Hershey AACA Fall Swap Meet 2017

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

On the east coast, we often look forward to fall for many reasons, but few actually outweigh the AACA fall swap meet. Just about anything involving wheels or an engine can be found here, and there are always unusual, rare, and amazing finds that trickle out of the wood work. While many get the chance to take part in this great event, many of us unfortunately miss out on this fabulous yearly event. So I am bringing some brief highlights of some of the interesting items I found that really appealed to my taste. For those not familiar, this swap meet takes place in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

A little bit of “everything” can be found at Hershey. Cars, motorcycles, bicycles, engines, outboards, signs, and other antique items. Whether you are looking for a Lincoln V12 block, or a new wrench, you can generally find it here. Also there are often grand deals to be made from sellers that have come from all over the country, and buyers from all around the world.

Barn Finds were plentiful at the swap, as even barn found taxidermy Chickens were present.

Many Beautiful cars were in the “flea market” section looking for new homes like this ’37 Ford. Unfortunately like several of the cars there, the price was not listed for this stunning Ford.

Could you imagine being the lucky kid who received this Caterpillar Pedal bull dozer? With functional tracks, and even a small tool box, this child’s toy goes above and beyond as a stellar pedal car.

If you are more into traditional pedals cars, or you like art deco styling this snazzy little number may be just what you are looking for. With a charming appearance, a nice array of lines and coloring, this was one of many breath taking pedal cars to choose from.

If pedal cars aren’t at the focus of your interests, perhaps this ’39 Buick Special may capture your attention. In running and driving condition, this Buick is a solid survivor with a great appearance, and is offered for the reasonable price of $5,995.

Minor signs of age and wear are reflected within this fine sedan, making the asking price seem even more like a bargain for this ready to drive classic.

No rust or rot was present on this Buick. In fact the only visible damage was some chipped paint, and touch up behind the front license plate area. The chrome was lovely, and the paint was very reasonable for being a driver grade car. Like so many cars here, they are hard to leave behind.

If you are like me, you likely need to focus on completing projects versus picking up new ones. Whatever you may be looking for, or needing, is likely here at Hershey. If it isn’t here, then there is likely someone here who knows someone, or can point you in the direction of whatever your heart desires.

Sometimes it’s the little things that don’t even affect the drivability of your car that you wish you could find. Whether you are looking for radios, restoration parts, door handles, emblems, or exhaust manifolds the AACA fall swap meet has got you covered. New, used, refurbished, or restored, there are a ton of parts here to keep all of the worlds unique classic cars chugging right along.

For those shopping for a bump in performance, that is here too. There are plenty of desirable carb set ups here to get your project scootin’ a little quicker than it was before. One thing that I can’t stress enough is to make the time to search far and wide here, as you will often see something that you have never seen before in your entire life, and then 5 rows over see that same item again in a different vendor space.

There are cars available from every era, size, and fuel. This 1923 Moon 6-40 Touring car caught my eye with its beautiful color scheme and solid interior. But don’t be fooled, there is likely something here for everyone, as there are early American automobiles for sale as well as European classics, up to 80’s era German cars. (Although cars from the 80’s are typically a bit new for this event.)

While some of us hunt for “just that one part” that we can’t live without, some folks have their dream cars finished and all they need is a cool habitat for it to live in. Signs are always a great way to deck out a garage space and there are some unique and awesome signs here to choose from. This once neon sign was changed from “D&J’s” to “Maine’s Used Cars.” It would be wonderful to see the neon reworked on this unique sign.

If you are into more “mainstream” signs, perhaps this awesome Chrysler Sign will meet your needs. In great shape with no cracking or major damage, this massive Chrysler sign was offered for $550.

 

If the two wheeled variety is what you desire, there are plenty of motorcycles and bicycles to be found here. This Knucklehead, and WLD racer were sitting pretty in the sun, getting a lot of attention.

Bicycles ranging from the 1880’s up into the 1970’s can be found at the event. After you spend most of the day walking around a bicycle really starts to sound like a sweet ride for checking out all of the flea market section.

I am a bicycle fan, so I picked up this early 1900’s wood rim bike for a deal that I couldn’t pass up. In the time I spent walking around I found the remainder of the missing parts needed to make this bicycle a rider once again.

Strange and obscure items find their way to Hershey every year always making it a grand treat to see what may turn up. This incredible bicycle from the turn of the last century appeared in phenomenal survivor condition. What makes it so special is its size, and wheel size. 28’ wheels were the standard of the time, but this bike features 36” wheels! I am 5’10” and as you can see, this bike is massive! How many of you have been lucky enough to attend Hershey, and what amazing items did you find in your search?

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Comments

  1. Dan

    Walked til my knees screamed…..shew….

