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Old 01-31-2012, 01:48 PM
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Ever Score a Killer Deal at a Swap Meet ?

Hi All,

This post is inspired by a poll I saw on Facebook by an automotive company. I thought it would interesting to read what killer deals members have found over the years at their local swap meets.

My experience has been limited to the Pomona Swap Meet so far. Never bought anything (yet), but one of my goals for this year is to set up a booth there and sell off excess parts. Kinda of excited just thinking about it. Hopefully my neighbor and a friend will join and bring along their pile as well. I hope to score a good deal soon. But, as always, I digress. Anywhoo...

What deals have you found over the years (cars, parts, memorabilia, etc)? What are your local swap meets? How did the haggling process go down? Did you have to compete with another buyer? If you like, local antique shops and garage sales/Craigslist finds will work too.

P.S. Pictures say a thousand words!

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Old 01-31-2012, 02:21 PM
Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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I have one in particular that I remember. I had a vintage motorcycle horn that I was selling for a friend. He had bought a 37 Chevy pickup and this horn was in a box of parts that came with it. So I put this rusty old horn on eBay and a every motor cycle name I could think of as key words with a starting bid of $10 or something like that. It ended up being an Indian Chief horn and it went for $440!

Ok, now is when a swap meet enters the picture.

The auction for the horn ended on a Saturday night. The next morning I went to a swap meet at the Pleasanton fair grounds (where the Goodguys events are held) and I found another one of these horns! This was at a guy who is there every single swap meet with display cases and the whole bit. I asked him what he wanted for the horn he told me $40 as I remember. I bought it, went home put it on Ebay and ended up getting about $285 for it.

My brother picked up an SS high horse Chevelle tach (there are no names on it like "Chevrolet") for $15 as I remember and sold it on Hemmings (in the days before the net) for $300 or something like that.

Once I bought a pair of original Buick aluminum finned nailhead valve covers (they are now on my Gran Sport) for something like $20 or so, they were worth about a hundred and fifty at the time and I actually had a few people offering me that for them as I walked around with them in my hand.

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Old 01-31-2012, 02:33 PM
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I was at the Turlock swap meet a few years ago looking for better running boards for my 49 p/u with my oldest boy, and we found this guy on crutches with a long enclosed trailer full of A.D. body parts. He told us if we unload it for him he'll make us a "deal". Well...We walked away afterward with flawless runners,49 tailgate w/not even a dent,and front splash pan for 40.00! It was a great day!!
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:11 PM
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Yep - a brand new Ford Edelbrock Performer RPM that's on my '31 for $100 bucks. I also just picked up a spare Eddy 1405 carb for $20. The only thing wrong with it is that it's dirty - needs a good wash, in and out and a $10 buck gasket kit. Picked up a set of nice Powered by Ford valve covers for $10, a set of the old wide spaced fin Ansen valve covers for $10 as well. The Ansens sold for $125 at York. I seldom buy for resale - usually just for my use. If I don't end up using it, will then take it the next time I sell somewhere - sometimes I make a couple bucks, other times .....
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:16 PM
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My old room mate found a set of panel delivery pieces for my Vega Wagon, 5 bucks at a swap meet. I never got around to using them, my "new" wife was getting her feet wet on Ebay, I told her to get what she could for them. She was skeptical but 2 guys got into a bidding war, IIRC they went for $280.
"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not." - Mark Twain
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:55 PM
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Just once. I found a factory DeSoto hemi dual quad manifold for $75 about 15 years ago. Sold it last year on e-bay for $450. When you consider inflation, I probably made $50 on the deal.



