I thought I’d take a moment to recommend another blog. 365DaysofA is Jonathan Klinger’s good-natured attempt to prove that his grandfather isn’t so tough by using a 1930 Ford Model A as his daily driver for an entire year. To be fair, to really prove his point he would have to follow up this endeavor by hopping on a boat and taking part in the largest amphibious invasion the world has ever seen, or perhaps take a life-and-death, all-expenses-paid (by the government) trip to a handful of godforsaken booby-trapped rocks in the middle of the Pacific. Still, driving an 80-year-old car for a year in Northern Michigan (including a 1000 mile snowy Thanksgiving trip to Chicago) is an admirable feat, especially considering that he has placed his modern cars in long-term storage to eliminate the temptation to cheat on cold, snowy mornings.
This is what it’s all about. I’m sure there are some curmudgeons out there bemoaning the fact that an antique is being driven on salted roads and subjected to everyday wear and tear. But Mr. Klinger is doing something very cool – using an old car as it was originally intended. As much as I would like to stop my cars from rusting into oblivion, the plain truth is that most cars are disposable commodities. No one would care if this Model A was sitting in a garage 350 days out of the year and only puttered around the block on sunny weekends, but I’m sure seeing an 80-year-old piece of machinery navigate a Michigan winter turns some heads. Anyway, my point is: if you’re not driving it, what’s the point of having a unique car?
From my gearheaded standpoint, one of the most interesting things about this project is learning about 1930’s technology, including interior heaters that use exhaust manifold heat and wrapping rope through the spokes of the open wheels for snow traction. Mr. Klinger is making a point of not deviating from any period equipment (with the exception of lights for safety’s sake), so he’s having fun dealing with leaking rope seals and a noisy speedometer, but it sounds like he’s having a blast. I’ve never doubted that my grandparents were/are tougher than I am, but it’s nice to be reminded of that fact.