Ford Model A’s Amazing Reverse Road Trip | July 26th, 1930 | Today in Ford Motor Company History

3340-Mile Reverse Drive from New York to Los Angeles

On July 26th, 1930, two adventurous souls embarked on an audacious feat that would leave a mark in automotive history. Charles Creighton and James Hargis, both automobile enthusiasts, set out on a remarkable journey from New York City to Los Angeles in their Ford Model A 1929 Roadster. However, this was no ordinary road trip. What made their expedition truly extraordinary was that they achieved this feat in reverse, covering the entire distance of 3340 miles without once stopping the engine. The daring duo would go on to amaze the world with their determination and mechanical prowess. 

The 1920s were a golden age of automobiles, and long-distance road trips were becoming increasingly popular as a way for individuals to experience the vastness of their country. Inspired by this spirit of adventure and determined to create a feat that would stand out, Creighton and Hargis devised a plan that would put their driving skills and endurance to the ultimate test. 

Ford Model A roadster
1929 Ford Model A Roadster

With a Ford Model A 1929 Roadster as their chosen steed, the intrepid travelers set off from the bustling streets of New York City. Driving in reverse is no simple task; it requires precise handling, constant vigilance, and a complete reversal of one’s driving instincts. The steering, acceleration, and braking would be diametrically opposite to what they were used to. But Creighton and Hargis were determined to conquer this challenge. 

As they rolled out of the city, the duo attracted bewildered gazes and curious onlookers. Many questioned the purpose behind such an unconventional journey, while others admired the spirit of adventure displayed by these two pioneers. With a sense of humor and adventure, they christened their unique expedition the “Backward Banzai.” 

The journey itself was fraught with numerous challenges. Navigating through bustling city streets and congested highways in reverse required immense skill and nerves of steel. Creighton and Hargis had to rely on detailed maps and a keen sense of direction to stay on course. U-turns were out of the question, and the duo had to carefully plan their route to avoid dead-ends and difficult-to-navigate roads. 

As they left the East Coast behind and ventured into the heartland of America, they encountered both support and skepticism. Local newspapers carried stories of their journey, and people gathered along the roadside to witness this unusual spectacle. Some cheered them on, while others shook their heads in disbelief. But the determined duo pressed on, undeterred by the challenges and opinions. 

To ensure they could keep the engine running continuously, they devised a clever refueling system. A specially designed fuel tank extension allowed them to replenish gasoline without halting their progress. This ingenuity, combined with their mechanical prowess, enabled them to keep the Model A’s engine purring throughout the entire journey. 

As they crossed vast landscapes, from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the scorching deserts of the Southwest, they faced ever-changing terrain and weather conditions. But their determination and passion for the open road kept them going. 

On the seventeenth day of their journey, the “Backward Banzai” finally rolled into Los Angeles. The news of their incredible achievement had preceded them, and a crowd of admirers and journalists awaited their triumphant arrival. They had successfully covered the 3340-mile distance in reverse, a feat never before attempted, let alone accomplished. 

Charles Creighton and James Hargis had etched their names in history, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations of adventurers and automobile enthusiasts. Their extraordinary journey proved that with determination, innovation, and a willingness to challenge convention, humans could achieve the seemingly impossible. 

The “Backward Banzai” not only showcased the capabilities of the Ford Model A but also exemplified the adventurous spirit that defines America’s love affair with the open road. Creighton and Hargis demonstrated that with a dream and a drive to push the boundaries, one could turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. 

Today, their remarkable journey is remembered and celebrated by automotive enthusiasts, serving as a reminder that sometimes, the road less traveled can lead to the most exceptional adventures. So, on this day, let us tip our hats to the daring duo of Charles Creighton and James Hargis, whose 17-day, 3340-mile journey in reverse redefined the possibilities of the American road trip. 



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