    10+

  2. Ginger

    I was amazed at the variety of things available for purchase! I found a beautiful antique dress that would have been worn in a Model T! Fabulous time!

    7+

  3. Geoffrey

    it’s amazing when you are looking at an old rusty wrench then you walk two feet and there’s a $700K car. Great place to shop.

    6+

  4. Nathan Avots-Smith Staff

    A once in a lifetime experience…that happens every year! I got to go a couple of times when I lived in VA/DC—even drove up in my Corvair one year, a really lovely fall drive—and would love to go again. A bit overwhelming, and yes, a LOT of walking, but just incredible finds.

    3+

  5. Danny

    Isn’t that a1938 Ford?

    2+

  6. Bob

    It is either a 38 Ford Deluxe, or a 39 Ford Standard. I am only going by the front end. The 39 will have hydraulic brakes.

    3+

  7. Dallas

    I had the last minute opportunity to attend this year but had too many things to do at home. Kinda wake up call to stay ahead of projects so I can jump on the opportunity when it presents itself again “hopefully”. I have been impressed with all the coverage on here and Instagram.

    3+

  8. Jim O

    One that I didn’t buy but kind wished I at least talked to the guy and see if he’d come off the 25k asking price

    6+

    • Ginger

      Haha! Yes the Chicken Dinner Candy Bar Car!! It was so cool to see it in person and see the fleet the original modification company made in the photos! It had a speaker in its backside and I can only imagine fried chicken scent emmanated from somewhere! 😂

      2+

  9. Jim O

    I did however find some stuff for the collection

    4+

  10. Jim O

    This was my best pick. A little pricey but it’s works including the neon

    4+

  11. cudaman

    My friend from South Georgia will be there today…….

    2+

    • Ginger

      It’s a beautiful day for it! And today prices may drop since the show ends tomorrow!

      1+

  12. redwagon

    Geez, why have a show called American Pickers and tour the country when everything you would find is right in Hershey? And you know folks are there bc they want to sell.

    4+

    • Ginger

      And the prices were very reasonable, often surprising, and negotiable! It’s an education in itself! You see things you’ve only read about, and the vendor is happy to fill in the details! It’s just so much fun!

      2+

  13. David C

    Wow I’m envious. Living here in Ga. we have some swap meets but nothing like Hershey.

    1+

    • Jeffro

      Where in GA ? I’m from Macon.

      0

      • GOPAR

        Twice a year at the airport in Moultrie, Ga., in November and in February.

        0

      • Oldcarsarecool

        Former Altoona, PA resident living in Athens, GA now. I always enjoyed going to a Carlisle or Hershey event. Great memories . . .

        0

  14. Pa Tina

    I’m glad I didn’t grow up in France. The Michelin Tire Man would have scarred me for life.

    3+

  15. Cman

    Here’s a crazy idea…how about tell us about the event in advance? Would add a good deal of value for your readers. I’d rather learn about an event and attend, rather than read about an event and all the cool finds I missed.

    11+

    • flmikey

      If you are a car guy (or gal) you know about Hershey….well in advance….

      6+

    • Ginger

      It is the first week of October! You must make hotel or camping arrangements FAR in ADVANCE to get rooms for the event! Start planning now! You’ll have the best time! We had delicious food too, quite reasonable! Huge bbq chicken breasts and ribbon potatoes for 2 for $15! Scrumptious!!

      3+

      • Cman

        Thanks Ginger. I will.

        I knew about the event when I was teenager, but my “car guy” career took me in a different direction over the past few decades…like winning LeMans and Daytona.

        Flmikey ought not question my “car guy” credentials.

        6+

      • Pa Tina

        Going to need some details on the LeMans and Daytona references. Photos would be nice.

        1+

    • Alan Brase

      Well, good idea. Perhaps BARN FINDS can put up another header for EVENTS?
      I’ve been watching for years, always wanted to go the Hershey.
      So, anyone in the know, please tell me more about lodging:
      Camping maybe (I have a Westy and a popup Apache.)
      Logistics. How do I get my purchases back to my vehicle.
      Stamina and preparation: I am in my 60’s and 4-6 hours on my feet is a challenge. Yes I have learned about sunblock, big hats, bottled water.
      Any other advice?
      Recently I have been to a meet in central Nebraska (Kearny, maybe?) Also Iola, Wisconsin.
      What are the real “bucket list” places? Hershey. Maybe some similar events at Carlisle? I’m a German car nut, Porsche, VW, so that big one in California, Pomona.

