By Fred “Buzz” Quillen
Classic cars, fresh oil, food, and fun were the things I will remember about the 2013 Carlisle Collector Swap Meet, Corral, and Auction. The show this year was held Oct. 2-6 on the 150 acre show grounds with over 8,100 official vending spaces displayed. I was amazed at the turnout of vehicles for sale this year and the sheer number of classic car fanatics. There were over 2,000 vehicles for sale as well as the popular car auctions. Celebrating it’s 40th year, Carlisle Events put on a show that satisfied over 200,000 spectators for the week-long swap meet.
The day was perfect for this gathering of old car enthusiasts because while the forecast said there was a chance of rain, the weekend was blessed with dry and cool weather. I originally went down to the Carlisle fairgrounds to pick up a few old car parts, but then, like every other person there, I forgot to leave. I spent hours walking around and admiring the vehicles and even found a completed version of my pet project–a 1965 Mustang. I spent the day getting lost in the crowds and the excitement and when it was time to leave and I realized I had not seen everything, I made plans to come back the following day.
From sun up till sun down, the grounds were strewn with wide-eyed children and adults, marveling at the achievements of the automotive industry, shopping for memorabilia and collectibles, and eating from the many vendors who showed up.
I loved the fact that there were not only thousands of classic cars, but also, food, the horse track, race tracks, and loads of amazing memorabilia. These collectibles ranged from automotive history to old bicycles to new and old signs and thousands of other cool items.
Walking around the show, you can get parts for your project cars, or just admire all the vehicles or listen to people haggling over parts and prices while eating a delicious Philly cheesesteak. It was amazing to see people from all over the United States and the world over gathering together and sharing their love for the show, entertainment, and cars.
Walking down the dusty streets, with the music playing, and car engines revving, was quite an experience. I stopped and admired a beautiful 1957 Chevy Bel Air and started chatting with an older German/American couple who came back to the U.S. for the Carlisle show. He proposed to her at the 1978 show and so they decided to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary and buy themselves a Bel Air like he had when they first met.
It was great to see the legacy of the show and the significance it holds for everyone who attends. Whether you remember it as a child growing up and falling in love with cars like the incredible 1972 Plymouth Road Runner, like I did, or whether you proposed to your wife of 35 years at the show, there is always something for everyone. The Carlisle fall swap meet definitely embodied everything American: family, fun, food, and community. The Carlisle Show this year was definitely an amazing weekend experience and I cannot wait to go back again next year in the spring.