Crossing the USA 2023 - Hershey Swap Meet - Ep 2: Classic Restos - Series 54
The Hershey Swap Meet first launched in 1955 and has since become America's largest antique automobile show and flea market, and one of the biggest in the world. The event spans three days and boasts 9,000 vendors, a car corral of 700 spaces, and a car show featuring nearly 1,000 antique cars. The event takes up almost every inch of the 235-acre Hershey Park parking lot at the Giant Center. Rows upon rows of vendors offer a wide range of products, from all things automotive to memorabilia. Be prepared to walk for miles, as the event is vast, much like rows of cornfields.
Fletch moves around the vendors and checks out their offerings. Terry has an array of bumper bars from vehicles of past generations. Denise represents a company that specialises in custom airbrushing and pinstriping; she displays their work, which includes a 1910 Harley Davidson motorcycle that has been airbrushed to look like a barn find. Nostalgia Sid is selling sets of dropped axles and shackles for lowering pick-up trucks, which is a popular modification in both the US and Australia. Paul has a large collection of hood ornaments that he has been collecting for over 40 years from original Desoto models from the late 1920s to early 1930s, and Pontiac models from 1948 to 1955. He even has some new stock ex-dealer ornaments.
Finally, there is Cory who has loads of stuff, including fenders, wheels, and tyres. His grandfather started collecting these items back in the 60s. Cory explains that when they buy up lots from a dealership, they must take everything in the lot and not just pick items out of it. They are primarily focused on Ford with some GM and Mopar bits, but due to the nature of their business, they have a bit of everything.
Cory describes the Hershey Swap Meet as a yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, a week-long party with most vendors coming for decades. He thinks it's great to see this stuff being repurposed, not necessarily for restoration but for garage art. He says it doesn't have to be part of a restoration project.
Part of the Hershey Swap meet is a Car Corral, where Fletch spots two vehicles of interest: a 1979 Cadillac Station Wagon that is quite rare and a 1921 Mercer that has been in the same family since 1937. Unfortunately, it’s not for sale.
Mark from Shannons has always been fascinated by the Hershey Swap Meet ever since he first heard about it. He has visited the event three times now, in 2018, 2019, and most recently in 2023. According to Mark, the scale of the event is massive, with a wild assortment of goods ranging from automotive parts to books, magazines, and memorabilia. One of the best things about Hershey is the people you meet, who are all unique and interesting characters.
On day two of the event, Fletch caught up with John, who had an impressive display of mechanical fuel injection systems for Corvettes. John has been reconditioning these units for over 40 years, including intakes, manifolds, and other related components.
The journey continues...