By Kieran O’Mahony
IT cost in the region of €10,000 to make, and took about 14 months to build, but it was worth the time and money, according to Tim Crowley, who has created a life-size replica of the buttercup yellow Leyland 8 touring car made famous by Michael Collins.
The replica car, in all its bright yellow glory, takes pride of place at his Michael Collins Centre outside Clonakilty, alongside replicas of the other vehicles, the Sliabh na mBan (they call theirs Sliabh na mBan 2) and the Crossley Tender troop lorry that belonged to the convoy on that fateful day in 1922 when Collins was killed at Béal na Bláth.
‘It took me and Ger Coakley about 14 months to build it from scratch and we worked on it in our spare time. It means we now have the full size replicas of his convoy on that day,’ Tim told The Southern Star.
‘As far as we know, this is the only replica made of the Leyland 8 in the world, and at that time only 18 of these models were ever made. There are none in existence anymore. We understand the original Leyland that Michael Collins was driven in was later shipped back to England.’
Tim managed to pick up the blueprints for this iconic car from different people around the world and, using pictures, they were able to make out the measurements.
‘We built it from scratch and laid out the chassis on the ground in our workshop, and we’ve had a great reaction since we finished the car. It’s just the bodywork of the car and the wheels that we’ve built so people can sit into it and feel what it was like.’
As they prepare for their 19th summer season at the centre, Tim added that they were disappointed by roadworks on the Clonakilty to Timoleague road for the coming weeks which he felt may be cause confusion for tourists.