Rare pieces of Kerry automotive history discovered in Britain

By Sean Moriarty

Two unique pieces of Kerry motoring history were uncovered this week thanks to sequence of events that, at first glance, seemed a very unlikely source of such quality information.

It all started when an England-based classic car owner called Alan Lefford contacted Kerry Motor Club’s website. He had recently purchased a 1928 Austin 16 Tickford and he was trying to trace the car’s history.

He bought the car at an auction in Beaulieu, the home of the National Motor Museum in England.

The Austin, which was sold new in Stockholm, Sweden in 1928, somehow found its way to Ireland. A Wexford-based collector but it up for auction and at that time it was furnished with ZV classic plates.

Once Mr Lefford got the car home, he found official documents connected to one of the motor clubs in County Kerry inside in the car’s glovebox.

This prompted him to contact Kerry Motor Club.

After a short email conversation with some of the club’s members, it soon became apparent that the documents he had in his possession were originally published by the Kingdom Veteran, Vintage and Classic Car Club.

One was an original copy of the club’s first newsletter published in 1998 and while there is no date on the newsletter it was certainly published in the Spring as it features a report on the club’s AGM held in January and an advert for the Ring of Kerry Run which was scheduled for May 23 and 24 that year. A copy of the newsletter can be downloaded here.

From a motorsport point of view, there was an interesting article regarding the lack of signposting directing tourists to the Ballyfinnane Hillclimb monument. The first ever closed road motorsport event in County Kerry took place here in 1903 and was won by Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame.

Charles Rolls memorial in Ballyfinnane (C) The Shanty Bar

The KVCCC unveiled the memorial there in 1993 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the event.

Interesting to note, 22 years on, and it is still not signposted and, with the 120th anniversary less than three years away, it might be time to revisit this request.

“Hopefully, you can assist me in trying to trace the car I purchased from Mr Bolan of Wexford nearly two years ago via an auction. His father owned the car but died a few years ago,” Mr Lefford told Kerry Motorsport News.

“Mr Bolan has unfortunately lost all records of the car as his father had many cars and even the Irish registration number got mysteriously ‘lost’.

“Immediately before I purchased the car it was given a Irish historic related registration number – XV 92153 – and then shipped for auction in the UK, where I purchased it. The car was originally purchased in Stockholm in late 1928 as the garage plate on the dashboard confirms and also the speedometer is in kilometres and not MPH.”

“Although in general good order the mechanics need overhauling which I am currently completing. I would be very grateful if you or your members could assist me with any information on this.”

He also uncovered a rare copy of the official programme and entry list for the 1998 Ring of Kerry Vintage Run which took place in May that year. The entry list contains several well-known names, many who are still involved in the car scene in Kerry. A copy of the programme can be downloaded here:

SPEC SHEET

Late 1928 Austin 16 Tickford (oldest Austin 16 Tickford know to the Vintage Austin Registrar)

Chassis No 5756-L6

Body No 5TCS 156/6

Engine No 5602 L6

Colour Maroon with black wings and spoked wheels.

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