Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 Bakersfield Swamp Meet

by Willy Vinton

I sure wasn't expecting this kind of weather at the Bakersfield Brass Era Swap Meet this year. It was in the 70s or warmer the other times I've gone, and the forecast called for it to reach the 90s during this year's meet. Instead, it was cold, rainy and windy, almost like Hershey in the fall. They even had to close the Grapevine.
Friday brought almost an inch of rain, causing the grounds to begin to look like Fairbanks during "breakup" season. Lots of people got stuck in the mud. Even 4-wheel drives had difficulty maneuvering in the quagmire that the field became. Thankfully, the people in charge gathered up a few farm tractors and began towing motor homes and such out Friday night and Saturday morning.
This was the typical view on Friday, with most items covered, limiting the shopping opportunities. Some of the old die-hard vendors had some rusty items out for shoppers to search through, but the weather was just so cold and miserable that most people huddled up or went back to the hotel. The JC Taylor folks were graciously running around handing out some very appreciated rain panchos to shoppers. Although I kept my museum hat on, I admit that I became a walking advertisement for JC Taylor on this trip.

Despite the nasty weather, there were some treasures to be found. This 1913-1914 Cartercar was one of those. It is completely original, with just 2,023 total miles on it. Remarkable! It's still under full warranty--all you have to do is take it in to any Cartercar dealer for service or repair (good luck finding one!). It is always a treat to see an antique car that still has its original paint and pin striping. The upholstery, side curtains and top are still good. Even the wheels are tight. If we didn't already have a beautiful Cartercar in our collection (video), this would have made a nice addition to the museum.

Many thanks to all that put on this meet -- you did a great job in spite of the weather. Just a word to the wise, though. If it is muddy, do not drive through the crowd with a one-ton dually spinning your tires and throwing mud on the vendors and people with cameras. You may encounter some ire from folks (just saying).

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You're lucky to get to ride on a steam car. This is awesome. Steam car was broadly superior and even managed to hold absolute land speed records. Now, White Motor Company is recreating a lot of new modern steam cars.

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