with its original Wankel rotary engine; 1978 Saab 96L V4, unrestored, with only 3K miles to date & the actual last RHD unit made for the UK market; 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo and an early Mallock single seater.

Not forgetting though a 1982 Morgan Plus Eight which was developed by myself and Brands Hatch Racing, with a Group A engine, to produce some 400bhp measured at the rear wheels. True 0 to 60mph of three seconds and 0 to 100mph in nine seconds.

A fearsome but entertaining machine in its own right but nothing really prepared me for back to basic driving techniques and fun when taking control, for the first time, of my current rare 1910 Model T Ford Tourabout.

Motors & Me: John Vahey's 1910 Model T Tourabout

I have since read that certain states in America used to issue two types of driving licenses back in those early days of motoring. One for the T’s three pedal arrangement and one for the more conventional transmissions. I can now understand and appreciate why.

Counting up all of my cars, daily and fun, I think that I have now owned and driven some 63 cars, of various marques, overall.

Dream drive in dream location?

Leisurely drive, taking in the full length of Ireland’s newly designated Wild Atlantic Way in an open topped sports car from the fifties or earlier maybe. In good weather of course. My dream car would be an Invicta 4.5 litre S type Low Chassis of 1931 vintage. Only problem would be that I would first need to win the Lottery.

Passengers you’d most like on a long journey?

Motors & Me: John Vahey's 1910 Model T Tourabout

Gill my wife and hopefully also Chris a good dear life long friend.

Passenger you’d least like?

Pass on this one as everyone is welcome as long as they enter into the spirit of the adventure.

What’s on your playlist?

Hopefully a large engined, 30 or 40Hp, right-hand-drive, open topped, Edwardian/American Tourer. Oakland, ( Early Pontiac. ) Stoddard Dayton or similar spring to mind. Or possibly a steam car with its steep, for me, new learning curve. If only ...


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