Bridge of Weir sponsor historic Model T Ford challenge10 May 2011
Scottish upholstery leather tanner, Bridge of Weir Leather Company is to sponsor the Ben Nevis Centenary Challenge Tour, which will take place from May 16-21. Bridge of Weir Leather’s historic involvement with the automotive trade spans back to 1911 when their hides were specified for the interior of the Model T Ford. The first Model T production plant outside the US was established at Trafford, Manchester.
In 1911 Henry Alexander, a Ford agent based in Edinburgh, drove to the top of Ben Nevis (the UK’s highest mountain) to prove the ruggedness of the Ford Model T. The ascent took five days with the route leading over boulders, through snow-drifts and over perilous loose sand paths. At the top of Ben Nevis the Model T was met by the world’s press before taking less than three hours to descend the mountain, traversing gradients steeper than 1 in 3.
The event proved an excellent trial of Ford's chassis and suspension designs, a task completed today by Ford engineers at Dunton Technical Centre - one of Europe's largest automotive R&D centres - and Lommel Proving Ground, Belgium.
The 2011 Ben Nevis Challenge Tour will see over 60 Model T cars gather by Britain's highest peak. Each entrant will be given a limited edition trophy, sponsored by Bridge of Weir Leather. Daily runs will give the public the opportunity to see these privately-owned examples of Ford's first ‘Universal Car’.
Other vehicles from the Ford Heritage Collection will include a replica of Henry Ford's first vehicle, the Quadricycle, and a 1910 Model T.
The event will culminate with a Ford Model T again sitting on top of Ben Nevis although these days it is impossible to take motor vehicles all the way to the summit. Coordinated by the John Muir Trust, a replica of the 1911 Model T will be dismantled half way up the hill, carried to the summit by volunteers and then reassembled.
Jamie Davidson, Sales Director, Bridge of Weir Leather said: ‘We are delighted to reinforce our historical relationship with Ford. Even today, we provide leather to their Mondeo and to four models of Lincoln in the US. It’s a fun event and we wish all the entrants good weather for their tours!’