Retired Palnackie mechanic battling Parkinson’s given new lease of life building replica vintage car

A retired Palnackie motor mechanic has been given a new lease of life building a replica vintage car.

Tom Parker was struggling to cope with Parkinson’s Disease as his physical condition worsened.

But since Dalbeattie Men’s Shed asked him to help assemble a Skeoch car he has found a new gear.

Tom, 82, has been working on the vehicle in his garage for five days a week since lockdown began.

Now the replica of the original Dalbeattie-manufactured motor is almost complete – much to Tom’s delight.

He said: “Helping with the car has made an awful difference to my life.

“I can still work with my hands and building it was therapy for me.

“There were times I was really tired but once I got going I was fine.

“I have four seats in the garage and I use my wee electric buggy to go round.

“It has been a new life for me.”

To build the Skeoch, Tom pulled in extra labour to keep the project on track.

“Cy Price my son-in-law helped me,” said Tom.

“Donald Williamson from Castle Douglas did the lathe work and we have been good friends ever since.

“Once I had a look I knew it was going to be a lot of work.

“But I knew what I was doing and when I got in about it I started to put it together.

“We got the engine from New Zealand and the gear box from Australia.

“I was working from 8am to 12.30 and a couple of hours in the afternoon as well.

“I must admit to getting a bit excited now that it’s nearly finished.”

Tom added: “I am pleased and proud to have been involved in it.

“I won’t go on forever but that wee car will.”

Tom has a special reason for rebuilding the car designed and produced by James Skeoch in 1920-21.

“Twelve cars were made and ten were sold,” Tom said.

“The other two were burnt when the works went on fire.

“Robertson’s garage where I served my time was built on the site.

“In one of the toilets when you looked up through the ceiling, there was this big beam about eight inches square.

“It was all charred from the where the fire had been.

“So I feel a very strong attachment to the car because I worked at the place where the originals were made.”

Men’s shed chairman secretary Geoff Allison said: “Our target was to get the car finished by February, 2021.

“That’s the 100th anniversary of when the Skeoch was unveiled at the 1921 Scottish Motor Show.

“When Covid hit we moved the car to Palnackie to Tom’s garage.

“And that allowed Tom and Donald to work on it five days a week.

“Now the car is going to be finished ahead of time.

“It’s these two guys between them, these skilled engineers, who have just about finished it.”

Geoff paid tribute to all local businesses and volunteers backing the project.

“One big thing has been finding the skills and experience within Dalbeattie.

“You just don’t realise the knowledge and know-how there is in the area.

“It’s been a bumpy ride but we have solved all the problems along the way.”

Source Article