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cutlasguy

Fall Carlisle Pictures 2018

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Is it just me or is  the Carlisle Show  just a mere shadow of what it used to be. I saw Bill Miller walking the Hershey show  last  week talking up his event and almost begging for new prospects set up at Hershey to consider his venue.

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I feel that in some way(s), to a greater or lesser degree), all swap meets are diminishing in attendance and the availability of good parts.  To some degree this can be attributed to the expansion of the internet selling sites and forums. I also think that realistically we have to accept that there are fewer good parts left out there than there were 10, 20 or 30 years ago.  For those of us who can remember wading through piles of NOS parts from the 1920's through the 1960's and even more, for those like me, the great selection of earlier brass-era items that regularly showed up at meets like Hershey, today's swap meets are indeed a shadow of what once was, albeit a wonderful memory.  I can think of many vendors who were major players in their day that are no longer active today.  The good news is that many of those parts have now been put to use in the restoration of more cars!  That being said,, I am not one of those who are constantly predicting the death of the hobby.  It will continue on, with the old timers (like me) becoming less active and newer and younger members moving in to take our places.   The market and prices will certainly change due to changes in demand for certain types of cars.  After all, what markets don't experience fluctuations over time?    Another reality, and one that I see on a regular basis due to being in the restoration business, is the increased costs of participation.  It's no longer so easy to "fix up" and old car on a shoestring budget, and this has eliminated some from our hobby.  But in truth there are still many decent older cars out there that can be acquired for less than a fortune. I saw a number of what I would consider to be good buys at Hershey this year.  So no, the swap meet/buying experience is not what it once was, but events like Hershey will continue to attract the hobbyists if for nothing more that the fellowship of congregating with like minded folks, exchanging information, and enjoying our cars. 

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Part of the problem is newer cookie cutter cars are seen as a commodity, little more than an appliance. Who collects and restores appliances? As the available pool of cars worthy of interest and collecting, along with the people to do so, die off through attrition the hobby will contract and be a small niche player............Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

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I've been a "hobby vendor" at Spring and Fall Carlisle for the last decade or more. The drop in attendance of both vendors and buyers was a hot topic of conversation at Fall Carlisle. There are a number of factors at play. First is that the last four years have seen really crappy weather for Fall Carlisle. Buyers were down and many vendors either consolidated footprints or pulled out entirely. Of course, this is a vicious circle, since fewer buyers mean fewer sellers, which means even fewer buyers, etc, etc. 

 

Second is that the internet really is impacting swap meets. There is a much better selection available on line, buyers can search worldwide for what they want, and sellers can reach a much larger audience. Despite the nicest weather at Fall Carlisle in years, few people were actually buying anything. Ten years ago we'd see people carrying fenders, hoods, tires, etc out the front gate starting early in the morning.  This year, nothing. 

 

That leads to the third issue - far fewer people are actually building projects. Our aging generation is downsizing as reality creeps in, selling off projects we finally admit we'll never get done, and the few members of the younger generations who are still interested in cars don't want to get their hands dirty. They either buy a car done or pay a shop to build it. Most of the under-40 crowd I did see wandering Carlisle were primarily looking at their phones.

 

Yeah, the aggressive pricing by Carlisle Events hasn't helped, but that is not the primary reason for the dismal attendance. Many vendors lamented the same thing happening at Charlotte and Englishtown (though the latter has other problems). Heck, the Orange and Green Fields at Hershey had a surprisingly large number of unfilled spaces on Wednesday.

Edited by joe_padavano (see edit history)

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I loved the chicken pieces from Hippie Chicken and always ate a few at  every Carlisle show! No more! The owner is wrapping it up and won't be back next year! Not enough foot traffic!

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