Are the flea markets turning into dying shows due to internet. I noticed that the automotive flea markets are being downsized due to the internet.The older folks are dying off, The parts business are selling off their wares to their competitors to get out of the flea market business. The shows sell tools toys and chinese junk and the spectators are just walkers.
Isn't so in our areas. Big auto swap meets are growing and expanding. But.....the expanse is with more modern stuff. Street rods, 60's-70's pickups, '57 chv**$, muscle cars, etc. Nearby ones are Charlotte Auto Fair, twice a year shows in Moultrie GA and now Perry GA, plus big ones in central FL. Old Ford things are slim pickings nowadays, but can be found, along with complete T's for sale too in the car corals.
As for Model T stuff, Hershey, Chickasha, Bakersfield (yet to get there!) and now Luray VA pre-war swaps will be the places to be for the ole Ford.
Some parts just have to be fondled in person and inspected, sheet metal, and other goodies. Internet is good for many little T parts, but hunting at a swap and bartering for the item is what parts buying and swapping is all about.
Yes. I've resotred a 42 Ford GPW military jeep, built a .50 cal machine gun trailer from scratch and am well into a 1915 Model T creation. I've been to some swap meets and flea markets and haven't bought a part.
I get all that I need with the click of a button and a credit card number.
If someone is looking for the rare part and it shows up on the web, they better grab it or it's headed overseas. Some guys take parts to sell at swap meets and my impression is that most of them "don't do the Internet". So it's the only way to sell their stuff.
The few swap meets I have been to, it's the same large vendors selling the same stuff they sell on line. Or the cheap tool and nuts and bolts guys selling sandpaper and drill bits for one time use.
I have had vendors tell me that they sel the same amount if they stay home and answer emails then they do at a large show and have to pay for gas, hotel, meals and load and unload all their stuff.
You guys must be going to the wrong meets. I may not find what I'm looking for, but I always find good stuff at Hershey, Iola, and Chickasha. Last month I went to Bakersfield. I wasn't looking for any particular item, but came home with a few nice goodies. Yes, the internet has cut into the meets, but they still have some nice buys.
There is a lot of the junk stuff at the local swap meets in my area but you find a good part occasionally. You have to look (HARD) and at a lot of swap meets. I have a hard time taking off at work to go to most of the big 4 or 5 swAp meets. Tim
It is pretty slim pickings on the west side of Washington trying to find antique car parts. There are few Model T vendors and a few vendors that sell old hubcaps and wrenches, but that's about all you will find over here.
We do the larger shows as a vendor Spring & Fall Carlisle Fall Hershey since 1973 and we noticed that the most of the catalog companies just hand out catalogs only or they don't bother with the flea markets anymore. We also noticed that the crowds are just walkers not buyers last year Hershey the crowds were on the lighter side than normal. We gave up on the smaller shows because they downsized the show because the vendors gave it up. We can make more money online. It doesn't pay to be there. Space costs, gas, other expenses to do the shows.
When I was actively doing all the swap meets up until about 10 years ago, I did notice an increase in dealers who just do the rounds of all the swap meets with the same stuff - the new tools, the repro signs, model cars, the car service manuals, etc. Different time, different location, but exactly the same stuff I've seen before.
There was also an increase in what are really antique dealers, who obviously use ebay as a price guide (so you see them again and again with stuff they never sell).
What did decrease are the really good car parts - and I was informed that they "get a better price on ebay". Not that I'm really bothered because I prefer to buy most of my T parts new anyway.
The attraction for me is the non car related garage sale type junk - this is where I find obscure things, and with the owner usually not knowing what they are, go for a good price. The "any item on this table for $1" stalls are always good. This aspect doesn't seem to have been affected by ebay so much.
Walking around looking at other people's stuff is just plain old fun!
The Bellwood flea market in Richmond va use to be great for finding car stuff,lawn equipment,household stuff. Now it's all clothing,vegetables,knives,and cowboy boots and hats. And you better speak Spanish.
Let me weigh in on the swap meet scene. My 1st Hershey was in 1969. I was at the 1st Chickasha, and the 1st Bakersfield. Also local swap meets too numerous to mention over the years.
Hershey used to the holy grail, Now it is mostly a parking lot for big motor homes and campers. If they got rid of the rv parking on the fields they could do very nicely with the /chocolate and the possibly the field in front of the arena. Lets look at what the allow to be sold these days. The old rules were pre war, 90% automotive, today wifey can bring her yard sale garbage and kids toys and dishes. The rule of thumb for the Hershey region is sell the stall get the money regardless of what is in the stall. They used to police the stalls and content now just give them the money. They don't give a damn its all about the money. So the quality of product is gone way down so much chrome it will blind you on a sunny day. That said you can still find good stuff and buys but it takes forever to find the 1 or 2 goodies, after tripping over the garbage and junk.
