Automobile enthusiasts gear up for swap meet

Monday, February 11, 2002

When Dave Jackson went looking for parts for a classic car he was rebuilding, he hung a sign on his back and headed for a classic and antique automotive swap meet.

It didn't take long for him to find the parts.

Mark Watson of Cape Gir-ardeau, an old-car buff, has attended swap meets to look for some hard-to-find parts for his vehicles.

Watson and Jackson will be around the Arena Building in Cape Girardeau on Feb. 17 for the 36th annual Indoor Antique Car and Truck Swap Meet.

The swap meet, sponsored by the Capaha Antique Car Club, has grown into one of the biggest in the Midwest.

"Hundreds of people display items and thousands attend the event," said Jackson, president of the Capaha Antique Car Club. "This is a biggie. We'll have vendors from a 250-mile radius. Car and truck parts shoppers and car collectors will be here from St. Louis, Memphis and Nashville."

The event begins about 6:30 a.m., when vendors start unloading.

"You see a lot of shoppers on hand at 6:30 a.m., too," said Jackson.

Many vendors will have booths inside the Arena Building to display parts. Some will bring entire cars for sale.

"Those will be parked outside," said Jackson. "You can find all kinds of vehicle bodies and frames, small parts and big parts. We're usually sold out for space inside the building."

Jackson said as many as 400 to 500 vendors are expected for the one-day show.

There is a $1 admission charge into the building, but there is no charge to see parts and cars outside.

Some swap meets are directed to special cars: the Model A Ford, the Model T Ford, Mustangs, Caddies, Edsels, Studebakers and others. The local meet will have parts for a number of vehicles.

An antique and classic car collector, Jackson has acquired parts from swap meets to help him rebuild a number of old vehicles. Hundreds of the swap meets are held throughout the nation each year, and the events date back 30 to 40 years.

The Cape Antique Car Club Swap Meet started in Cape Girardeau in the 1960s, when a group of collectors and mechanics decided to hold an event where enthusiasts could meet, swap cars and parts and talk about cars and parts.

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