MOST of them might be reaching 100 years of age, but thanks to the tender loving care lavished on them by their enthusiast owners, the 150 Ford Model T cars, of all descriptions, that rolled into Coal Creek last Sunday have never looked better, or operated so smoothly.
It was all part of the biennial National Ford Model T Rally, and the cars and their owners were off on one of their touring days during a week-long visit to Gippsland, hosted by Lardner Park, Warragul.
They came from every state in Australia and even from overseas to take part and it’s not at all surprising to see so many of the cars still happily chugging along the road today.
“Did you know that there were 15.5 million of these cars produced between 1908 and 1927, that’s more cars than GMH in Australia has produced in its history of manufacturing in this country,” said Phil from Portland, a visitor with his wife Carmelita and their 1915 Tourer, its chassis produced in Canada and body built in Australia.
“They imported the chassis from Canada, in flatpacks and added whatever body they wanted over here, many of them built in Adelaide.”
What Allan Bennett doesn’t know about Model Ts doesn’t matter after owning 14 and restoring eight, starting out when he was only 14 years old.
He now owns seven including a 1912 Haigh’s Chocolate van which joined the throng on the way to Coal Creek.
“You could buy one from between $10,000 and $50,000 and you’d really have a lot of fun out of it for that.
“This one I’ve got, a 1924 Speedster will happily do over 50mph, up to 75mph if you’re game.
“I retired as a motor mechanic in 1984 so it’s an ideal interest for me. I’ve never stopped enjoying working on cars.”
Peter Shaw of Mossvale in NSW has a Ford Model TT truck chassis modified as a tow truck but to be honest, he didn’t get much business on the way from Warragul to Coal Creek, such was the superb order of the cars in the rally.
There were people from QLD, NT and WA as well, including Tom and Jan Callow of Home Hill near Townsville who trailered their 1915 white tourer 3377km just to be in the rally.
Chris and Rose Brancaccio of Calgary in Alberta Canada came the furthest, not in one of their own five Model Ts, but they were delighted with what they saw when they got to the rally and to Coal Creek.
Manager of Coal Creek Rowena Ashley was delighted with the event, with the weather and the fact that so many locals came down to see the cars.
“I think we’ve made a lot of lovely friends from interstate and overseas today and I’m sure they’ll spread the word about Coal Creek and the beautiful green rolling hills of South Gippsland.”
Model T phenomenon rolls into town