Swap Meet Life: Finding Project Cars the Old-Fashioned Way
Searching for and buying project cars has never been more convenient than it is today. Thanks to the internet and social media, one can hunt down vehicles from across the world with the touch of their fingers. It has forever changed the way people buy and sell and vehicles.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still find cool cars and good deals the old-fashioned way. All over the country there are car swap meets where you can still hunt down cars. California in particular has tons of them, usually full of interesting rust-free vehicles for sale.
Earlier this month we headed to the small town of Selma in the middle of the state's Central Valley to check out the annual spring car swap meet and see what sort of cool cars were up for sale.
Just walking around the event, you wouldn’t even know that the internet is the preferred way of buying cars and parts. There was a massive selection of vehicles, parts, collectibles and more—and even larger number of people who came to buy and browse.
A Great Variety on Display
Browsing the rows of cars sale, it was interesting to see the make-up. It was clear that many had ambitious prices and had likely already made the rounds on the online classifieds, but others appeared to come out of the woodwork and were sporting much more realistic prices.
In terms of the genres represented, all types were on hand. Sure, there were plenty of ‘50s and ‘60s American classics and lots of muscle cars in various states of restoration, but there were plenty of more unusual finds as well.
One of the first cars that struck our eye was this rather clean and original 1975 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was being offered up for $5,750. Although not a massively popular platform for building, it’s exempt from California smog laws. We think it’d be awesome with a bit of old school stock car style.
Funky and Exotic
Moving in a different direction, we have this funky little Honda Z600 that was priced at $3200. Powered by 600 cc motorcycle engine, these little Hondas are more value than they once were, and are still unique and relatively affordable overall.
Staying in the funky side of things, we have the unmistakable shape of the AMC Gremlin. This particular model was in quite good shape and was priced at $7,500. It’s hard to not to dig the bright orange body color and factory spec rally wheels on this example.
Moving in an even more unusual direction we’ve got this 1977 Puma. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it. It’s a rare Brazilian-built machine with fiberglass bodywork, VW running gear and a front end that’s heavily inspired by the Ferrari Dino.
Trucks and Domestics
Needless to say there were plenty of trucks and 4x4s up for sale in Selma as well, and one that caught or eye was this 1972 Chevrolet Suburban. Priced at $8,000, it seemed like a fair deal for a solid running, driving project base.
Looking for a cool 1990s throwback machine to take to the next Radwood event? Check out this mean looking 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS. Priced at $17,000, this one is sporting shaved door handles and a set of period correct Billet wheels for that smooth ‘90s look.
Last but not least, we get to what was easily one of the coolest vehicles of the day. While there was no sign on it, and no seller to be found, we were drooling all over this awesome Jeep pickup project. Everything about it was cool, particularly the patina.
These vehicles represent just a small fraction of the vintage machinery that was up for grabs. Whether you are seriously in the market for a project or just enjoy browsing and dreaming, sometimes it’s great to get away from the screens and get out to an event like this. Do yourself a favorite and try it. Who knows what you might find?