Friday 9 December 2016

Wheel love: 98-year-old clocks up her 23rd Ford

Published 18/01/2010 | 05:00

EILEEN Lovett was all excited about buying her new 2010- registered car.

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Almost as excited as when she bought her first one -- a mere 80 or so years ago.

Loyalty knows no bounds for her. This was her 23rd new Ford.

It was a little different this time, though.

She bought it for her daughter.

Eileen, originally Eileen Lydon from Clifden, Co Galway, thinks it's time she handed over the keys to someone else.

Born in November 1911, she turns 99 this year and has fond and vivid memories of all her cars down through the years.

She has bought 23 new cars from the same Galway outlet since 1929. Her 23rd is a 2010 Focus.

It is hard to imagine today, but Eileen began driving when just aged 12 in her home town of Clifden, where her family ran a bakery.

She was still at primary school when she undertook her first drive in 1923 after her mother asked her to collect some butter in the bakery van.

By the time she was 17 she had decided to buy her first car.

Back then, the dealership was Higgins Garage in Galway (it went on to become Motorpark). The 14.9 Ford model cost IR£198.

Eileen recalls how much she loved it from the first day she drove it.

Miles

And drive it she did. It clocked up thousands of miles with Eileen behind the wheel as she delivered goods from the bakery to schools around Galway and beyond.

Two years later she went to Dublin to train as a nurse in Jervis Street hospital. All through her long career in nursing, Eileen always went back to the same dealership to buy a new car. Now that's loyalty.

She can still rattle off the name and type of all the 22 Fords she owned.

Not alone that but she can tell you the registration number of each as well.

As she looks at the picture of herself and her car from 1930 she says: "That was the first 14.9 Ford that came into Galway that WP Higgins sold to me. The photograph was taken in June. Twelve months later I traded that one in and I got a new one."

And another one, and another one.

"I could give you a list of every single one of them, registration numbers and all, but I would have to sit down to write them."

Irish Independent

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