Model T still going strong

Moving Well | Words: Kathryn Kernohan | Photos: Shannon Morris | Posted on 04 April 2016

 A 1913 Ford Model T found rusting on the Mornington Peninsula has enjoyed a glorious new lease of life.

It’s been 48 years since the veteran car enthusiast Brian Hussey first laid his eyes on his 1913 Ford Model T 48 years ago, and it remains the former engineer’s most prized possession.

Brian says ‘106’ – the name he gives the car, based on its number plate – was originally bought new in Melbourne. The Ford Model T, produced up until the late 1920s, was regarded as the car that made motoring affordable to families across the world.

Brian’s car was used as a family car until the late 1920s, then the rear body section was removed and the car was used for farm work and in a circus.

These days it is used as a wedding car. “The car has been used for many weddings, including my own children’s weddings.”

Brian Hussey and his 1913 Ford Model T


Restoration

Decades after it was first modified, a man named George Morgan discovered the then derelict car on the Mornington Peninsula and found the rear section of the body in Tasmania, with the upholstery still intact. It was given a full restoration in the 1970s.

“I originally approached George to use his car as a reference because I had the remains of a Ford Model T ... George and I got to know each other and we started to rally 106 together.”

In 1991, the car had a full restoration to modern standards and was a back-to-back winner of the Great Australian Rally. When George passed away, Brian assumed full ownership.

It’s not often you can talk to the owner of a veteran car who can tell you he’s worn out three sets of tyres in as many years, but that’s the case with me.
Brian Hussey and his partner Jill Bartlett with the Model T

On the road

These days, he and partner Jill Bartlett take the Model T on the road as often as they can.

Some years ago, Brian and Jill bought a Mercedes Sprinter motorhome which tows an enclosed carrier and “serves as a garage away from home” when they need to transport the Ford Model T around the country. They also bought a SYM scooter which, Brian says, provides “great freedom” when exploring new towns.

Recently they clocked up an 18,000km round-trip across Australia over seven weeks. “There’s no point having these things if you’re not going to use them,” Brian says. But it’s his 106 that he loves to drive to Port Fairy or Daylesford.  “It’s not often you can talk to the owner of a veteran car who can tell you he’s worn out three sets of tyres in as many years, but that’s the case with me,” he said.

“It will be a bequest to my son and he will probably bequest it to his son. My family knows it is not to be sold – it is something for them to enjoy.”