Chickasha has so damn many rules its has become a joke, from what it was when Joe Ersland started it. Its a mere shadow of its prior self and soon it will be just a good memory. If you want proof you just have to look at the photos of 2016,just look at the photos of the main building this year, far more empty stalls than vendors. Remember a few years back when the main building was full the old buildings were full as well as the grass areas front and back were full of vendors. Not anymore, going down hill fast.
Bakersfield was more than 1/2 empty this year, while they advertised "sold out". I think there were more empty stalls than vendors. Interesting when I paid for my stall for next year on Saturday, the "board was nearly sold out" My question is why pay for a stall and not show? The buyers count was way down this year with most of the action between vendors. Saturday was a joke for sellers. A good share of vendors pulled out Friday afternoon and evening. I never saw the fever of past years,not even in the queue up lines. There were some excellent buys and no buyers go figure.
I do believe guys, we are getting a little long in the tooth and its a real pain to drag out the stuff haul it to the swap meet stand there for a couple of days trying to sell it, then load it back up and haul it home. There in lies the problem age is again us and its easier to list stuff here on the classified's and sell it from home. The other issue is today an antique car is a '57 Chev. This year they looked the other way letting in more hot rod and 50's stuff. There are fewer and fewer guys collecting the early brass stuff and fewer model t guys getting into the hobby. Simply put its the rule of attrition. Don't kill the messenger, these are just my thoughts from an old guy that's been there and seen the demise over the years.
Flea markets in general have changed over time in this area. Use to be you could find lots of old tools, mechanical items, hardware and old household items. Now it Chinese purses, knockoff clothes that are the stuff you see now.
As the brass car guy says old antique cars don't have the interest in years gone by. Yes there still is interest but not in the same way that the 'younger stuff' has.
Younger stuff? Old cars to a lot of people now means cars that are post war.
Check out whats on TV these days and you will see a lot of car shows that deal with cars in the 40's-70's. There isn't any that I know of that I can watch that deals with fixing up and restoring cars that were built in the 30's and back.
What I've noticed in the antique farm machinery realm is that smaller shows/swap meets where you could find the vendors of good parts have given way to the Event-type gatherings, like Hershey, Carlisle, etc. of the old car realm. I attended Rhinebeck a long time ago and not sure what it's like anymore, but seems from the billing, it too has become an event. Some clubs and groups of 20 years ago have fizzled out due to the changing demographics in some states, one might guess others are thriving- RJ, for example, the Pageant of Steam near Canandaigua. I've only been serious about antique cars the last couple years so not sure if my analysis really caries much weight, just sharing an observation.
Just noticed yesterday that a local auctioneer has a huge collection of Packard parts and a few cars on the block for a 3-day sale. Dispersals like this probably are a good thing for wheeler/dealers and hobbyists that benefit from the injection of parts and stuff until now were off the market.
Dispersal of the Lau collection probably had a similar effect to the Model T parts market, at swap meets or otherwise.
I agree with Brass Car Guy, which was part of the post that I wrote. I think that what is attributing to the decline in older cars being ran (pre-Model A) is a lack of parts, not to mention the difficulty in driving in today's fast-paced traffic. I could be wrong, but if it isn't a Model T, repro parts for pre-Model A cars are not being made, so when something breaks, if a guy isn't a machinist, the car sits.
Not having an A and not having worked on one, all I can go on is Snyder's catalogue. It has 81 pages of Model T parts and 149 pages of Model A parts. Apparently there are a lot of Model A parts being made.
I used to go to the San Diego "Big 3", Long Beach Model T club, Pomona and Corona swap meets years ago. But it got to the point where there was next to nothing for Model T's or A's. That coupled with traffic, fuel costs, having to pay to park as a buyer, having to pay nearly $10.00 for a rubber dog and a soda and not finding anything I needed at a "non-tourist" price, I gave up and just use the internet, it is sooo much easier...
The same reason people complain about Chickasha is the same reason there aren't more swap meets like Chickasha.
People complain because most of the parts that come into the swap meet are already spoken for, so going to the swap meet is more of a delivery service. That's just business. People sell things online and add "can deliver to Chickasha" to the ad. Because of that business model, a lot of parts you see in the lot before setting up are already sold. But those guys who already sold something and are just delivering will typically bring other parts to sell. And when they get there they are probably going to buy more parts to haul home. Some people don't even bother going to swap meets because "everything's already sold, so why bother?"
The reason you bother is because swap meets are treasure hunts. You find the parts you "have to have" online, but you go to the swap meets to find the stuff you didn't know you couldn't live without. Most of my best swap meet finds are from the guys who delivered a set of wire wheels and hubs the day the meet started, but threw a box of random parts in the truck because they were going there anyway.
The point is, swap meets are like a hobby unto themselves. You can't just show people the finished car and expect them to love the old car hobby. You have to get them excited about all aspects. If nobody brings new buyers to swap meets, there's no reason for sellers to keep coming. And that's how all the good stuff ends up on eBay.
