A Classic Ford car and the Kinsale connection

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Ford Motor Company, a US based giant with very strong links to Ballinascarthy an Cork.

Add to that chain, classic car enthusiast and Model A Ford owner, Ken Huber, Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Jeanette and Vern Huber, Ard na Lir, Scilly, Kinsale.

On a recent drive in West Cork, Vern and Jeanette stopped to take pictures of the much admired Model A Ford replica and the nearby Henry Ford Tavern in Ballinascarthy to send on to Ken in the USA.

On the very day their son received the photos in the mail he also received his copy of the Model A Ford Club of America’s magazine (MAFCA) ‘The Restorer’ (volume 48, May-June 2003).
“Imagine his surprise”, said Jeanette, “when Ken found in the ‘Wheels, Wings an Interesting Things’ section, an article by Nadine and Max Howard of Tulare, California, illustrated with the same pictures of the West Cork replica and the tavern!

The Howards, reporting on their tour through Ireland included all the facts on Henry Ford (the local GAA park is named after him) and even mentioned the the tavern “serves a stout Guinness (stet) an Irish stew for just a few Irish pounds. They must have copied that from a guide book written prior to the introduction of the euro by someone who doesn’t drink Guinness!”, quipped Jeanette who is high in praise of the people of Ballinascarthy for their efforts in erecting a millennium memorial which is also very much appreciated by people on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. She strongly argued against any suggestion, as rumoured, to paint or alter the eye catching stainless steel replica, even though Henry Ford himself once said about the Model T.Ford ‘You can have it any colour as long as it’s black!’ .

As for Ken Huber’s Model A Ford, this sees regular duty as an extra family car, collecting wife Donna from her work as a food scientist at Minneapolis General Mills, or daughters Emily and Claire from their Meadowbrook School. The dog Wile E often comes along and the classic car is also used for weekend shopping trips or filling special chauffeur requests.

Ken and family also participate in outings of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St.Paul) Model A Ford Club which has its own ‘A’ oogah Newsletter.

In one of the coldest areas of the USA, the Huber’s live at Tyrol Hills on a street appropriately named Alpine Pass in a part of Minneapolis called Golden Valley. When the snows of winter descend, the treasured Model A is driven to its shelter in a huge warehouse like building on the grounds of Minnesota State Fair to hibernate until spring. Minnesota laws permit the driving of classic cars on all roads where this family gets lots of waves from passing motorists who appreciate the time, care and loving attention owning such a part of automobile history entails.

A Special postage stamp was recently launched by An Post to commemorate the centenary of the Ford Motor Company. Henry Ford’s father, William from Ballinascarthy, set sail from Cobh (Queenstown) as a young boy on a famine ship for the USA in 1847.

In 1903, Henry Ford and eleven associates established the Ford Motor Co. From Small beginnings in Detroit, it expanded rapidly and by 1913 was producing half the cars in the United States. In 1917, the Marina in Cork, initially a Fordson tractor facility, was the site of the first full Ford manufacturing plant outside North America.

The Model T Ford featured in the 41 cent stamp, was first introduced in 1908 and was hugely successful with over 15 million sales. The final Model T produced world wide left the Cork plant at Centre Park Road in December 1928.

Bandon Motors, recently launched a special promotion of limited edition black centenary Focus, Fusion, and Fiesta cars at its showrooms in Bandon and Skibbereen. Ford’s historic associations with Cork and County has always been kept to the fore by Ballinascarthy Community Council most notably through its unique sculpture. Henry Ford is also remembered in the recently launched book of poems by Dan Holland, Tullymurrihy, Ballinascarthy which has a picture of the Model T. Ford sculpture on the front cover.

Courtesy of the Southern Star