5 October 2016

Swap to Street, Day 1: Heli-coils, bullet holes and nice bodies

So far, so good. Actually, it’s better than that.

Hagerty’s four-day “Swap to Street Challenge” got off to a successful start on Tuesday at the AACA Hershey (Pa.) Fall Swap Meet. Starting with the remnants of a 1930 Model A, Hagerty’s four-person build team hit the ground running by scoring a sedan body, along with all four doors, all glass, a fuel tank and seat frames/springs.

“We had a phenomenal first day,” said project lead Davin Reckow. “We have a limited budget, so our goal is to score the best parts at the best prices as early as possible. We did that with some big items today.”

Of course, due to miscommunication – or more appropriately, the lack of communication – we also ended up with six headlights. And work on the Model A’s non-running four-cylinder engine hit a bit of a hiccup when we had to repair a previous repair; the Heli-coil on one of the head studs failed and we could tighten it to only 35 ft-lb. of torque instead of the required 55. A Keensert solved that problem.

Hurdles aside, the build team of Reckow, Brad Phillips, Randy Clouse and Brett Lirones chose to accentuate the positive. The day got off to a great start when Phillips ran into the folks who sold us the truck bed that we used on last year’s “Swap to Street” 1946 Ford pickup.

“They said they had only one Model A part, a throttle linkage, and they brought it because they’ve been following us since last year and they knew we would need it,” Phillips said. Needless to say, we bought it.

The big score of the day was a 1931 Model A four-door sedan body. We considered several possibilities including a heavily welded coupe, a truck cab in need of some patching, and a bullet-riddled two-door sedan that many of us felt was perfect for “Swap to Street.” (“Those aren’t bullet holes,” a passerby joked. “That’s air-conditioning.”) All were ultimately rejected, and rightly so, considering what parts-finders Kyle Smith and Will Corr discovered in a trailer on the Chocolate Field.

Before we pulled the trigger, we asked our live-stream viewers for their opinion, and they responded with an overwhelming yes. They also decided that we didn’t need fenders, so it looks like we’re building a hi-boy.

Priorities for Day 2 are finding a body mount kit, brake arm, padding and upholstery for the seats, as well as checking the fuel tank for leaks.

We slept well last night, but if last’s year’s “Swap to Street Challenge” taught us anything it’s that every day brings its own challenges. Three days left, and the clock is ticking.

For updates on the team’s progress and for more details on the vehicle, visit www.hagerty.com/swaptostreet. If you’re in Hershey and want to stop by and see us, we’re located on the Chocolate Field near the pedestrian bridge. Those of you who want to watch from home can subscribe to the livestream at www.YouTube.com/Hagerty/live.

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