"If money is what makes cars fast, mine otta be going 400 miles an hour!". - Felix Sabates
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:30 PM
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This wasn't at a swap meet but it was a news paper add about mid 80's... for a guy parting out a wrecked 70 1/2 Z-28. I needed a 4 spd for my 240 Z / 355" conversion. He was hurtin cash wise and sold me a Muncie for $50.....with a Hurst Comp. Plus shifter. When I got it home I found out it was an M-22 Rock crusher! Really didn't want a close ratio or that noisy thing so I sold it for $500 and bought a nice rebuilt M-20 for $300.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:50 PM
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last year I bought all the side windows (big and little) including regulators and the rear window for my coupe at the swap-meet
I dont remember how much I paid, but I'm pretty cheap, and used stuff has to be a real good deal or I will just buy new
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:17 PM
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Not 100% Hot Rod related but; Last year a rep who I deal with at work came into the store and said that Federal Signal Corp. was reducing the numbers of sales representatives for their Amber Market warning lights, flashers, signal lights. wrecker lightbars, etc. He asked me if we would be interested in buying him out of everything he had. I asked the boss if he wanted to and he said he thought we would probably just get stuck with a lot of the stuff, so we declined. The rep wouldn,t give up and asked if I was interested personally. Being a complete SCROOGE, I said I didn,t really want the stuff unless it was extremely cheap. One thing led to another as it always does, and he said he just needed to unload it and he new I piddled on Ebay some. I ended up giving him $450 for it all, and although I still have a little bit more to unload, I have sold the rest (an unbelievable amount of all LED lightbars, strobes, etc) for over $3500!! Not only that, but now whenever this rep gets out of a product line, guess who he calls? Anybody out there need a wireless doorbell for their home or garage? How about exacto knives, blades. What about some dandy wood boring bits? Bob
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:03 PM
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Killer deal

1989 the last time NSRA held the nats in St. Paul. I had a friends 12 year old boy with me, we walk into the swap meet and right in front of us was a guy with a bunch of doors. He had a 35 Terraplane door propped up with a price in chalk on it for $160. I like to haggle so I asked him what was his rock bottom price, he said $140 what would I give him. I said I don't know, where you from, he said he had came up from the southwest corner of Kansas. Well I thought for a bit, then told him I would give him $45.00 dollars for it. knowing he didn't want to haul it all the way home. He said $45.00 dollars, how many Terraplane doors have you seen here, I said how many people have offered to buy it, I got it for $45.00.

Same swap meet I was looking though parts, the kid with me had stopped at a booth to look at manuals, when all of a sudden I heard him yelling Bob! Bob! I looked up and he was running towards me, talking so fast I didn't understand him. I got him slowed down, and he told me he thought he had found the hood ornament for my Terraplane, I had a base but not the one winged bird, really I had never seen one. So I took out $60.00 out of my pocket and we walked over there. There among the books was this one winged bird, the base was the same as mine and it would only fit on a 35 Terraplane, so I asked the guy how much,( now I had a lot of people tell me that I would never find that bird) The guy says $40.00 bucks, I handed him 2 $20.00 so fast it made his head swim.

One swap meet I found two pieces for my Terraplane, that are very hard to find.

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Old 02-01-2012, 07:41 PM
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I go to the Portland, Or swap meet every year at the Expo, and every year I get a fair number of what I consider killer deals. Some small, and some large, but good prices sooner or later.
Last year I bought a nice used tube grille for my '69 Suburban for the asking price of $5! No dickering, just paid what was marked on it. Then I got a fairly new pair of 11" Goodyear Eagle racing slicks mounted on 10" ET slots for $125. Picked up a few other items, and by the end of the day the back of the Suburban was pretty full!
Last weekend we went to the swap meet across the river in Ridgefield, Wa. and I picked up a set of Competition Engineering spring loaded wheelie bars for my gasser project, and got them for $90. Priced them new at Summit for $306 plus S&H, so I thought it was a great deal!
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:53 AM
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On the way in to a swap meet we walked through the edge of the 'cars for sale' area. I noticed some Hilborn stacks sticking out of an early 50's Ford trunk area. I knew it probably wouldnt fit a Chevy, but I looked anyway. SCORE. SBC Hilborn, pump, timing cover, jet can, new nozzle hoses, etc. $275.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:49 PM
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BBC Man-A-Fre set-up $50
50' of hydrualic hose asking price $15/ payed .50 cents
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:16 PM
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Last year at an auction
2 big block 454s complete for $600.00 for both
4 bolt main motors,were rebuilt with flat top pistons,i sold one n the other one is in 67 Camaro as a 496
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:15 PM
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Can't believe I forgot about this. Killer deal that ended up getting away.

I decided to bid on a non-running 1987 Trans Am for $100 on eBay as joke. I won. Had a 2.5% coupon so I owed $97.50. I was super stoked that I had won the car this cheap, but had a problem because I had no place to keep it.

The car was about two hours away in Bakersfield so I had it towed back to Los Angeles and decided to park it my friend's apartment. He needed a car so I figured we'd get it up and running and I'd hand it over to him for my cost. Long story short, someone complained that it was a junk car and the landlord wanted it gone asap. Sold it to the local yard for $50.
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