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Hagerty’s “Swap to Street Challenge” returns to Hershey in 2016

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The 1930 Ford Model A chassis, starting point for this year’s Hagerty Swap to Street Challenge. Photos courtesy of Hagerty.

Hagerty Insurance wants consumers to know its employees are passionate about classic cars. As proof, at last year’s Hershey Fall Meet, a team of four Hagerty employees assembled a 1946 Ford pickup in four days, before driving it back to Traverse City, Michigan. This year, the “Swap to Street Challenge” returns to Hershey, with four Hagerty employees (including two new volunteers) attempting to build a complete Ford Model A from a 1930 rolling chassis and non-functional engine in the same four days, from parts procured exclusively on site.

The build, which begins at noon Eastern time on Tuesday, October 4, will stream live, allowing the curious to view the entire assembly process as it unfolds. Step one will likely be diagnosing the engine’s ills, as it isn’t yet clear if the current banger can be brought back to life. Assuming it can be saved, the next steps will be the procurement of a body and other needed mechanical and electrical bits, along with a healthy sampling of spare parts. If a new engine is needed, there are certainly worse places to look than the Hershey swap meet.

1930 Ford Model A

The Ford’s four-cylinder, which isn’t running at the moment.

The car once wore a roadster body, but maintaining originality isn’t a consideration during a 96-hour build. If a roadster shell can’t be found at Hershey, the team will need to improvise with what’s available on the grounds. Since Model A frames were, for the most part, the same, almost any body from any Model A production year should fit, with a few modifications. Like last year’s pickup truck, which included the cab, hood and fenders from the start, the end result may not be pretty – but it needs to be functional. Once again, the Hagerty team will attempt to drive the completed car back to Michigan, a distance of roughly 750 miles.

The 1930 Ford Model A was one of three project car finalists selected by Hagerty. A 1937 Plymouth was under consideration, but the potential scarcity of parts at Hershey (and en route to Traverse City) prompted the team to cross this off the list. A 1956 Chevrolet station wagon was the other option, but Tri-Five Chevy parts are still less common (and potentially more expensive) than Model A bits. The availability of parts, and the mechanical simplicity of the Ford, ultimately won out. When parts need to be fabricated (and based upon last year’s build, this is a certainty), creating something for the Model A is potentially less taxing than engineering a part for the other two.

Time lapse video of last year’s 1946 Ford pickup build.

Returning to the build team for 2017 will be Davin Reckow, who works as a parts specialist for Hagerty and races a slingshot dragster in his spare time; and Brad Phillips, a Hagerty client relations manager who restores cars on the side. Joining them will be Brett Lirones, who works as a marine underwriter for the company when not laboring on vintage outboard motors; and Randy Clouse, a Hagerty fleet specialist who wrenches on his 1975 Suzuki RE 5 rotary-engine motorcycle for fun.

To watch the build live (after noon on October 4), visit