Welcome to Hershey
1929 Studebaker House Car
1962 Chrysler Newport Wagon
1919 Ford Model T
1949 Kaiser Virginian
1937 Packard 12
1955 King Midget
Yes, we’ve got gas …
1972 Citroën SM
1941 Nash Ambassador
1959 Lincoln Premiere
Parts, parts, parts!
1923 Buick Moxie Mobile
1925 Ford Tow Truck
1934 Chrysler Airflow
1969 Lincoln Continental
1940 Graham Hollywood
Packard “Goddess of Speed”
1966 Rambler American
- Welcome to Hershey
- 1929 Studebaker...
- 1962 Chrysler...
- 1919 Ford Model T
- 1949 Kaiser...
- 1937 Packard 12
- 1930 Franklin
- Essex Terraplane
- 1950 DeSoto
- 1955 King Midget
- Yes, we’ve got gas …
- 1972 Citroën SM
- 1941 Nash Ambassador
- 1980 Comuta-Car
- 1959 Lincoln...
- Parts, parts, parts!
- 1929 Stearns-Knight
- 1923 Buick Moxie...
- 1957 Chevrolets
- Mohs SafariKar
- 1925 Ford Tow Truck
- 1934 Chrysler...
- 1969 Lincoln...
- 1912 EMF
- 1911 Paige-Detroit
- 1940 Graham...
- Packard “Goddess...
- 1937 Cadillac
- 1939 LaSalle
- 1966 Rambler...
To an antique car fan, “Hershey” is all you need to say. It’s actually a judging show for the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), but from seven vendors selling stuff out of their trunks back in 1955, it’s grown into what’s possibly the world’s largest antique-auto flea market. Torrential rains and flooding put a damper on this year’s edition of the market, but the sun came out the day of the show.
If you had $165,000 to spend, you could have gone home with this. It started life as a school bus chassis—Studebaker built almost every kind of commercial vehicle, as well as cars—and was turned into a custom camper by the long-defunct Advance Auto Body Works in Los Angeles. Four people can sleep in it, and an air compressor on the transmission is used to pressurize the on-board water supply.
Station wagons were the “original minivans,” and this one’s a beauty. It holds six people, has factory air conditioning, and that rear window slides into the tailgate. It could be yours for $20,000 with its optional wire wheels, but if you’d settle for plain steel wheels with hubcaps, the seller would take $18,000.
It’s not unusual to buy a ten-year-old car from its original owner, but how about one that’s 94 years old? This Tin Lizzie, which ran very well and had never been restored, was being sold on behalf of the man who bought it new. It would take $12,500 for it to find its second owner.
Kaiser-Frazer was the twelfth-largest automaker in the U.S. when this four-door hardtop was built. Henry J. Kaiser was an industrialist whose construction company was a prime contractor on the Hoover Dam, and who made his fortune in shipbuilding and steel before building cars. The health care plan he set up for his workers evolved into Kaiser Permanente, still a major U.S. provider. The Virginian was Kaiser’s short-lived attempt at a luxury car and originally cost $2,995. This one was $22,000.
Built in Detroit, Packard was considered among the top U.S. luxury brands, and it didn’t get any better than the V12 models. You could buy even pricier custom-bodied ones, but at $4,650, this Convertible Sedan was the most expensive production Packard in 1937. This one, however, was priced at $325,000.
Built in Syracuse, New York from 1901 to 1934, the Franklin was unusual in that it was air-cooled. The cars worked very well—the company ran one up the west coast in low gear to demonstrate that they didn’t overheat—but the automaker eventually added fake radiator grilles to make them look more conventional to buyers who weren’t sure. This one was marked at $19,500 and went home with a new owner.
All but extinct today, hood ornaments were found on almost all cars in the past. The Essex was a moderately-priced line built by Hudson, named by company officials who found the town on a map of England. Its gryphon ornament changed over the years, but this is how it looked in 1933.
DeSoto was a Chrysler line, built from 1928 to 1960, and intended to be a step up from Dodge and competition for such brands as Oldsmobile. It was named for the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, so naturally, he’s front and centre on the hood.
For some strange reason, the minicar enjoyed a flash of popularity in the U.S. following the Second World War. Many of them were kits, often sold by mail order through magazine ads. The King Midget, built from 1946 to 1969, started as a kit car for $270, but then could be ordered factory-built for $550. It used a one-cylinder air-cooled engine. The first ones were single-passenger, but a second seat was added in the 1951 redesign. This one was for sale for $4,800.
The torrential rain turned the usually-booming flea market into a ghost town, but there were still a few hardy vendors showing their wares to equally hardy buyers. Gas station memorabilia is popular with collectors.
Hershey is primarily about American cars, but foreign makes are welcome. This 1972 SM, priced at $15,000, is immediately identifiable as a U.S.-import car by its headlights. European and Canadian models had six headlights with a clear cover (and the two inner ones turned with the steering), but that wasn’t legal in the United States, and so this four-headlight configuration was substituted.
