Thursday, February 8, 2018

Shopping for car stuff at the 2018 Stones River Swap Meet

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved going to the swap meet. I usually don’t even buy that much stuff, but I enjoy digging around looking for treasure. Last Sunday, the Stones River Swap Meet packed into the Tennessee State Fairgrounds beneath the shadow of the grandstands of the legendary Fairgrounds Speedway. Vendors brought in everything from car parts to wall art; model cars to project cars; worthless junk to priceless merchandise. The weather was a little cool and damp, but the line of people waiting at the ticket booth stretched to about a quarter mile. Turns out I’m not the only one that loves the swap meet.

If you’ve been around this blog awhile, you know I love dealer promotional models. These factory built replicas were commissioned by the auto manufacturers, and typically sold or given away at new car dealerships. They were usually 1/25-th scale representations of actual new cars, finished in factory colors. There were a whole bunch of the shiny little gems on this table. I thought they were a little on the pricey side, which is probably a good thing, because I was able to control myself and not bring any home for a change.

I really liked this ’58 Buick Special two-door hardtop. It was very original, but needed enough things that it would probably be considered a project car. If you didn’t want to completely restore it, the Reef Coral paint would probably polish out pretty nice. The interior was in pretty rough shape though, so anyone that wanted to use this car would have to spring for new seat foam and upholstery. I know it ran, because I saw it driving out of the fairgrounds. Just think about how cool this would be with a set of wide whitewalls and a little TLC.

You never know what kind of rare and valuable parts you might find and the swap meet. Check out these gorgeous 1967 Corvette aluminum wheels on B.F. Goodrich bias-ply redlines. If you had a Midyear Corvette and wanted it to look outstanding, boom, here you go. Sure, they wanted $1,850 for the set of three, and I’ve purchased entire running cars for less than half that, but that’s not the point. It’s really not an unreasonable amount if you really needed them. Heck, I would have bought them if all four were there. And I had an extra $1,850 lying around. And I had a Corvette.

Probably the nicest car that was for sale out there was this ’70 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. This baby had a big ol’ 455-c.i “Rocket” V8 under the hood, but the Cutlass Supreme was skewed toward luxury more than a 442. Viking Blue with white vinyl looks as cool and refreshing as a glacier, and factory air conditioning keeps it as cool as it looks. Unlike most of the cars that were for sale out here, this one was already nicely restored. There isn’t a lot you could do to this one. Just get in and go.

Since the swap meet was on the same property as the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, I thought this model car was particularly interesting. Dad and I were at the 1996 All American 400 race, and during practice we remember seeing Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s late model burn up in spectacular fashion during a practice crash. He ended up borrowing Bobby Hamilton Jr.’s backup car, which was the #43 Ford Thunderbird. Pretty unusual, since the Earnhardts were very much Chevrolet guys at that point. Anyway, they taped the “4” off and ran most of the race until something broke and put them out. And Dale Earnhardt, Jr. never drove a Ford again!

I didn’t go through and take pictures of every little nut and bolt that was for sale during the Stones River Swap Meet, but I did bust off 129 photos of things I thought were shiny and interesting. You can do a little window shopping of your own by clicking this link.

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