Queanbeyan Swap Meet, September 21-22

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Putting them on display: Since the core purpose of a swap meet is to restore a classic vehicle, it's only logical to incorporate a car show as well. Photo: Supplied.

Putting them on display: Since the core purpose of a swap meet is to restore a classic vehicle, it's only logical to incorporate a car show as well. Photo: Supplied.

The swap meet, as it is still called, began back in the days when people were buying old cars for parts, and then swapping the bits they didn't need with someone who had the parts they did want.

That soon evolved into something more akin to a village market, with stallholders selling what they had, in some cases still using that money to fund the vehicle project.

Swap meets are still a huge part of classic car culture, and they do still operate in that market-style manner. They're very useful too. In many cases dealers aren't obligated by the manufacturer to carry parts that were discontinued 7-10 years ago, and wreckers have finite space so only specialists will have anything older than 20-30 years available.

Buying old parts online is the same gamble as any other used item. It doesn't matter what it is - car parts or a child's bed - they're almost never as good as the seller's description, so seeing them before buying them is important, especially if you plan to actually use those parts and not just display them as ornaments at home.

Reproduction parts can be handy products, but not everything has been reproduced in the aftermarket.

Additionally, if you're restoring a genuine collectable (rather than creating a tribute or clone from a similar shell), then the more genuine parts you can find the more authentic the finished project will be, and that matters, especially in certain shows or show categories.

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MORE TO FIND

As swap meets grew, they also began to include not just parts you can't find at a dealership or wrecker anymore, but also memorabilia, collectables, old tools, and even novelty items, that are all somehow related to cars and car culture, usually in quite a nostalgic way.

Along with this, there now tends to be a somewhat predictable trend with who is looking for what throughout the weekend.

Chris Jackson, one of the event organisers, tells us that people on the hunt for very specific parts will be there early, while those wanting to have a browse for anything that looks interesting will take their time as they enjoy the nostalgia of the weekend.

Chris also observed that larger parts generally tend to go later in the day, simply because the buyer needs to figure out how they'll get them home (unless they brought their own ute or trailer in anticipation).

Rare bits: Sellers travel from all over eastern Australia to be at the Queanbeyan Swap Meet, offering parts, memorabilia and more. Photo: Supplied.

Rare bits: Sellers travel from all over eastern Australia to be at the Queanbeyan Swap Meet, offering parts, memorabilia and more. Photo: Supplied.

MORE TO DO

In addition to the swap meet, since the end game is a completed vehicle it makes sense to have a car show the following day, as is done in some other locations too.

Queanbeyan Swap Meet's display on the Sunday is called the Big 3 Car Show and it incorporates the American Car Nationals. Locals are also encouraged to bring their classics for display.

You can also get a free health Tune Up. One of the event's organisers, Wendy Anderson said "We found a lot of blokes would go for a free health check at the shows and swap meets, but wouldn't go for a check-up at their local clinic".

If this sounds like you then dropping by to see the team at OzHelp could be the most important thing you do all day. Think of it like a free QC check before the vehicle leaves the factory, because the team will use analogies like your heart being the engine and your skin being the panel and paint.

THE DETAILS

The Queanbeyan Swap Meet will be on Saturday and Sunday September 21 and 22 at the Queanbeyan Showground.

The Big 3 Car Show (and American Car Nationals) will be at the same venue on Sunday September 22.