Classic Cars and Antique Parts Meet at the Hershey Swap Meet and Car Show

by Don Elliott on September 25, 2012

Since 1955, the Antique Automobile Club of America Eastern National Fall Meet attracts classic cars, collectors, automobile memorabilia and plenty of curious car aficionados. Each year during the first full week of October, Hershey Pennsylvania is home to one of the biggest car classic car show and flea markets in the country.

My friends Duane and Bill travel to Hershey each year with a load of auto memorabilia and sometimes an antique car or two. Both Duane and Bill are car collectors. Duane always has several classic cars in some stage of restoration, most recently specializing in early 1960’s Mopar cars. He also trades in classic automobile signs and advertising material. Bill likes older cars, especially Packards. The Hershey “Swap Meet” is a mandatory trip for them to locate hard-to-find parts, get advice and to make investments that they can sell elsewhere at a profit.

Getting to the Hershey show requires some advance planning. Finding a room close to Hershey Park is almost impossible without reservations made months or years in advance. However, staying where all the other attendees stay is part of the fun. Making a deal in the hotel parking lot is not out of the question.

Like Duane and Bill, attending the AACA Meet is both a hobby and a business. Lining both sides of the winding parking lot for Hershey Park is the Car Coral where buyers and sellers meet to buy or trade their cars, trucks, scooters, motorcycles and specialty vehicles. Admission is free to both the Car Coral and the Flea Market where shoppers can find almost anything for restoring an old car. Sellers and vendors pay for their space in the Car Coral and Flea Market. Again, planning ahead is the key to snagging a good spot with the most exposure. There are 1,500 Car Coral spaces and 9,000 30’ X 10’ spaces available.

Duane and Bill will set up their Flea Market space on Tuesday along with the other vendors. Pre-sale activity amongst the Flea Market vendors starts almost right away with the actual Car Coral and Flea Market beginning at 7:00 AM on Wednesday, October 10. It is a long hike from the parking area so shoppers are encouraged to bring sturdy bags and carts to haul off their purchases.

It is almost unheard of to bring together thousands of antique and classic car collectors without a memorabilia and auto auction. RM Auctions will host car auction on both Friday and Saturday evenings at the Hershey Lodge. The sale kicks off on Friday at 6:00. The first lot offered is a collection of automotive smoking memorabilia. The cars come later featuring some classics like a 1931 Stutz SV-16 Cabriolet and ending with a 1949 GMC 150 3/4 –Ton Pickup Truck. The Saturday show also starts at 6:00 PM. Both nights at the auto auction will run 4-5 hours.

Last year, Duane and Bill found an antique car sign that they tried to buy for $800. Unfortunately, another buyer was there with cash in hand and got the sign before them. That same sign sold at auction this past summer for $4500. This year they are taking more cash!

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