      4+

      • Ginger

        Hershey Park has a very nice campground with shutte service to the event which is free and saves you $15 a day event parking. You must rent the camp site for the week. Things we bought went into cloth bags which also held our sunblock, water, snacks and car keys. A rolling grocery type metal basket or a box on a dolly with bungees works great for bigger items. There is a printed program with vendors identified by products sold, ie. Bikes, Ford, Mopar, etc. so you can plan your route. There are food courts and shade to rest in. Don’t forget your hat and aspirin for mid day. At night, there are nice restaurants nearby, buffet style and fast food. It’s an adventure! Take it easy, there are plenty of days. AACA has this down to a fine art after 40 plus years of sponsoring this event. It is smooth as silk! Get ready!! Now go!! 😃

        4+

      • CATHOUSE

        This event has actually been going on for about the past 63 years.

        1+

  16. Terry J

    Been there once. Over 150 acres, 9,000 vendor spaces, 1,000 car sale spaces, 1500 show cars. It is huge. I wandered around ALL day in a daze. If you went there looking for some specific small part, I’m sure you would suffer eye, neck and brain damage. Most memorable car for sale? A well engineered mid engined 409 powered Corvair. 🙂 Terry J

    3+

  17. Moparman

    For those of us that live in Georgia (and surrounding states), there is a huge swap meet coming up 17-19 November in Moultrie, GA, about 195 miles south of Atlanta. I’ve never been, but am planning to go this time! 🙂

    1+

    • Jeffro

      Been there. It was spectacular!

      1+

  18. Catherine Horsfall

    We were there 25 years ago. Back then it catered more to the older car crowd. Carlisle is more for the muscle car crowd, although there is a lot of overlap between the two events. Hershey is the week after Carlisle, so many vendors attend both shows. We have been attending Carlisle for 30 years and hope to combine the two shows next year.

    2+

    • G-man

      Moved to PA 27 years ago, I live about 15 minutes from Carlisle, less than 30 minutes from Hershey and love both shows. If you go to either one, there is so much to see that you’ll wish your head were mounted to you neck with a swivel.

      0

  19. Dan

    We went Thursday after driving up from Texas, and had a blast. Model T and Model A cars and parts still appear to rule at Hershey. Very little hot rod stuff. Loaded up on some 8 track players and tapes! And I fell in love with this car.

    1+

    • Ginger

      I believe you could have come with a pocket full of money and built a model T piece by piece!!! They had EVERYTHING T related there including different old body styles! The Carlisle fall show the week before just 30 miles SE had lots of MUSCLE car stuff!

      0

    • Michael

      I had to stand on my head to look at that car….and it was worth effort. What a great car.

      0

  20. Martin

    Wouldn’t miss it ,found some hupcapps for my Scotty ,but I find U find some rare stuff but overall I find the same stuff up here ,Ont. a lot cheaper a lot of stuff is way over priced but it’s fun seein old freinds .

    0

  21. CATHOUSE

    I would have to say that I am one of the lucky ones, I only live about 10 miles from Hershey so I have been going there for many years. The second photo with all the hubcaps is a friend of mine’s space. I saw the Cat pedal dozer too, quite the price tag on that one. More than some were asking for an actual car. Care to take a guess at the asking price? The photo of the large Chrysler sign is of the booth that I was working at for the show. Another fun show now in the books. Next year will be here before we know it though.

    0

  22. Lee

    My Dad took me to Hershey in the late ’50s. The flea market at that time only took up about half the football field.

    0

  23. Michael

    This year’s Hershey was the best weather ever….maybe even a little too hot and a bit too sunny. Can you believe that? A Hershey AACA Fall meet and no rain? Not possible.
    My take, this year, was that there seemed to be less people walking around on the swap meet fields, however, there seemed to be more cars and trucks than ever for sale in the car corral and then there seemed to be lots of sales happening. On Saturday a.m. the best of the best cars came out for the AACA judging. And once again there seemed to be lots more cars on the judging field that morning and no doubt about it…the attendance on Saturday morning for the judging event was huge.

    The annual AACA Fall Meet at Hershey is the pinnacle of car collection swap meets and certainly so for the oldest and most unique cars and trucks of the past century. But it’s not just old car and vintage truck parts…there’s the unusual and the odd. I saw a used cast iron coffin with a window in the top….didn’t want to ask what the owner was expecting for that item. In past years I’ve seen a hip replacement joint for sale, Old Geiger counters, an original working Philco TV and loads of old gas pumps, oil cans, etc. This year’s weird item was a six foot tall space alien mannequin…. Also saw a Tucker auto radio for sale….just don’t know if I could find or afford the Tucker that it deserves to be installed in.

    I’ve been going with hometown buddies for quite a few years…we travel six hours to get there and stay for all the events for most of the week.

    It’s great fun and we look forward to it every year.

    0

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