Sandra Doble, M.A.G.I.

Grandfather Frank (right) with his first car

Grandfather Frank (right) with his first car

My family has always believed that this is a photo of my grandfather, Frank Doble, with his first car.

I wondered if it was actually his own car and decided to enquire of historic motor registrations. Legislation for registering cars came into force in Ireland in 1903. It was the responsibility of each County Council to register cars in their area. Survival of early registers is patchy and even where the folio books survive, there can be gaps in information.

To have a chance of finding a record, one needs to know the registration number of the car. In this case, we are lucky enough for it to be absolutely clear from the photograph. The ZI at the beginning of the plate means that the car was registered in Dublin City. Dublin City Archives hold registration records for the city from 1927 and were able to provide me with the book covering ZI 7501 – 9999.

In it, I discovered that the car was not actually registered to my grandfather but rather to his father, Albert. It was a 24 HP Ford and was coloured red which we cannot see from the old photograph. The registration year was 1932 when my grandfather was 24 years old. It was interesting to note the other cars registered at the same time – most were Fords with a couple of Morris and Chrysler cars on the same page.

While it may not have been technically owned by my grandfather, I suspect that he very much viewed the car as his own as he looks so very proud of it in the photo!