Ararat Shriners continue Kansas City swap meet tradition at the Antique Fairgrounds
For as long as I’ve lived in the Kansas City area, there has been a tradition of annual automotive swap meets, and the biggest ones are usually hosted by the Ararat Shriners. They have been held everywhere from the Crown Center parking garages, to the Woodlands, to Worlds of Fun. There were two such events this year, and the last one was at their new location in the Antique Show Grounds in Lathrop, Mo. This venue is a little out of the way (especially with the road construction on I-35 north of Liberty—ugh!), but once you get there, the trip is worth it.
We go to a lot of antique malls and estate sales, and all I’m ever really looking for is car stuff. Nine times out of ten, I don’t find anything. But here, everything was car stuff. Acres of car stuff. And it was all set within this neat fairgrounds that is maintained by the Lathrop Antique Club. Even if the swap meet wasn’t going on, there are all kinds of interesting old trucks, tractors, and farm implements. They even have buildings like vintage gas stations, garages, and churches. Their website says they have a flea market and bingo games. They’ve got a lot of history going on here.
You find some interesting parts out there. These are wire wheel covers that would have been offered as an accessory on a ’53 Oldsmobile. Aftermarket supplier A.S. Campbell and Co. made this style for Buicks, Cadillacs, and Oldsmobiles, but they also made “simulated wire wheels” for Packards, Nashes, and others. Wire wheels were obviously available since the beginning of time, but something like this was a pretty new concept. I doubt I’d choose them over a nice set of Fiesta spinners if I had a ’53 Olds, but they are an unusual thing to see nonetheless.
Here’s a 1971 Buick Electra coupe that was for sale in the car corral. This was an exceptionally nice car with only 53,000 miles on the clock. It didn’t even seem to be rusty under the rear corners of the vinyl top, which is a typical problem even on well-maintained cars of this era. Of course, there is no new car that you could buy that could ever give you fatigue-free cruising like this car. You could have a long commute to work, and fell like you just took a nap when you got there. Unfortunately, that 455 under the hood might force you to get a second job to pay for the gas.
Oscar Mayer made various Wienermobile bank promotional models since the 1950s. They were all roughly 1/25-scale, and all looked more or less like this one. The early ones were built just like an AMT promotional model, with similar chassis and friction motor designs, and a pop-out plastic driver. This one here was made in the late 1980s, and reflects what the famous hot dog car looked like at the time. They’re a pretty fun collectable; I mean, who doesn’t like the Wienermobile?!
There were a few project cars to be had as well. This ’67 Chevelle convertible seemed to draw quite a bit of attention. It had a lot going for it—big block under the hood, four speed, console tach, rally wheels, and Marina Blue paint. The bodywork left something to be desired, though, and it was missing quite a few parts. But this is a desirable car in the most sought-after body style, so you can bet that someone will work out all the issues and have it back on the road in no time.
I didn’t quite get 200 pictures, but I came close. I tried to catch things that I thought would be of interest. Check them out in the slideshow below, or click this link for a better version.