Wheelin' 'n dealin'
By Hank Lohmeyer
Published Wednesday, September 2, 2015 8:14 am
Photos by Hank Lohmeyer There was a lot of interest from car enthusiasts, buyers, sellers and lookers at Confluence Park last Saturday for what organizers say was a "first ever" car parts swap meet for Delta. The event was judged a success and plans are a
One event noticeably absent from Delta's annual cycle of summer activities is a big car parts swap meet.
Last Saturday, that gap in the community events calendar was filled in by a well-attended auto parts swap at Confluence Park.
With all the local people who have a car project going, it is a given that garages all around the region are overstocked with treasure troves of gently used and in-demand parts.
Event co-organizer Jerry Seale of Eckert said they were pleased with the turnout, and also with the venue provided by the City of Delta's newly paved Lions Pavilion parking lot.
Seale and fellow event organizer Roger Maddox of Cory are members of a local car club. But the event wasn't sponsored by a club. It was largely the inspiration and organizational work of the two men and their wives, Betty Seale and Barbara Maddox.
"There is a big swap meet in Denver in February. But the weather trying to get across the mountain is so bad," Maddox said. "And it's a long way to travel and it's always too cold."
Another springtime swap meet held in Grand Junction has drawbacks of stormy weather and organizers charging an admission fee for the public to attend. The Delta event was free of both those problems as visitors came, browsed and bought under sunny skies, or just visited as they pleased.
"You said you'd take it," one seller was overheard telling his customer, "so I didn't know if I was going to get paid for it or not," he added jokingly.
"It's the first one," Seale said of the Delta swap meet. "We're a bunch of ol' street rodders who got together and decided to try to start one." He, Maddox, and their wives are already looking forward to future events, possibly adding a spring event that would take place around the time of the Moab car show in late April.
Barbara Maddox thinks that adding motorcycles to the Delta event next year would be a plus.
Betty Seale said, "We also need to get the word out better next year. Since this is the first one, it was kind of hard to get people to commit to participating and helping to organize."
One person who did step up to help and lend a hand with getting the event off the ground was Lynn Krebs, a National Street Rod Association certified inspector who was on hand in Delta if anyone needed their vehicle inspected free of charge.
The idea for a parts swap meet in Delta started on a smaller scale when a few months ago Betty told Jerry they needed to have a car parts yard sale, she explained. He suggested waiting, but apparently her comment sparked his imagination.
Soon, Jerry was talking the idea over with Roger. Roger got it. "Everyone with a car he works on will have a bunch of parts," he said.
It all began coming together because a lot of people in the area had also come to notice that a parts swap meet was something Delta ought to be hosting.
There were about 20 vendors signed up prior to the event who had heard about it through "word of mouth," through Facebook, or whatever including posters around the area. But Betty said that at least another 20 arrived on the big day last Saturday to participate.
Almost before anyone knew it, the parking lot at Confluence was filled with trailers displaying everything from vintage iron to the tools to bolt it up with. Though it wasn't intended to be a car show, there were some vehicles (in part and whole) on display also. They included Krebs' 1936 Ford coupe complete with an original rumble seat and roll-down rear window, and rodded with a Chevy 327 and automatic transmission.
"It makes going to get ice cream with the grandkids a big deal," Krebs said.
Happy buyers strolled through the displays with their prizes of chrome hood ornaments, a vintage steering wheel, or headers for a big-block Chevy project.
The participants were from all around the local region -- Delta, Mesa and Montrose counties.
It was an event for some business, but also for fun and fellowship.
"For you, I'd charge twice that much," one seller told a customer.
"That's what I thought," the customer replied.
Another seller had a more refined sales pitch: "I'll give you five dollars off for everything you buy over $2," he told a prospective customer.
"We thought it would be a good time (of the year) to do it," Jerry said. Weather was perfect and there weren't any competing auto events taking place that weekend.
Most of the swap meets try for an early spring time frame to catch car buffs coming out of winter hibernation and planning their summer projects and road trips. So there may be a spring swap meet on the Delta calendar next year, too. The interest is obviously there and the auto enthusiasts will be ready.
One vendor who knew the face and the vehicle, but not the name of a casual looker asked, "You still have that green pickup you were driving?"
"Yeah," he replied, "but I was getting ready to tear it down. The transmission probably has 500,000 miles on it and is ready for a rebuild."
A good place to experience the local auto enthusiast's scene and to get involved is to drive into the Sonic in Delta on Friday evenings where many of them like to congregate and visit about their favorite pastime.