We visit the world's largest antique auto flea market
No bull here!
When men were men …
But wait, there’s more!
Out of this world
Small is beautiful
Supporting the troops
Adopt an orphan!
And here’s the other half…
Cadillac’s kid brother
The dually isn’t new!
Watch for termites
Take the wheel
Where were these when I was growing up?!
And in other news, water is wet ...
Why NHTSA matters…
Where's the fire?
Some assembly required
Enter the Dragon
Float your boat
Want, want, want!
Winning the Piston Cup
Peanuts and popcorn
What’s that thing?
- Zippy Zephyr
- No bull here!
- When men were men …
- Expensive elegance
- But wait, there’s...
- Out of this world
- Small is beautiful
- Supporting the...
- Adopt an orphan!
- And here’s the...
- Cadillac’s kid...
- The dually isn’t...
- Watch for termites
- Take the wheel
- Where were these...
- And in other...
- Why NHTSA matters…
- Where's the fire?
- Florida keys?
- Some assembly...
- Enter the Dragon
- Float your boat
- Want, want, want!
- Winning the...
- Egyptian Royalty
- Peanuts and popcorn
- What’s that thing?
- A what?
If you never knew that Mack made a pickup truck (that being the Mack Jr. shown above), or there was a car you could drive on water, then do we have a slideshow for you. Each October, the Antique Automobile Club of America hosts a huge car show and swap meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and we were there!
Ontario-based RM Auctions holds an annual sale in conjunction with the event, but brought along a couple of teasers for an auction it’ll hold later this year in Texas. This 1939 Lincoln Zephyr originally came with a V12 engine, but that one only made 110 horsepower; it now carries one that makes 600 horses. It’s expected to bring as much as $225,000.
Gas station memorabilia is a hot ticket, whether it’s genuine or reproduction, and this vendor had a bit of both. The gas island with its tall Texaco lamp had already sold for $1,050, while the Fire-Chief pump on the left was marked at $3,300.
Not everything for sale at Hershey is in pristine condition. This late-1940s Chevy pickup was solid, but in need of some paint and chrome, for its $8,000 price tag.
Many people think of Ford’s Model T as something that slowly sputtered along, but some of them could really move. This 1919 T Speedster was recently clocked at 90 mph (145 km/h), and if that isn’t scary enough, remember that it doesn’t have any front brakes. Asking price was $22,500.
The Imperial was Chrysler’s top-line model, and while just about everybody made a handsome car in 1932, this company’s designers were really on the ball. The price on this LeBaron-bodied dual-cowl phaeton was $475,000.
Restorer and seller Dragone Classic Motorcars always brings beautiful stuff to Hershey, and alongside the 1932 Imperial phaeton was this 1931 Imperial LeBaron club sedan. Big and beautiful, it was priced at $115,000.
Not every car part actually ends up on a car. These were made from a variety of leftovers, including a 1959 Cadillac bullet taillight atop the rocketship, and sparkplugs for the robot’s hair.
Not all 1950s cars were enormous land yachts. In response to consumer complaints about gas consumption and parking woes, a few manufacturers made mini-cars, including Crosley, which built them in Indiana from 1939 to 1952. This final-year 1952 model was priced at $7,990.
Ambulances had to cover serious territory in World War Two battles, and this 1945 Dodge ambulance was built for the task. It’s believed only 20 of this style exist in the U.S., and this one contains parts from three trucks. There’s a lot of work involved but it would make quite the project, and was marked at $15,000.
Along with the “Big Three” of Chrysler, Ford, and GM, there were many other U.S. automakers that are known today as “orphans” as they were independent from those bigger companies. One was Nash, which built cars in Wisconsin from 1917 to 1954, and in 1936 it turned out this lovely LaFayette. Nash later merged with Hudson to form American Motors.
It might have been a coincidence, but alongside the Nash was this lovely 1947 Hudson, both of them built long before their companies turned into AMC. This Hudson Super Six six-cylinder convertible would change hands for $40,000.
In GM’s earlier days, most of the company’s brands sold a “companion car” that shared much of its engineering but cost less. At Cadillac, it was LaSalle, which was started in 1937 and developed almost entirely by GM stylist Harley Earl. It proved too be too popular, stealing sales from its pricier sibling, and this V8-powered 1940 coupe was built in the brand’s final year. Asking price was $35,000.
