In the last few years, daddy concentrated more on the Classic & Vintage side of things. His first car which he restored and attended shows with was ‘The Byford’. I’ll not go into all the details, however he was well known and easily recognizable when out in it, not only for the car but he had a bit of a ‘thing’, for as my brother Joe put it “weird facial hair”. His beards were, let’s say, not conventional… but the neither was Brian.
I helped him on some complete and very extensive restorations on such models as MK2 Jaguars, Mk1 Cortina’s, Austin 7′s, the list goes on… The final straw was a Mini Cooper in which he modified a brand new mini shell to an exact replica of a Mk1 Mini Cooper only to have his passion, work and skill dashed when the owner, a well known local businessman having been trusted by my dad to take the car home refused to pay what he owed, it being quite a substantial amount. All daddy said was “well, good luck to him”.
You may wonder why I mentioned the last matter, but to me it was of vital importance, as daddy loved restoring old cars and through his experience with one ‘rogue’, all the other genuine enthusiasts lost out on a first class restorer as dad just lost all faith and interest.
He continued doing his own thing, restoring his beautiful ‘Falcon’ based on a 1937 Ford Model C which he designed and hand built in aluminium.
The work, time and love he put into that car is unimaginable, unless you were there to see it. It’s first run out, and it was only finished two days previous, was a tour around Ireland in which dad and my sister Jennifer completed over 1200 miles. The car never missed a beat (am I surprised? No!).
Ironically, this was to be the very car that daddy enjoyed his final ‘run out’ in, since both of us attended an anniversary run at Powerscourt Estate in Dublin on the 19th August this year. It took us almost four hours to drive down, about 20 minutes of which it didn’t rain. We got soaked but we both loved it. I can still feel daddy’s big arm resting across the top of my shoulders. God, how I miss him.
The weather on the day of the run was excellent; as it was on our return run home.
Dad had stripped the Byford down again as he had complained about the body being too narrow. He has carried out extensive alterations to it although, sadly, will not be around to appreciate his good work. Both myself and my brother Joe will complete the car, in time, as a lasting tribute to daddy.
Dad had a very fulfilled life, having such other hobbies as motorbikes, fishing, shooting, and golf. One story he told me about was when he was golfing with his long time, late friend Ross Fleming from Ballymoney, was how he cut a hole in the lining of his trouser pocket and would pretend to strike the ball. While Ross was helping him search for it he discreetly stood over the hole and dropped the ball in. It was weeks before Ross caught on!
Aeroplanes also appealed to him, and he was only hours away from attaining his solo pilot’s licence at Eglinton as he was flying on his own… I don’t know his reason for not finishing the course.
Another striking part of dad’s personality was his dry (sarcastic) wit as anyone who has been the subject of it will tell you. It was always in good humour and he usually managed to have the last word – a trait I seem to have picked up.
Every time I walk into his garage I am reminded of his dedication, ability, attention to detail, respect for property, engineering ingenuity and sheer love for anything he put his mind to. I intend to carry on his good work, helping to restore the vehicles he loved for the appreciation of the next generations. I hope he watches over me and I can make him proud; and ensure his property is treated with the same respect as he afforded it.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this insight into the life of BRIAN MULLAN. He was a big man, a talented man, a good man… but may I just say one thing… I always have and always will love him with all my heart…
“HE WAS MY DADDY”
I LOVE YOU DADDY… GOD BLESS YOU… XXX