My father, Brian Mullan, always loved to have a good car and thanks to his hard work, and the love and care of my mum Sadie, he was always able to achieve that… from MG Midgets to MGB’s to Rover 2000′s to BMW’s Opel Manta’s to Landrovers to Range Rovers and all the classic cars that he restored or hand built over the last few years – his 1937 Falcon (1937 Ford Model Y Special), 1972 Lotus Elan +2 S130 and his Bedford CF Motorhome (hand built by himself). Pictures of all these cars will be in the gallery eventually.
In his earlier years, dad worked in Chemstrans (Monsanto) in Coleraine. However in the evenings he would be found working at home fixing a relative’s or a friend’s car – inside if he had a garage or outside in the yard. It didn’t seem to matter either way… he was a hardy lad.
Most of the people who knew dad, will have known him from around the time in the late 1960′s when he worked for a well known garage owner in Ballymoney – Owen Harrigan who als sadly has passed on. I can remember seeing daddy (I must only have been 5 or 6) in Owen’s garage working at old Anglias, Cortinas, etc. He was in his element… God bless him.
At around the start of the 1970′s Stock Car racing came to Aghadowey and, of course, daddy had to be involved. I remember him bringing home his first stock car… me and Joe were full of excitement and loved to watch daddy rebuild the car (all the cars at that time were built mostly the same shape, but Brian being Brian had to have his built different to the rest).
I remember myself and Joe lying in bed, waiting on him coming home after his first race meeting and he came in late that night, face beaming, because he had won on his first run out… we were so proud of him, a pride that has increased with every passing day since.
We had many an episode with his stockcars. One day in particular, in the summertime, he had the stockcar out in the backyard in Robinson Avenue, Ballymoney, where we lived for a few years and he was going down the street to get a part for it. His last words before he left were “You two stay out of that car till I come back…”
Of course, us being the wee angels that we still are, I climbed into the stockcar. Joe closed the 5 point harness, and that was me… tied there until daddy came back… well caught… he could only laugh at our own stupidity at getting stuck.
His stockcar racing ended when one of his fellow drivers was burned to death whilst racing. Daddy and a couple of other drivers stopped and tried to get him out, but couldn’t get his belts off. Dad lost interest after that.
His attentions then turned to boats after that. His first was a plywood speedboat, that he bought from Ballymoney car salesman Norman Reid, was named ‘Skippy’. We had lots of runs out in the Bann in it using the slipway at the rear of the ‘Agivey Bacon Factory’. I recall daddy entering it in a Regatta down at Portballintrae years ago.
During the race a piece of driftwood holed the rear of the hull and dad had to bring her back in to the harbour; standing up on the rear part of his seat to see over the nose of the boat as it was almost vertical because of the amount of water it was taking on. He repaired it, repainted it, and renamed it… DO, MA, JO, PA…. the first two letters of our first names. Jennifer wasn’t born at that stage, obviously.
After a few months he decided that the family was getting too big for Do,Ma,Jo,Pa…. so he bought a brand new 18′ Norman offshore cabin cruiser shell, and set about building the inside, etc. into it… what a job he made of it too. I can almost still smell the fibreglass resin.
We had loads of good times on that big boat too. One, which wasn’t so nice, but memorable none the less, was when he accidently pulled an eel net up along with the anchor. The end of it fell into the back of the boat. I can still remember the squeals of my mum and sisters, tramping over them to get into the cabin and get the door shut…