Car collectors tend to be the hands-on type. So, it’s no surprise that, despite what the internet has done for the buying and selling of car parts, many deals are still done at good old fashioned swap meets. And this week our Over the Edge guy Greg Carloss checks out one of the world’s largest.
GREG CARLOSS: Nothing rejuvenates the soul quite like springtime. Yeah, it’s the sound of the birds and the smell of the flowers and all that. But here in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Spring means cars!
MIKE GARLAND: Spring Carlisle is an automotive flea market event at the Carlisle, PA fairgrounds. It draws 100,000 guests to the facility every April. They’re here to buy, sell and trade all things automotive…whether it’s a– a tool, a part, a collectible or even a collector car for sale within the car corral. It’s– it’s all happening over the span of the five days.
GREG CARLOSS: Spring Carlisle’s popularity is due, in part, to the weather. But as they say in real estate: location, location, location.
MIKE GARLAND: The Carlisle PA fairgrounds are centrally located to many major cities in– in the Northeast and Mid-Atantic region. Less than 4 hours from New York City, close proximity to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington DC as well.
GREG CARLOSS: Josh Carr drove three hours from Binghamton, New York, in search of adventure… and Mustang parts.
JOSH CARR: We started down at the far end and we’re about a quarter-way through so we’re going aisle by aisle until we find, see everything. It’s gonna be a long day.
GREG CARLOSS: While he enjoys the thrill of the hunt, Josh also comes to Carlisle for things he can’t buy.
JOSH CARR: Size of it and the history. It’s been here for a long time in doing this and we come down every– almost every year.
MIKE GARLAND: So, the company history is that in 1974 two friends who happen to share the same last name, but a mutual passion for all things automotive– Bill and Chip Miller– launched an event called Post War ’74. That event is now what everyone calls Fall Carlisle.
Then they branched out to add the sister event in Spring Carlisle in 1977.
GREG CARLOSS: Spring Carlisle is one of the biggest automotive flea markets in the world. And with literally thousands of vendors, if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, then you don’t belong near a car.
MATT MURRAY: So, we’re here for Spring Carlisle. Uh… We always have a big booth here. We buy and sell at the show. It’s always a great place to find stuff that we need and it’s also a great place to sell.
Our stuff is more geared towards the hardcore builder. So, we have a lot of body panels for hard-to-find cars. So, we travel all over finding those special pieces so a guy that’s building a truly nostalgic car can buy it from us.
GREG CARLOSS: Sure, people come here for things. But the process for buying those things is just as satisfying.
JOSH CARR: Well, we come down to get the parts we can’t get online and stuff that we want– actually want to put our hands on and just seeing how nice some of the stuff is…And if I can cut a good deal I will.
MATT MURRAY: We’re finding actually a lot of guys will actually just walk up and say I’m gonna buy it because they know that there’s not a– we may have the only one of those grilles here in the whole place. So, if a guy walks away another might buy it behind him.
GREG CARLOSS: And it’s not just parts being sold. There are whole cars for purchase too.
MIKE GARLAND: The 2023 Spring Carlisle collector car auction, brings us a 1953 Corvette and of course the uniqueness is there were only 300 ‘53s ever produced this is car #100 that rolled off the assembly line.
GREG CARLOSS: And by the time it rolled off Carlisle’s auction line, this ultra-rare Corvette sold for a show-record $324,000.
MIKE GARLAND: People go to concerts, people go golfing. People come to Carlisle for a unique form of entertainment and it’s– it’s really cool to be part of a team that can deliver that year in and year out.
JOSH CARR: Carlisle is absolutely wonderful, the people here are great…Everyone’s just been really nice even with that many people.
MATT MURRAY: It’s still old school. You can look at a part, negotiate, do the handshake and that’s why we still think it’s important to do, you know, physical swap meets.
GREG CARLOSS: Take THAT, Internet!