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Hagerty crew resurrects old Ford pickup truck from spare parts during Hershey Swap Meet


The newly rebuilt 1946 Ford pickup heads out on its 700-mile maiden voyage | Hagerty photos
The newly rebuilt 1946 Ford pickup heads out on its 700-mile maiden voyage from Hershey | Hagerty photos

For those of us with never-ending restoration projects stacked up in the garage, Hagerty’s “Swap Meet to Street” challenge of building a drivable vintage truck in 95 hours from a pile of parts and auto-shop supplies is doubly impressive.

Hagerty’s team of classic car experts started out with a bare rolling chassis and the beat-up cab of a 1946 Ford pickup truck and, using only parts they sourced from last weekend’s Hershey Swap Meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania, brought it back to life. When they finished, they drove the truck from Hershey to Hagerty’s Traverse City, Michigan, headquarters – a journey of 700 miles.

Yes, they made it.

The Hagerty crew takes a break to pose for a team photo
The Hagerty crew takes a break to pose for a team photo in Hershey

Total cost for the demonstration project: less than $10,000. But lots of hands-on labor by the four Hagerty Insurance and Valuation employees, each of whom brought a different area of expertise to the build.

The team was comprised of Tara Hurlin, a content writer who builds vintage hot rods; Matt Lewis, an analyst with a background in automotive electronics; parts-supply specialist Devin Rekow, who builds race cars; and Brad Philips, a Hagerty client-relations manager who is also a vintage rally-car driver.

“I’m typically at home tinkering on my cars by myself,” Phillips said in a news release. “So it was really great to work together with the team to finish this project.”

The team did have a slight leg up to start off, with the rolling chassis already prepared with refurbished brakes and suspension, and they were able to buy basic supplies – fluids, filters and bulk electric wire – from an auto-parts store. But every other part was sourced on site from the Hershey Swap Meet, using either stock or modified parts for the truck, depending on what was available.

“The camaraderie and level of engagement – both onsite and from those watching the live stream across the globe – were truly inspiring,” Hurlin said in a news release. “It was great to see automotive enthusiasts uniting together to help us with the build by spending their time sorting parts and providing tips. We even had people drop-off donated parts because they really wanted to see us finish the truck.”

You can watch the build taking place in a series of time-lapse videos that can be viewed on YouTube.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.
  1. How much is it to find all these different truck parts to resurrect a truck like the kind that you have? I would love to do this for a summer project, but I think it would be really hard because the parts are hard to come by. I wonder if I will ever be able to find the right parts or not.

  2. My husband has an old Ford truck that used to belong to his grandpa. He has been trying to restore it, so I bet he would enjoy your story. I have to tell him how a group of guys were able to accomplish the task for under$10,000!

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