REPORT: Hershey Swap Meet 2013
There is something special about thousands of Porsche fans converging on a parking lot in Eastern Pennsylvania. Every year, the Central Pennsylvania PCA chapter hosts the largest Porsche only swap meet in the world in Hershey, PA, and this year was no less exciting. Tons of folks came from thousands of miles away to celebrate the brand, and hopefully find some deals.
With a 4AM wakeup call breaking the melodic thrum of the heater in my hotel room, and startling me out of my brief slumber, I shook my head clear and rose to prepare for the day. A continental breakfast and multiple cups of coffee later, I was ready to get going. It was a long day ahead, and I was ready to see all of it. Fatefully, though, I left my sunscreen at home.
For those who have never been to Hershey, the first thing you will note is the sheer size of the venue. The parking lot outside of Hershey Park is pretty darn big, and somehow filled to the brim with Porsches, parts, and people. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I was keeping an eye out for bargains and they were present in truckloads. There were complete cars for sale, there were empty shells, there were bits of rough and rusty gold, and there were brand new chromed chachkies, all were looking for new homes.
Certainly the advent of the internet has brought about an odd turn in this event, as perceived values of products are more readily available, meaning most of the parts were priced at or near market value. With properly valued products, and savvy salesmen, there were fewer “deals” to be found, but if you looked hard enough, you could find them. A Porsche friend of mine picked up a pair of 914 tail lamp assemblies with perfect Hella USA lenses for 40 dollars, and I spoke to another show-goer who picked up a rough but useable early 911 rear center panel for 20 greenbacks.
In the corral, there were plenty of Porsches just waiting for new owners, and a certain crusty but complete 912 piqued my interest. In the end, neither it, nor any others followed me home, but I was awfully tempted. Where the world classic Porsche market has been on a steep upward swing, so too was the Hershey classic Porsche market. Original paint “survivors” were commanding top dollar on the day, and nobody seemed surprised.
In the end, I was ecstatic to have been able to spend the day with the world’s greatest cars, and the most enthusiastic group of people who love them. To say the weather was cooperative would be an outright lie, as cold temperatures and extremely high winds kept the less diligent bargain hunters away until just before noon. Even with the thermometer hovering around 40, the sun beat down with some welcome vitamin D, but unfortunately, I overindulged. Around lunch time, the show was truly hopping, and in Hershey tradition, everything started to pack up at about 3. We persevered, and the show was a resounding hit. I know that I’ll be back next year, and I might be convinced to pack some warmer clothes, and I won’t ever forget my sunscreen again.
Photos: Bradley Brownell/9Magazine.com