When I was a wee lad in the ‘70s going to swap meets with my dad, the two biggies were the Carlisle and Hershey, Pennsylvania, meets. The general rule of thumb was that Carlisle was for 1955 and up car guys and Hershey was for 1954 and down to the invention-of-the-wheel car guys. As a teenager, I used to work at Steve and Bev’s Obsolete Chevy parts and worked all the Northeast swap meets including these two, but I was always into the ‘50s and ‘60s, cars so I always went to Carlisle when I had the chance.
This past fall, I was making my plans on going to Fall Carlisle as usual and called all my friends and no one could go except Johnny Sparkle, but he wanted to go to Hershey as he’s really into pre WWII cars. Seeing as how I hadn’t been to Hershey for like 30 years, I agreed to meet him there. We stayed at what we now call the “murder motel” but that’s a story for another time; don’t let John book your room.
I was all packed with my boots and rain gear. I was used to the wet muddy grass fields. But when we got to the swap meet, it was in a vast paved parking lot area! My feet were killing me and the weather was fantastic! I had no idea the meet moved to the parking lots. I just wish I would have brought my sneakers.
The stuff we saw was fantastic. For some reason, there were a butt load of old Packards everywhere, a few old Teens and Twenties American motorcycles, even an old rotary aircraft engine. I love all this kind of stuff and by not going to Hershey, I’ve been missing out for a lot of years, it seems.
I would have to say that most vendors had their stuff reasonably priced also, like a very nice 1932 Ford 2-door sedan body with fenders for 10 grand. A fiberglass one would cost more!
A point I have to make is that if you bring the girlfriend or wife along, well there’s Hershey chocolate all over the place and there are things for the ladies to do in town or at the amusement park while you and the guys dig through oil soaked apple boxes full of greasy old car parts.
So make the trip to the swap meet, get off eBay, and haggle with the guy cleaning out his garage. The old guys have all the cool stuff and they don’t go online. There is still great stuff to be had out there. Good luck gang!
By Fritz Schenck