For most of us, restoring a car or truck will involve quite a bit of time spent looking for parts. Certainly online auctions and classified sites have made it much easier to locate parts, but sometimes the old ways are the best: waking up before dawn, standing outside the gate in the cool morning air of the local car swap meet with the faint smell of coffee being enjoyed by our fellow car enthusiasts. Once the gates opened, the real fun began, and the different car swap meet strategies revealed themselves.
Having the right swap meet strategy can help you avoid making costly mistakes and may even assist you in locating the parts you need. Certain parts are great to buy at a swap meet while others may warrant further inspection. Sometimes, simply exchanging contact information is the best course to take. We would all like to think every swap meet vendor is an honest man, and usually they are, but there are always a few ready to weave a tall tale simply to make the sale. Complete engines or internal engine parts often require closer inspection to determine if it’s a usable part, whereas components like intake manifolds can be easier to inspect and are less prone to unseen wear or damage.
We join Mark Simpson at “Mopars in the Park,” a swap meet in St. Paul, MN, where he shares some of his insights on making the most of your time at a car swap meet. Simpson reveals big items like fenders, trunk lids, hoods, and seats are great items to buy at a swap meet to avoid high freight costs and the potential for shipping damage. He also discusses different strategies to cover more area in less time and discover all of the hidden treasures the classic car swap meet has to offer.