Two old friends were reunited again in Truro recently: one being a 1923 Model T Ford Roadster, and the other, its restorer.
Forty-one years ago, Don Sutherland and his son, Doug set about to restore a very significant car. Not so because of its rarity, after all, some 15 million Model T’s were produced between 1909 and 1927, but more so because of the notoriety of the car’s former owner. You see, this car was previously owned by Anne Murray’s grandfather, Dr. Daniel Murray of Tatamagouche. Affectionately known as “Dr. Dan” he purchased a home at 295 Main Street in 1908 and practiced from his home until his death in 1967. His granddaughter, Anne, would travel from her home in Springhill to practice her singing there. In 1952, Dr. Dan was honoured by the community in which he served for 46 years.
Found abandoned in a raspberry field in the early 1970s and known to have been Dr. Dan’s car, it was lovingly and faithfully restored to original condition by Don with a great deal of woodworking skill from Doug. As many know, the superstructure of early cars was hardwood covered by a steel body. Most of this wood was fabricated by Doug using patterns then available by mail order from the U.S. The restoration was completed in 1976 and the car was then licensed as an Antique Auto; notably only the 335th to be registered as such in the province.
After trips to several car shows and parades, even as far away as Antigonish, Don then decided to move with his wife, Lillian, to “town”. He gifted the car to Doug who appreciated it so much that even though he didn’t drive the car again since 1979, he stored it in his heated wood shop until June of this year.
The car was purchased in June by Tom Kayser, a Truro resident and car lover himself. The task of getting her back on the road again was begun with the expert help of local car enthusiast and mechanic Barry Weatherby. Weatherby willing admits that working on this 94-year-old car was a “learning process”, to say the least. After sitting for so long, the engine required a great deal of going over. Several weeks of work now finds this old Model T running like a top, yet again.
Don recently celebrated his 95th birthday and he and his wife are both enjoying good health.
Seeing the car again after so many years was a real treat for the Sutherlands and for its new owner as well.