Editor’s Note: We’re hosting a Live Q&A with build team lead Davin Reckow and newcomer Brett Lirones on Friday, Sept. 30, at 12 p.m. EST. Tune in to www.YouTube.com/Hagerty/live to ask our builders your burning questions and share your parts list suggestions.
The parts should all be there. Proverbial needles in haystacks that we have to find. And we could use your help.
Less than a week before the second edition of Hagerty’s “Swap to Street Challenge” kicks off on Oct. 4 at the AACA Hershey (Pa.) Fall Swap Meet, we’re about as antsy as kids on Christmas Eve. Starting with the remnants of a 1930 Ford Model A, four Hagerty employees will attempt to build an entire car in four days using parts sourced at the meet. The entire build will be streamed live, then we’re planning to drive the vehicle 750 miles back to our home offices in Traverse City, Mich.
Project lead Davin Reckow and his teammates – Brad Phillips, Randy Clouse and Brett Lirones – are up for it.
“I can’t wait to get started,” Reckow said. “Hershey has been the elephant in the room for months. It’s a huge task that weighs on your mind, but you can’t do anything about it until the whistle blows. It’s hurry up and wait, then pedal to the metal.”
Last year’s inaugural – and successful – “Swap to Street Challenge” featured a 1946 Ford pickup truck. The biggest hurdle was finding an engine. And although this year’s project came with one, we don’t know if it will work.
“I feel like we’re going in with much less than last year,” Reckow said. “We had a chassis and a cab last year. We had something that we could steer, something to work with – you could tell what the thing was. This is a little different. A lot of people have said, ‘It’s only a Model A. It should be easy.’ But anyone who has ever assembled a car knows that it never goes perfectly. We’re missing a lot, and we have to find it all, including a body. The longer that takes, the less time we have to work. Plus this thing is 86 years old. We know there will be challenges, we just don’t know yet what those challenges will be.”
In addition to a Model A chassis and a non-working four-cylinder flathead engine, the car includes a three-speed manual transmission and its original mechanical brakes. Everything else will have to be located by scouring Hershey’s massive swap meet – more than 9,000 vender spaces covering 85 acres surrounding the Giant Center and Hersheypark.
“I’m confident that every part will be somewhere at Hershey,” Reckow said. “But will we find it all? Will we find it before someone else does? What if we don’t?”
Reckow answered his own question a year ago when the clutch linkage for the ’46 truck couldn’t be found and he fabricated what he needed from other car parts. “I love solving problems, so successfully fabricating something is a huge win. It’s testament to the ingenuity of our grandfathers. You just figure it out. Period.”
Reckow said the five most important pieces to the puzzle will be: 1. Body; 2. Seats; 3. Gas tank; 4. Lights/electrical components; and 5. “Everything else we’re forgetting.” Reckow isn’t as concerned about the first two as he is about the third. “The fuel tank fills the hole outside the body, it makes up the dash, you attach the steering wheel to it, and it can’t leak, so finding a clean one is pretty important.”
With that said, the team would love your help in making sure the parts list is as complete as possible. We’d love to hear from you, so leave your recommendations in the comments.
For updates on the team’s preparations and more details on the vehicle, visit www.hagerty.com/swaptostreet. If you’re planning to attend the meet, please stop by and watch the build, which will be located on the Chocolate Field near the pedestrian bridge. Those of you who want to watch from home can subscribe to the livestream here: www.YouTube.com/Hagerty/live.