Swapmeets memories, chapter 2. In the mid-70s I met Bob Chauvin. At the time he had a company called All True with Walt Zoran. Later he would partner with Larry Wallie and create CARS inc. Which stood for Canadian and American restoration supplies. I mentioned to Bob how I was looking for all kinds of Chevrolet truck parts, including NOS Parts. He mentioned I should go to Carlisle Pennsylvania. They have a swap meet there and I would be able to find lots of NOS Parts. He said if you fly to Detroit, you can ride down to Carlisle with us and any parts you find we will ship back to California for you . How can I go wrong? The first year I went there I couldn’t believe it. It was on an old fairgrounds and it actually still had the horse race track in the center of the fairgrounds. People were unloading big rider trucks full of NOS stuff, and nobody was interested in the truck stuff. That first year I probably got 10 big blue boxes full of GM NOS Parts cheaper than I was buying used parts for in California. The following year Bob said why don’t you bring some catalogs and put them in the booth where they were selling Chevrolet car parts. I did that, and every time I came back to the booth the table was empty of catalogs, and there was usually one or two people waiting to talk to me. Well it didn’t take me long to figure out that I need to bring some parts back there and get some spaces. The first year I went back I took the van showed in pictures and a trailer full of parts and we sold out in two days. Well the rest is history. I ended up Getting a big rig and actually two of them towards the end, and Chris crossed the country doing all the major swapmeets. There’s so many stories about those swapmeets. I don’t know where to begin. I use to fly in about seven people to help me, most of who we’re just friends that are in the truck industry, that met along the way. I would also bring about 4 people from my warehouse. We all had our year group we worked. My wife was the 67-72 area rep. the last 10 years I sold at Carlisle, we had spaces by gate 2. 11 spaces in a row, the same spaces spring and fall and fill them up with a semi and lots of parts. We would stay busy from dawn till dusk helping customers. We also went to Iola, Jefferson, Charlotte, Hershey and Pate Texas. When I first started selling Truck Parts a Carlisle, no one else was selling Chevy or GMC truck parts at that time.
Things have really changed now I don’t sell at the swapmeets anymore but I go to the majors to do my buying. I’ve got to tell you I kind of miss bringing parts and helping people finish their trucks. It’s so great to run in some of my old customers at Carlisle and talk about the memories of those days.