|Klinger's Model A
Jonathan Klinger might be driving the oldest company car in the world.
For the past eight months, the 29 year old has been driving a 1930 Model A as his everyday car.
His project, dubbed “365 Days of A,” has him parking his Ford Explorer and Honda Accord and, for one year – with no exceptions for weather or distance – driving the beautiful blue Model A instead.
“It’s something I wanted to do for a few years,” says Klinger, who owns a 1919 Model T and ‘a few other cars.’ “I wanted to show that an old car like this can be driven every day.”
Klinger, public relations manager at Hagerty Insurance, began talking about the project at work. His plan caught the attention of company officials, who decided to sponsor it. So Hagerty bought the Model A from an Indiana owner. Then upgraded it, adding seatbelts, safety glass and radial tires.
“It’s still a stock drive train putting out a whopping 40 horsepower like they did when they were new,” says Klinger with a smile. “It’s a six-volt electrical system, stock headlights – basically a 1930 Model A the way Henry Ford intended them.”
So pretty much every day since October 13 of last year he’s been behind the wheel of the 81-year-old sedan, cruising along at a top speed of about 50 mph. The car not only has reliably handled the 14-mile daily commute between Klinger’s Old Mission home and Hagerty’s downtown TC office it also completed an eight-hour trek to Detroit and two 10-hour jaunts to Chicago. Both journeys were completed without incident.
“I have yet to feel a moment when it’s been a significant hardship,” he says. “It’s only failed to start twice – once it was an electrical problem, and once it was the points.”
The most common question he gets involve winter driving. His answer: “It handles great in the snow. The skinny tires are an advantage, and it has plenty of road clearance. I drove past a lot of four-wheel drives that were in the ditch [this past winter].”
Another benefit to old cars on the road? “My argument is that when people drive older cars they are safer on the roads. The cars aren’t safer, but people drive safer,” he explains. “In a car like this, driving is a two-handed experience. You don’t drive with a burger in one hand and a cell phone in the other, steering with your knees.”
As for convincing the younger generation of an old car’s merits, Klinger has seen firsthand that an old car often speaks for itself.
“I went through a drive-thru the other day and a kid with earrings, piercings and tats was at the window. He’s like ‘Whoa, what is that? How fast does that go? ‘
“The fact that he showed interest is important," says Klinger. "It’s in America’s blood. People like old cars!”
Follow Klinger’s Model A adventure via his blog.