Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spotlighting the good stuff at the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall

The Brass Armadillo Antique Mall in Grain Valley, Mo., is big. We're talking 42,000 square-feet big. So if you're just going out there to look for automotive collectables, you're going to have a lot to sift through.

But don't worry. I've done the work for you. I went there this weekend and found the good stuff ... the important stuff ... the car stuff. 

Like many people, my wife and I like to watch the show American Pickers on the History Channel. But it seems like they hone in on stuff that doesn't trip my trigger. Who cares about that raggedy old hay bailer thing? There's a dealer promo model back there. No--back there. Ugh, get it back in range of the camera! What are you guys thinking?!

That's why when I go look at junk, I skip the old street lights and paper mache folk art. Cars are where it's at, baby.

Someplace like the Brass Armadillo can be hot-or-miss. Like during this last visit, the selection of really rare models was limited. I didn't find that mint '49 Oldsmobile dealer promo with its original box, for example.

There were quite a few Tonka trucks of varying degrees of rarity and desirability. A few model kits caught my eye. Tootsie Toys and other durable little cars and trucks are always pretty common. And there were several NASCAR diecasts and little rubber cars.

Of course, this isn't a swap meet or junkyard, so there aren't going to be millions of parts for real cars. Most of them are limited to the stray hubcap or two, or maybe a misplaced hood ornament. Oil cans, wax, and old cleaning products seem to be turning up more often than they used to. That could be a by-product of the Pickers show.

There's always a lot of old license plates around at these places. Sometimes people hack them up and use the letters to make signs or bird houses or purses. You can actually register a same-year vintage tag on an antique car, so a few of them could be used in that manner. There was one old leather Missouri license plate from around 1907 or so that the guy wanted $250 for. I think you'd just have to build a special room in your house for that and display it under a glass dome guarded by a state-of-the-art security system.

I didn't leave completely empty-handed. A Processed Plastics late-'60s Corvette caught my eye, and the $4.95 price tag (plus fifteen-percent off at the counter) worked for my budget. I've always liked those cheap Processed Plastics toys, and they never bring much money. Processed Plastics is an American company that has been in business since 1948, and they're actually still in business today.

The slideshow below has a bunch of pictures of car stuff from my latest visit to the Brass Armadillo. I tried to feature a nice variety of stuff from all over the store. Hope you enjoy the show!


  1. I never would have thought of looking there for car stuff. Thanks!!

  2. not a crashmobile in the bunch. dang.

  3. 69-69 Olds Toronado Police car?? That would make a great find.