MAY 4, 2014: HOW I SPENT MY WEEKEND AT THIS YEAR’S SPRING SWAP MEET

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Our area has held a spring swap meet the first weekend of May every year for many decades.

 

It would be interesting to know what kind of expensive automotive related stuff changed hands over the years at this meet.

 

Think of what might have been found in the midst of all those dismembered car parts 30 or 40 years ago.

 

 

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Think of the project cars (now high priced rarities) that changed owners at a bargain price during a time when their worth was determined to be little more than its scrap value.

 

These are a few of the conversation points that crop up at swap meets when car guys lament the price they got for some of the parts or vehicles they owned in their younger days. The pain they feel over departed cars is still strong enough to compete with their pain of lost romance.

 

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In fact the lost rides may even be a bigger loss for some car guys.

 

The first thing to notice at a swap meet is the stuff in the parking lot. Many car guys will set up shop outside of the building to showcase their project cars and parts.

 

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This year our show included a nice 1957 Ford retractable owned by famous TV pilot and dedicated car guy Buffalo Joe McBryan.

 

The car attracted a lot of interest, even while Joe was not around, because you do not see many of these unique Fords available for sale.

 

There were plenty of project cars inside the building and the prices seemed pretty good in most cases. I liked a 1965 Meteor four door sedan offered for less than five grand at the swap meet.

 

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The car was a driver and required little more than a turn of the key to jump into the old car game. It was not a show winner, but it had the looks of a large mid-60s Ford and the extra doors drove the price down to a bargain level.

 

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The 390 under its hood meant this former family-hauler could likely still haul at today’s highway speeds. My greatest fear for this sedan was its future in the hands of a new owner who slams it and paint it flat black, but that will be their call because I didn’t buy it.

 

Four-door sedans have all of the appeal of a symposium on the viability of the Keynesian model in the European economic strategy for most car guys, but I have been to enough car shows to notice they still draw a lot of attention in their stock form from onlookers. Maybe because most of us served time in them as kids.

 

We set up a meet and greet at the show. I handed out my card to anybody under 50 without the standard question about whether or not they used a computer, but I asked the older car guys before I gave them my card.

 

Most car guys of all ages have become computer savvy enough to get around the Internet in 2014 because it serves a purpose for them: it connects them to a giant online swap meet and car guy community that operates 24/7 and 365 days a year.

 

 

However there are still the holdouts that refuse to buy into the ‘Net because it is some new-fangled nonsense in their humble opinion. These are the same guys who get their wives or buddies to do all the cyber world leg work for them and connect to the ‘Net on their behalf.

 

I like swap meets because they are a meeting place for car guys.

 

Here’s my final point to swap meet vendors…label all of your car parts because it will help you sell your stuff if we know the actual identity of the part.

 

Jim Sutherland

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