Car parts, repair tips and tall tales all exchanged at auto swap meet

Whether your tastes run to 1920s rusty rattlers, 1950s-style flashy hotrods or those classics in between, you’ll find them all at Ye Olde Car Club of Tri-Cities’ annual Swap Meet on May 7.

[blockquote quote=”The swap meet attracts basically anyone with a very strong interest in cars, whether they’re hobby type, classic antiques or collectibles.” source=”John Trumbo, swap meet chairman” align=”right” max_width=”300px”]

The swap meet is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be held indoors and outdoors at the Benton Franklin Fairgrounds in Kennewick. Admission is free.

While some of the cars at the swap meet will be for sale, the main attraction is the chance to talk to others who have a similar love for old relics. You can swap stories and learn from others who’ve found the best way to remove rust, or the best paints and upholstery techniques, said John Trumbo, swap meet chairman.

“It’s a very social, very educational event that’s all about the hobby,” he said.

The swap meet has taken place annually since 1976 and is one of the most popular events of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. It draws more than 200 car part vendors from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and Nevada.

It’s a great place to rummage for hard to find parts for vehicles from the 1920s to the 1970s.

“You can also buy cars — if you can call them that. A lot are missing pieces and would have to be taken home on a trailer,” Trumbo said.

About 3,000 people attend the event each year, he added.

“The swap meet attracts basically anyone with a very strong interest in cars, whether they’re hobby type, classic antiques or collectibles,” Trumbo said.

Antique vehicles are generally classified as those from the mid-1920s and older while classic cars are those large and luxurious cars — like Duesenbergs, Chryslers, Cadillacs and Auburns — built up until 1920 and up to the Depression, he said.

“Collectible cars are not era-specific and include those from the 1920s and 1930s and post W.W.II, including the fat-fendered cars of the 1940s and mid-1950s,” Trumbo said.

The performance automobiles are classic mid-1950s like T-Birds and Chevys that are frequently hot-rodded and the muscle car era vehicles of the 1970s that had monster engines in them, he said.

When Ye Olde Car Club was founded in 1962, most of the members had cars from the 1920s and 1930s. But as the club members aged through the decades, the cars have become newer, though still not automobiles commonly found for sale on used car lots.

The swap meet will be in Building 2 and at the paved area and the lawn near the entrance. Food will be available.

Proceeds from the event help Ye Olde Car Club of Tri-Cities underwrite its annual scholarship donations to the Kennewick School District’s Tri-Tech Skill Center automotive program and various Tri-Cities’ charities.

A limited number of vendor spaces are still available and must be reserved by April 23. For more information or to register as a vendor for the swap meet, contact John Trumbo at 582-4297 or 366-2241.

The club organizes dozens of tours and outings with their cars during the year including visits to two dozen retirement and assisted-living facilities in the Tri-Cities in the spring and summer.

For more information about Ye Olde Car Club of Tri-Cities go to The group meets each Wednesday at 7 a.m. at Sterling’s Restaurant at 2500 Queensgate Blvd., in Richland and visitors are welcome.

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