29th-Annual Stones River Region AACA Swap Meet at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds
Swap meets. I do enjoy them. They’re like the flea market, which I also like, but without all the antique furniture and vintage Christmas decorations. Nothing but the car stuff. Heaven. I’ve been to hundreds of automotive swap meets over the years, and although I don’t tend to buy all that much, there is that occasional treasure I can’t live without. But more than that, it’s just fun to walk around and look at everything. The Stones River Region AACA held their annual swap meet at the Tennessee Fairgrounds last Sunday, and of course, I was there. And thanks to the power of the Internet, you get to go there too.
There are always lots of project cars for sale at these events, like this ’46 Ford Super Deluxe coupe. The condition of this car was sort of like something you’d find on the back row of a used car lot in 1965. It was a little edgy. But somehow, that turned out to be part of its charm. Someone lowered it and fitted up some disc brakes up front. The flathead V8 featured two carburetors. It even had a set of mismatched green seat covers that further gave it the “Honest Abe’s Used Car Emporium” look. But it also had that gritty, illegal moon-runner vibe. Whatever it reminds you of, it was cool. $9500, and it could be yours.
Here’s another interesting flathead-powered Ford. I would have sworn this Model A pickup was built by some high school kid in the ‘50s. I would have been wrong. It was actually built two years ago by a guy who probably was in high school in the ‘50s. The muddy-brown paint had that home-applied look. The ’48 Cadillac sombrero hubcaps and period accessories fit the theme. For a new build, this thing was way more traditional and authentic than your typical rat rod. He had an interesting sales approach to this one. You could buy the whole rig for $25,000, or he’d yank the flathead and you could take just that for $2,000. I hope someone went with the whole truck option, because the entire setup is pretty neat as is.
While we’re on a roll, here’s one more old hot rod that wouldn’t have looked out-of-place in 1955. Sorry blue oval fans, this one is powered by a Chevy small block. Some people complain about that setup being “cookie cutter” now, but back in the day, this would have been a state-of-the-art hot rod. T-buckets-style cars like this one were wildly popular back in the ‘50s thanks to cars like Norm Grabowski’s Kookie Car and TV Tommy Ivo’s racing show roadster. I’m not sure what the origins of this car are exactly, because it has bits and pieces from lots of different things, but it definitely captures “the look”.
I’m a sucker for ‘70s GM Colonnade coupes, so let’s throw a spotlight on this ’74 Cutlass. This is very much in the “project car” category, because it’s roached inside and out. It is fairly rare, though, and if it was nice, it would be something to see. The old car was a real 442, which came with several dazzling trim bits and a beefed-up suspension. This one would have been super pretty when it was new with its white bucket seats and blue carpet. $1,000 was the asking price on this one, although even at that, it was too much of a project for my tastes. If someone had the guts to tackle it, it had the potential for greatness, though.
Of course, since this was a swap meet, there were lots of parts and collectables to rummage through. As a model car guy, this lighted Revell sign was especially intriguing. I mean, what model car builder wouldn’t want this piece to highlight their collection? But alas, it was already sold when I made it to the table. That’s probably a blessing in disguise, though, because the new owner paid $350 for it. That’s well out of my normal operating budget, so it’s good that I didn’t have to face that kind of purchasing dilemma. But man, it sure would have looked nice all lit up behind my models.