Our Cars: Jonathan Klinger’s 1930 Model A

Jonathan Klinger goes old school in his 1930 Model A

For as long as he can remember, Jonathan Klinger has had an interest in anything mechanical – especially if it had an engine. It didn’t matter if it was a lawn mower, farm equipment or a car, he was all about it. By the time he was a teenager, Jonathan had a passion for old cars. “I think it was from this interest in all things mechanical coupled with the simple ingenuity of old cars that caught my eye. Once bitten with the old car bug, I never turned back.”

Jonathan went on to graduate from the Automotive Restoration Program at McPherson College (McPherson, Kan.) and also holds a degree in business management. He remained at McPherson as the Development Director for the Automotive Restoration Program prior to joining Hagerty.

Employee: Jonathan Klinger

Title: PR Manager

Years at Hagerty: Four

Car: 1930 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan

Why a ’30 Ford Model A? This car serves a special purpose beyond just fulfilling my love of historical significant pre-war cars. This has been my daily driver for the past year (www.365DaysOfA.com) to prove that old cars can be driven, are reliable and you don’t have to be a millionaire to own one. So far I’ve driven it 15,000 miles and have had it in four different states. The final trip will be from my home in Traverse City, Mich., to Hershey, Pa., for the famous swap meet that takes place each October.

Repairs and modifications (planned or completed): The car is basically just as it rolled off the assembly line 81 years ago: stock engine, original 6-volt electrical system, four-wheel mechanical brakes. I did install safety glass all the way around, seat belts, an electric wiper motor, modern-style shock absorbers, radial tires and a cup holder. After the bearings began to fail and I discovered a crack in the block casting, we installed a replacement short block.

Hobby activities (clubs, events, etc.): I am a member of several national clubs, work within the hobby and am fortunate to attend several national events a year. For fun, I simply enjoy driving my old cars (I also own a 1919 Model T pick-up and a 1964 Buick Electra 225) and love attending local cruise-ins.

Interesting car stories: I have taught a handful of people how to drive a manual transmission on this car. Remember, this is a non-synchronized transmission which requires double-clutching. Some may argue I should choose an easier vehicle to teach people how to drive a stick, but I figure if this is what everyone learned on 81 years ago, why can’t people learn on it today?

Favorite drive: I love driving the winding back roads of northern Michigan. The Mighty Model A is at home at 45 mph and I enjoy the scenery of the countryside.

Best and worst moments: The best moment in this car was a recent trip to my hometown in northern Illinois. I took the SS Badger (the last commercially operating steam-powered car ferry) across Lake Michigan and drove down the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan to northern Illinois. The roundtrip boat ride was great and it was a beautiful time to drive through Wisconsin’s countryside full of dairy farms. It was a very relaxing and rejuvenating drive. My worst moment was discovering the block was cracked and having to install a replacement short block. And I’m guessing it will be bittersweet when the “365 Days of A” project comes to an end at Hershey and I go back to driving my contemporary car.


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