By Thomas Heavey, Managing Editor
Just the other day an order came into the office for a copy of issue 62 of Irish Vintage Scene Magazine from July 2011, all of nine years ago. For this one I had to do a fair old rummage through our stock of back issues but, sure enough, we had it. When I got back indoors I boiled up the kettle and had a look through the issue in hand; it’s amazing how much we have changed, and indeed the number of shows, advertisers and contributors that are no longer with us. I think it’s worth a look back at it, so here goes…
The cover story in July 2011 was on a Renault 4, a classic car that was forty years old that year. We featured not one, but two of the finest examples you will come across, both belonging to Maurice Roddy, a well-known Renault collector from Co. Louth. Indeed, Maurice has made the cover a few times over the years with some more of his classic Renaults.
Also from Co. Louth, we featured one of the most amazing tractor collections we ever featured – I’d go so far as to say this feature has hardly been bettered since. ‘Red Army’ was the story behind the collection of twelve Massey Ferguson 100-series tractors that belonged to George McCarron. Unfortunately George is no longer with us, as he passed away since putting together this dream tractor collection.
A few pages on, we had the very exotic Ferrari 308 finished in not the customary red, but a fabulous Azzurro Blue. The car belonged to the then-president of the Irish Veteran & Vintage Car Club, Tom Farrell; as far as I know, he has since sold the car. The article, which is as much about Ferrari owners as the actual car itself, was written by our great friend Carl Czanik, who worked as a freelancer for us and in the office for a while too. While no longer doing anything for Irish Vintage Scene, we still keep in touch with Carl.
Next up was a super combination of a Ferguson 20 with the original type of Ferguson front loader, and coupled with a JF single-chop harvester that fed into a JF trailer with crawling floor. This was followed by a feature on another contributor, and great all-round supporter of vintage, Austin Ryan, whose rare Irish-registered Bradbury motorcycle from 1913 gave us a great story.
Back in 2011 a young Stephen McEvoy covered Northern Ireland for us and gave us some great features, and for this issue he called to meet Joe Bradley in Kilrea to feature his three vintage trucks. The trio was made up of three Leylands: a Comet, a Bison tipper and a Buffalo tractor unit.. It’s a super line-up, and it’s great to still see these vehicles being campaigned at events all over Ireland, and indeed over at the Great Dorset Steam Fair. Also in the feature is a photo of Joe’s son Ryan, who tragically lost his life in a motorsport accident; Ryan was great craic to meet at events, and I often think of the last time I had a pint with him in Mountbellew. May he rest in peace.
Tommy Fennelly from Carlow had spent most of 2011 finishing off the long-term restoration of his 1934 Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies steam engine, and we followed the project in a number of parts. This issue featured part five, and the lads were getting closer to their target of having the engine ready for the Mountbellew Vintage Show. They sure did have it ready; it was a great story, and great to see another engine back in steam.
A regular contributor to the magazine back then was Roger Hamlin, the original author of our ‘Tales From Over the Water’ column. On this occasion he got to visit a classic John Deere collection on New Zealand’s South Island. Of course, the back page was held for one of our best-loved regulars, Dick Byrne’s ‘Behind the Wheel’, and a great story about a friend who invents a distance warning system for cars only to be told by Ford of Cork there would be no use of such an item for a car. However, sixty years later this system is fitted in almost every new car, so Dick’s friend was sixty years ahead of his time.
Other things that struck me looking back at this issue were the eight pages of classified adverts and the number of advertisers that are no longer with us, and many no longer in business. Show reports included the COVOC Norman Pratt Run, my first trip to Shane’s Castle Steam Rally and many more, filling over 100 pages.
It might only be nine years ago, but looking back at this issue was like a trip down memory lane and sparked some great memories of great events, but also of some events that are no longer with us, which is always a pity to see. The drop off in classified adverts and advertising show how much our hobby has changed in a short time too. If you have some old copies lying around, why not pick up a random copy for a read and see how it sparks your memory…? By Thomas Heavey, Managing Editor