T Thoughts – William Cuddy

Greetings to all fellow members,

I have always had an interest in wheeled mechanical things from an early age. From a family tie I can only attribute this to my maternal grandfather who as a dispensary doctor in Milford, Co Donegal bought in 1903 a brand new baby Peugeot, which is under the care of a first cousin of mine. At the tender age of 17, having completed my leaving certificate, I was brought by the scruff of my collar into what is now PWC to serve a five year apprenticeship as an articled clerk earning the vast sum of £1 per week. 

One of my student associates spotted a 1947 Willys Jeep from a train window at Fota; that afternoon I visited, bought and brought home.

A couple of years later, my youngest brother David, a trainee tractor salesman, procured for me a 1952 TVO Ferguson T20.

After all that I eventually qualified as a chartered accountant, married Valerie and took on a home mortgage. Having reared and schooled three children, the millennium arrived and in tandem with others at the time, I took on the restoration of my 1947 Willys Jeep CJ2A. 

Two year later at my first outing at an agricultural show I was greeted by the late James Twohig and introduced to the legendary  Model T Ford. Truly it was an unforgettable moment; I was hooked. I later came across an advert for a 1921 7 Cwt delivery van in Clonmel which on acquisition was restored to the full, with the power unit work carried out by club member #13 Mr. Neil Tuckett. 

Our first Model T event was participation in the 2003 centenary rally in Dorset run by the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain where we quickly developed a friendship with Austen & Niki Bromley,  great supporters of our Club.

My interest in Model Ts continue to this very day. I like to give back and return the benefits of enjoyment in this wonderful hobby and the kind and generous people that I have been fortunate to encounter with in the intervening years. I have been the honorary secretary of our Club for some time as well as being the honorary statutory auditor of the UK Club.

I am afraid I have deviated a little from the Ford “religion”. A couple of years ago, I restored a Series 3 Land Rover whose first owner was the late Charles J Haughey, Taoiseach from 1979 to 1992 with break intervals, and a fellow chartered accountant.  On the occasion of our eldest son’s marriage in 1999, I got a present of it following his father-in-law’s retirement from farming. 

Another transgression for the record, is our 1926 Austin Seven AD Chummy which is currently at the final stages of restoration with helpful advice and expert workmanship carried out by Michael Rigney and his crew at Rigney Bros. where I am confident it will be second to none.

I have one more job to finish off and after that I am down to enjoyment; all tools to be put into cold storage and never to be seen again. Our 1914 Model T Ford is a hackney carriage licenced to carry 4 passengers and was the first car off the new production line in Manchester in 1914. 

Former president of Ireland Sean T. O’Kelly was chauffeured to his wedding. The IRA in 1923 confiscated the car for three weeks for unknown purposes and on its return, paid for the vehicle hire. The hackney owner, having completed one million miles in the car was offered by Henry Ford & Son Limited a straight swap for a new car, but declined.

So that is where we are today, happily cocooning at home and spending many happy hours at this point in time with my play toys. A most useful addition to any garage is a pit. Pick and shovel job.

From an early age my parents encouraged us all to get involved in hobbies, no matter what.  I am glad I took heed for once.

Best regards to all… stay safe | stay calm | stay clean.


5th May 2020

You may also like...