Despite still not having a drivable Tempest available to me, I decided to spend a few hours walking around the Randolph Swap Meet last weekend. I was supposed to be joined by a coworker, but unfortunately he does not have nearly as kind, accommodating, and beautiful wife as I do and was thus stuck at home on a beautiful Sunday.
I started out in the car corral, which is basically a field where, for a small fee, sellers can park their cars
and let countless hillbillies scratch them with their belt buckles for a captive audience to view and hopefully buy. Most of the cars were hideously overpriced, but there were a few deals to be had and many cool rides available for sale. The first thing that caught my eye ended up being the nicest car there – a beautifully restored 1960 Lincoln coupe with an awesome copper/tan two tone paint job:
No price, although the tag on the windshield notes that it was totally rebuilt this year, so I’m guessing it’s out of my price range. The headlights on these cars always remind me of cat’s eye glasses:
Parked near the Lincoln was this 1964 (I think) Chevy wagon, which I would love as a family hauler. Given the clean-yet-original body, chrome, and interior, and the California plates, I think it’s safe to assume it’s going to sell for way more than I could afford:
Next, there was a fairly clean 1963 or ’64 Riviera, one of the prettiest American cars ever designed:
I’ve always loved the dash of these cars, especially the aircraft-style switchgear:
Parked nearby was a “gangster’s special” 1976 Chrysler New Yorker, in black with ghost flames and a black interior:
For a reasonable $6500, you could drive this monster home, although it might cost you that much in gas. But imagine the comfort of cruising on the barcalounger-style button-tucked split bench seat (assuming the A/C works):
Next, I stumbled upon this VW Westphalia camper, which was also priced fairly at $6000. I don’t know how well the air-cooled two liter engine would do crossing the Rockies, but it would be pretty fun to take this out West:
Just imagine cooking up some breakfast and relaxing in a sea of brown and fake woodgrain:
Lastly, the most overpriced car I saw was this 1973 Firebird Formula:
It was nice, to be sure, but had some cracking paint on the urethane nose, it was a 350/auto car (which is less desirable) and it had a brown interior (not a problem for me, but not exactly a selling point). The seller was asking a ridiculous $18,500 for this car. For comparison, there was a very similar white 1975 Firebird (a less popular year, but same body style and nearly identical to the untrained eye) that was optioned similarly and was solid but in need of paint for $6300. You could put another $5000 in that car and have one that was twice as nice as the ’73 for a little more than half the money.
Anyway, I wasn’t really at the swamp meet to buy a car (and as I told my wife on the way home, there wasn’t anything there worth getting into a fight with her over). I was there to scrounge through acres of rusty old car parts:
You never know what you’re going to see at these events. From the guys that have one table of random parts from cars they’ve sold/finished/junked, to the guy selling bags of candy and beef jerky, to the guys that look like they bought the remaining stock of a hardware store at a going-out-of-business sale, there’s something for everyone. I came away with a new window crank and lock knobs for the Tempest, but I was also on the lookout for a new or lightly-used exhaust system, as well as a limited-slip unit and a rare Offenhauser intake for my absent co-worker’s Buick. Still, there is always the oddball stuff that never ceases to amaze me. Like this guy, pushing around a cart with a completely stripped seat frame and a handful of headliner bows:
I had to move upwind of him to keep from getting a constant faceful of ancient horsehair and burlap. While I didn’t find my coworker’s intake, I did find a cool Pontiac tri-power setup that was probably worth as much as some of the cars in the car corral:
There was also a selection of Ooga horns, both in 6 volt and 12 volt varieties, for all your Ooga-ing needs:
I heard a rumble over my shoulder, and turned around to see someone firing up this super cool 1946 Ford cab-over-engine pickup, which needed an interior but ran and drove and would make an awesome street rod:
Lastly, there was even an opportunity for a new career path:
My prizes in hand, I made my way home. Hopefully, I’ll get the Tempest back together this summer and actually have a reason to put the new window crank and lock knobs on it. Regardless, it was nice to spend some time surrounded by greasy crap that wasn’t cluttering up my garage.