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Like most areas, we have several swap meets in our car guy town.


The best of them in our city occurs annually in early May.


It is the biggest of our annual swap meets and the organizers don’t hold you up with a gun at the door for admission ($ 2.00).


So why do car guys get excited about this kind of swap meet when Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice clearly had a different kind of swap meet in mind during the late 60s?


Natalie Wood aside, the car swap meets are more interesting to the participants.


The possibilities are endless at a swap meet. That elusive chrome trim piece or inside door handle assembly may be lying in a pile of random parts that have little significance to the seller. But the buyer may have found his personal Holy Grail in that junk pile.


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And there is indeed plenty of junk in the piles that the seller views in a very expensive- and highly delusional light. That is the allure of the swap meet that draws so many people through the doors.


Buyer meets seller and together they try to negotiate a price that allows both parties to sleep that night. Nobody wants to leave excess blood in this game and both want a knockout victory in the swap meet ring.


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Typically a seller paid nothing- or the next house over from nothing- for the car parts or parts car. But that doesn’t mean that the guy should not make some money for his efforts. The question of the day is how much is his stuff worth?


Part of the charm of a swap meet is the cluttered pile of parts lying on so many tables. It is also its biggest curse.


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There are many among us who have limited skills for year, make and model parts identification-make that no skills. Sure we can identify a water pump or generator, but we have no idea under which hood and which year the part was put on a Detroit assembly line car.


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We live in quiet envy of our more talented car guy brethren who are like human Wikipedias to us. It is our hidden shame.


The easiest fix would be a concerted effort by sellers to label their parts. Cut us some slack boys and keep the guessing game out of the equation for your business.


Simply stated, this would give your customers a racer’s edge when it comes to your product and it is a simple solution to a common swap meet problem.


Most car guys can’t really afford to bring a CSI-style automotive forensics team to a swap meet, so clear labels on parts would help gentlemen-just sayin.


Anyhow, lure of this kind of swap meet will always be there for car guys…we have no comment about the other kind.


Jim Sutherland

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TREV:”Swap Meet = Risky Business! My swap meet story will remind every one of the risks involved buying parts at a swap meet. I was looking for a pair of fender skirts for my 61 Impala. I found one table that had a pair that said were for a 1962 chev, another table had just one skirt that claimed it fit a 61 Chev. I purchased the skirt that was by itself because it was dirt cheap ($20.00) I took it to the table that had the pair and discovered the they were exactly alike. So what were they for? 61 or 62 ! It had been two years since I did the quarters on the Impala and I was having trouble remembering exactly what the wheel opening looked like.I decided to get a ride home and test fit the $20.00 skirt. If it fit I would gladly pay the $100.00 for the matching set. As I was leaving I saw the guy sell the $100.00 set, so I was bummed all afternoon wondering if I lost out by being to cautious. When I arrived home I took the $20.00 so called 61 Chev skirt and as I suspected it was not even close. From being cautious I do not have to find a spot on the wall to hang a pair of 62 chev skirts. On the other side of the coin, I met a guy who was trying to sell a 1960 Caddy 2dr HT, He said he would give me a hell of a deal $1500.00 Stupidly I said I’ll get back to you. Less than 48 hr later I made up my mind. Even though I have three projects in waiting I decided it was too good of a deal to pass up on, so at 11 pm on Sunday eve, I sent an e-mail to make a deal on the car as I have always wanted one since the Stray Cats recorded a song called “Look at That Cadillac” Prematurely I e-mailed some car buddys proudly claiming that it was finally happening! I was getting a big ole Cadillac! The next morrning when I checked my e-mails I was told that the car had been sold. Thus the saying “You Snooze,You Lose!”