Charles Nash was a former president of General Motors who bought the Jeffrey automobile company in 1916 and put his name on it. Following the Second World War, Nash amalgamated with Hudson into the new American Motors. That company, in turn, was eventually purchased by Chrysler, primarily for its Jeep brand. This well-kept Ambassador was fairly priced at $14,500.
Whether or not you like modern electric cars, you have to admit that they’ve definitely improved in the looks department. The CitiCar electric car was made in Florida from 1974 to 1977 by Sebring-Vanguard. It was then sold to Commuter Vehicles Inc., which renamed it the Comuta-Car and built it from 1979 to 1982. About 4,500 variants on the design were made overall by both companies.
Perhaps a face only a mother could love. So-called “canted” headlights were popular on a few models in the late 1950s, and Lincoln made the most of them. Providing your garage was big enough, you could put this in it for $28,500.
The swap meet has gone through several changes over the years. Moving from grassy fields—famously muddy whenever it rained—to asphalt has been the most noticeable, but the stuff for sale has gradually changed, too. At one time, enthusiasts came from around the world for parts that weren’t available anywhere else. Today, the choice of hoping to find what you need, versus a Google search and your PayPal number, is a no-brainer. But there are still items that don’t ship well, and people who like to browse, and so Hershey motors on.
Enough shopping; let’s head for the show field, and this gorgeous 1929 Stearns-Knight eight-cylinder phaeton. Based in Cleveland, the company was known for its sleeve-valve engine. These used two moving sleeves in the cylinders, each with two holes in them. When these holes lined up, air and fuel came in, and exhaust went out. You wouldn’t want to be hit with one of these: the mounted knight up front aims his sharp lance straight at pedestrians.
This “Moxie Mobile” shows up frequently at the event. Moxie was a popular soft drink, and the company commissioned a fleet of vehicles to advertise it. Used primarily in parades, the cars were driven from the saddle. This Buick version is a recreation. Only one original Moxie Mobile, built on a LaSalle, is believed to still exist.
Long considered the quintessential 1950s car, the 1957 Chevy marked the third year of the company’s major makeover, which began in 1955 with the all-new 265-cubic-inch small-block V8 engine. GM built more than 1.5 million cars in 1957, but was overshadowed by the 1.6-million-plus made over at Ford.
There’s always something at Hershey that makes your mouth drop, and this was it. The Mohs Seaplane Corporation of Madison, Wisconsin did some pretty awful stuff in its lifetime, which stretched from 1968 to 1977, and here’s a good example. Indian Maharajas were famous for converting Rolls-Royces into luxurious big-game hunting cars, and the SafariKar was intended as a modern version of one. Built on a 1969 International Travelall, it’s believed to be one of two survivors from three original prototypes.
Early cars broke down, and so early tow trucks had to be dispatched to get them. You needed brute strength to be a tow truck operator back in the day, since the winch was operated by hand.
We take climate control systems for granted today, but while many older cars did have heaters, whether factory-installed or aftermarket, cold air was still well in the future when this Chrysler was built. This little fan is an aftermarket accessory.
There are a lot of people who restore and collect professional cars, including funeral coaches, flower cars, and ambulances. John Fischer of Baltimore, Maryland likes Lincolns, and he likes hearses, so he built this one, using a stock Continental and parts from other cars.
Known today as “brass cars” for their lights and accessories, cars from the early years of the 20th century could be enormous. EMF stood for Everitt-Metzger-Flanders, which built cars from 1908 to 1912. They were sold through Studebaker, which acted as an automobile distributor while it was still building horse-drawn wagons. The name was retired when Studebaker began making cars of its own.
The automobile’s early days included hundreds of small companies, most of which folded or merged with others. The Paige-Detroit was built from 1908 to 1927, when it was bought by brothers Joseph, Robert and Ray Graham, who then renamed it Graham-Paige, and eventually, just Graham.
Graham ground to a halt in 1941, and its assets were bought by Kaiser. Its last model was the Hollywood, made with the dies from the defunct Cord sedan. Ridiculously expensive to build—the roof required seven pieces welded together—the car was also the swan song for Detroit-based Hupmobile, which tried to turn out a version called the Skylark. This is a supercharged model; the price was $26,900.
Introduced in 1926, and with versions used up until 1950, Packard’s Goddess of Speed is said to be the longest-lived American automobile mascot. She’s holding a wheel, but enthusiasts fondly refer to her as the “Doughnut Chaser.”
Cadillac also featured winged women atop its hoods. This one graces a 1937 V12 Series 85, the last year Cadillac would offer a twelve-cylinder engine. Its mighty V16 engine would continue until 1940.
Introduced in 1927, and the first car designed by a stylist rather than by engineers—that would be Harley J. Earl, by the way—the LaSalle was a less-expensive “companion car” to Cadillac. It lasted until 1940, when the new entry-level Cadillac Series 61 was introduced to take its place. This LaSalle convertible was priced at $65,900.
There’s always a “deal of the show,” and this year, I gave the title to this little Rambler 440 convertible. It ran well, showed no rust, with a tag of $3,800, it sold quickly. Mark your calendar: next year’s event runs from October 8 to 11, 2014.