Jared i agree, we been hauling parts to the shows for years. load up the trailer... set up at the shows,nobody looks at them and maybe a offer but no purchase? tear down and store them back in the barn over and over again.. Next put them on ebay well jack up the price and vola SOLD!!!!!!! why bother with the hassle of flea markets.. with the walker, balkers and want to bee's or better yet most of them are some sort of bird people CHEAP!! cheap!!! cheap!!!
There is an interest in a Pre-War swap meet in the Pacific Northwest. Here is the text of an email that is circulating among NW Vintage Car Clubs.
I have been approached to informally inquire if members of Northwest prewar car clubs would be interested in participating in a Prewar Only swap meet to be held in Brooks OR. Antique Powerland has several acres of swap meet space available in conjunction with the Northwest Vintage Car and Motorcycle Museum & The Branch 15 Early Day Engine & Tractor Assn. Powerland charges a gate admission of only $6 per car and parking is free. No busses, no modern iron for sale, but lots of prewar parts & vehicles for sale.
If you agree that a prewar only swap meet is a good idea, and would like to participate and/or have questions & suggestions to make it a success, please contact Doug Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org
Please pass this on to other Northwest clubs with prewar cars too!
Brooks Oregon is on I-5 between Portland and Salem. If you are interested in Vending or Attending make your thoughts known.
I think I'd be interested, but the link didn't work, maybe somebody could pass the word, aye. Dave in Bellingham, WA
One thing for sure; if you guys keep up the monthly rants about how all the big swap meets suck and are dying, they will whither and die. As Hitler said, if you tell the lie enough times it will become true. How can you expect new vendors and buyers to show up when you're constantly saying the meets are a waste of time?
Life sucks, and then you die.
Maybe some of these bellyachers need an impossible-to-find-parts-for car like a 58 DeSoto
Fireflite convertible or a real problem like what we faced in Afghanistan to adjust their paradigm
of what a real problem looks like ?
A single piece of rear quarter trim for the aforementioned car, if even possible to find, would
likely draw a price higher than what a rough driver-quality Model T would sell for.
This MRAP hit an IED while on patrol out of Aziz Ullah in 2011, the white pings you see on the
glass show evidence of the ambush and firefight that ensued.
These, my friends, are what real life problems and challenges look like. What we are seeing in
this thread is an embarrassing lack of gratitude for how #@! easy we have it in the United States
and the Model T hobby.
blame the show promoters selling spaces to all those crap chinese tool vendors, bathfitters, kitchen cabinet refacing companies, direct / dish TV's, garage sale crap, kitchen knives, vacuumm cleaner parts,RV's jetski's, boats etc..and if you don't believe me check it out on some of the bigger shows like Carlisle the last past 4 years. These show are turning into junk shows and a waste of time when there is little car parts for sale. I talked to a customer of ours yesterday he was at Iola and he said never again
total junk and few vendors selling car parts
OK, here's the gig ....
Joe Schmo is into pre-war cars and he and few friends decide to promote a special swap meet for those cars ...
we all know the drill. After a while, a few guys, friends of others already attending get to thinking they can find
buyers for "other items" in the crowd that shows up for the pre-war car stuff. Slowly it morphs into more "other
items" than pre-war car stuff as many of the pre-war car crowd ages out or dies, and with dropping numbers of
pre-war-only people, the whole scene shifts to being more like a stroll through a thrift store than a dedicated old
car swap meet, let alone an old car swap meet dedicated to pre-war stuff.
We do it to ourselves, by being cheapskates about old parts, which ultimately makes vendors throw up their hands
and say "I've got better things to do", and by not promoting (pronounced "actively recruiting") young people into
the hobby. Rather, we're seen as "the weird old guy down the street with the old cars", instead of having those same
people on the street IN our shops and learning about the fun of being an eccentric weirdo !
As pointed out above, how many of us REALLY make it our mission to reach out and be that accessible, friendly
mentor who shares his passion in a real and tangible way ???
Just say no to car shows. Those people already know about old cars. Drive the dog. Be friendly. Give rides.
Show the uninitiated just how much fun they can have. That is the core of the hobby. When it stops being fun,
it ALL dies.
I will see Burger's '58 DeSoto and raise him a 1960 Lincoln.
The internet has opened up a whole world of parts availability that wasn't there 20 years ago. People like being comfortable and sellers like hocking their wares before a large audience. Swap meets are fun, but when you travel for hours, it rains, and half the vendors don't show up, look how much money you just blew that could have been spent on parts. The times have changed, but the most important part is that the stuff is out there in a way it hasn't been before. Things also show up on the internet that people wouldn't have bothered to drag to a swap meet. For those who have never sold -- it's work. Mountains of work and then you're chained to a space. It's not showing up mid-morning, sauntering around with coffee and a donut, and then leaving when the clouds roll in. It's days of prep before, working through the thing, and then days to recover when you get home.
If you want to hop on the disenfranchisement bandwagon, how about the guy that can't get around well enough to walk for miles over rough terrain, or those in rural areas for whom nothing is convenient? Venues change. Today there are more venues to fit peoples differing circumstances and I see that as a good thing.