Ford first put a commercial body on its Model C chassis in 1905, three years before it turned out the famous Model T. That platform also saw truck duty, and when the T gave way to the Model A on November 1, 1927, the trucks switched over too. This 1930 AA marked the first year for the double-letter designation, which indicated a long-wheelbase chassis. Base price back then was $545, but you needed $21,500 to take this one home.
I drove to the event in a Chrysler Town & Country minivan, but the name was originally used for the company’s wooden-bodied models, including this 1949 convertible. While later models used the fake stuff, these earlier ones were real, and had to be regularly stripped and varnished, as well as carefully dried if you got caught in the rain. Asking price was $79,900.
Many of the things we take for granted on cars today, like power steering and power brakes, started as exclusive and often expensive options. It was a big deal to have them, and automakers advertised it, such as on this Buick horn ring centre. The vendor also had a rubber brake pedal cover for a 1956 Buick embossed with “Power Brakes.”
You see just about everything at Hershey, including these way-cool wagons made from Plymouth and DeSoto fenders. Even the emblems were cut down to advertise it as a “Plymouth Lymo.”
Well, we didn’t really think we were going to just start it up and drive it home.
Many old-car fans brag that “they don’t make ’em like that anymore,” but don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Before the introduction of collapsible steering columns, motorists could be seriously injured or killed in crashes when they fell forward onto these unforgiving steel rods.
The aerodynamic Chrysler Airflow’s styling was a little too much for buyers in the 1930s, but it made for some cool pedal cars. This one, advertised as being made around 1935, was $1,295.
There’s always something that makes you stop for a second look, and this time, it was an alligator made out of key blanks. He could be yours for $650.
“Barn fresh” refers to a car that’s been found after many years of storage, and this 1922 Studebaker Special Six touring car appeared to fit the description. It was marked at $2,500 and had found a new owner.
Henry J. Kaiser made his money building ships and some of Hoover Dam, and in 1946 he started building cars (the U.S. health care provider Kaiser Permanente originated as a plan for his employees). For 1953, the company introduced the Kaiser Dragon, an expensive and fully-loaded model that included a padded vinyl top and the owner’s name on a glovebox plate. Only about 1,200 were made, and this one was $34,900.
The German-made Amphicar amphibian roadster had two things going against it: it wasn’t a very good car, and it wasn’t a very good boat. Built from 1961 to 1968, they used a rear-mounted four-cylinder engine that ran either the rear wheels or the propellers behind them, and you could drive it straight off land and into the water. This 1961 model was priced at $44,500.
There’s always at least one car that I long to take home with me, and this year, it was a 1947 Cadillac Derham-bodied town limousine. Bearing Quebec license plates, it had started the week at $49,000, but by the rain-soaked last day, it was reduced to $29,000.
As fans of the animated movie “Cars” know so well, the Hudson Hornet wasn’t as fast as some of its competitors, but its wide stance and low centre of gravity let it hug the curves where others swung wide. This 1952 Hornet Hollywood was on the show field, as were the rest of the vehicles coming up here.
When King Tut’s tomb was discovered in 1922, anything related to Egypt and the Pharaohs became immensely popular, but British automaker Armstrong Siddeley had been putting the Sphinx on its cars since it started production in 1919. It was chosen because the car was advertised as being “as silent as the Sphinx.” This one’s on a 1960 model, the company’s last year.
A true survivor, this 1929 Chevrolet was bought new by the current owner’s father-in-law for his carnival business. It was outfitted by popcorn machinery maker Dunbar & Company and was one of its most elaborate creations. About 40 were made on Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge trucks, and ten are known to still exist. The truck and conversion cost $3,150 and was paid off by selling popcorn for five cents a bag.
The Volkswagen Type 181 was sold in the U.S. only for 1973 and 1974, where it was known as The Thing. It was both slow and expensive, priced nearly $1,000 more than a Beetle, but you could lower the roof and the windshield, take off the doors, and even swap them front to back. Tighter government safety regulations forced VW to stop importing them after about 25,000 came in.
Rain on the car show morning kept many of the exotics at home, but there were still a few “what is that?” cars on the field, including this one, a 1928 Gardner. The plant in St. Louis, Missouri started as a horse-drawn buggy factory and then, in 1916, made Chevrolets for local markets before owner Russell Gardner made these beautiful cars until 1931. It’s always great to see these blasts from the past.