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The Future of Truck Shows


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A bit of background, in order to make sense of my question:

Back in the mid-seventies, while working as a VW technician at a dealer, I became interested in the history of VW and the 'vintage' models.

By the late seventies, I was active in a vintage VW club and had become interested and was working on, Porsches. Let's just say the two makes are cousins.

The shows and swap meets at that time had a lot of really old cars that were already classics: split-window Beetles, Kubelwagens, Hebmullers, oddball cars, pre-A 356s, 550s, Spyders, as well as very rare examples.

Parts were somewhat plentiful and reasonably priced. There was little in the way of aftermarket sheet metal and accessories. Swap meets were THE place to find what you needed and you could save a few $$$ by some friendly haggling.

Something gradually changed the spirit of those shows over the ensuing years. The really old cars seemed to disappear. Where you saw some really old, rare examples had been replaced by the newer models.

Swap meets became commercial and the aftermarket parts flooded the scene. Haggling became a thing of the past.

I stopped going as a vendor because it wasn't fun any more. I was constantly insulted by low offers for things I had reasonably priced, knowing the going rates.

The Interwebz came along and everyone used eBay opening bids as a price guide.

I've talked with friends who still go as vendors and some have stopped altogether, much for the same reasons I stopped.

I've since gotten old and retired from the biz, but I still go, albeit only occasionally. It's a whole different world, now.

Somewhere in the late eighties, I started going to Macungie and enjoying the truck shows. I've always carried a fascination obsession with old fire apparatus. I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate seeing older trucks of any kind, especially those from the thirties and forties. Must be that they remind me of my youth.

Now my question: do you see the same changes in truck shows and, if so, where have all the trucks gone that you used to see?

In the case of the VWs and Porsches, a lot of Japanese investors came to the US and bought up many of the cars and shipped them back, never to be seen at US car shows again. This was especially true in the eighties and early nineties. It drove the prices up to astronomical levels and created a shortage of sought-after cars. 356 Speedsters values went through the roof.

Do you see this happening with vintage trucks?

Edited by joemac
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Just taking longer since the "old truck shows" haven't been around as long. The whole technology change along with the economy dump really changed the world.

Who can afford to go far at $4/gal for fuel. Let alone buy parts to put something together at todays cost.

Back in 2001, I had no qualms dragging my stuff to West Palm Beach, FL to go to a race. Had a great time. I cringe going 150 miles now.

I've been going to Columbus, Ohio for the "BIG" all Ford swap meet for 25 yrs now. It used to be quite the show with lots of cool cars in the corral and plenty of good parts. Now it's slim pickens and bring your mortgage note.

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Larry

1959 B61 Liv'n Large......................

Charter member of the "MACK PACK"

 

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Sadly I lock my B model at the races for the most part. I've caught people just crawling in it while I'm not there. NOT cool. I am more then willing to let them crawl through it and pick it apart, but ASK first.

When people do come up and ask, they are sometimes afraid and I tell them to jump up and have fun. They aren't going to hurt it anymore then I can.

Heck, I wish I could find someone to drive it. I'd like to actually SEE my truck going down the road just one time LOL!!

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Larry

1959 B61 Liv'n Large......................

Charter member of the "MACK PACK"

 

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I had street cars and you would always run into some one on a Friday or Saturday night. A set of 75 dollar black jack headers, alum intake Holley carb you were the fast guy. Now no one shows up and if you spin a tire and the law gets you it an act of national security. I priced headers for the wife's 09 challenger 800.00. Then if you even start to make HP it has an independent rear. Half shafts O Boy there cheap. I agree with the coast of living and ill ay on the tax and insurance end of it can't aford all the hobby stuff. So it's just trucks.

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Thanks for the replies.

I've been daydreaming of buying and restoring an antique firetruck, either an old Mack A, L, B, or, preferably, a C. I'd love to find an old abandoned enclosed cab 700 or 800 Alf and save it.

Then again, I've always had a fondness for the thirties D series International trucks.

Having a very modest fixed income, no place to store or work on such a project has put a damper on the dream.

I'm currently putting together a resume to submit to a company I just found out about near me that services and sells fire apparatus. The other week I had a sit-down with the owner and discussed a part-time job.

If I get the job, things may just change enough that I could actually have the dream come true.

Then, I'll need another job to pay for the fuel to get the restored rig to Macungie and back.

I'm already ahead of the game. I've got a spiffy chromed bulldog hood ornament...

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The same thing is happening in the old truck hobby. In the early 80's Leon Schnepper used to drive his AC tractor to Macungie from Jersey pulling a trailer. That truck is in the Mahan Collection. There were some really old trucks there, but I have to remember it was 30 years ago. The show was much smaller, though. I made the comment in a post a couple weeks ago wondering where all the really old trucks have gone. My thought is that they are in either private or public museums and do not see the light of day any more. . I know some of them have deteriorated for lack of care from seeing too much light of day. Some of them the owners have gotten to old and they sit in a garage waiting for the next collector. Others have been passed down to children who do not have the time or interest to take them to shows. Some trucks are non-functional because of inavailabilty of parts. I need a block for an EN540, but cannot come up with one. I bet over half of the trucks at Macungie were made after 1970. When I was younger I would not look at trucks made after 1960. This year I am going to take a 1989 R688, 1988 RW613 and 1985 MH612. None of these trucks were built when I was at my first show at Macungie, but they are all considered antiques now. Part of it is that a lot of the younger collectors want trucks that remind them of their youth, The trucks that they learned to drive in. The did not learn to drive AC Macks.

The flea market at Macungie is still the best in the world, but I have heard that a lot of the fire flea markets have become pack and mug swaps.

And yes, fuel prices do keep some trucks in the garage. That will only get worse from here.

Mike

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AS stated above it is a lot of seperate things all taken together. In my case I just sold both of my big trucks as my children do not have the space to store them (zoning laws) or the ability to operate them as their education has sent them in other directions.

Definitely the cost of fuel, food, and motels has limited the participation at large shows, or further away shows, by many of us on retirement incomes.

As well as the costs of presenting as show. Our local ATHS chapter is piggybacking with the local farm tractor clubs, to create a combined show, as it spreads out the cost and involves more people for the volunteer work necessary to put on a show.

Brocky

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This is also happening in the die-cast market. Going to a toy show 10 to 15 years ago was great. The vendors had tons of First Gear, Norscott, NZG, Corgi,

Ertl and tons of Nascar stuff. You could usually find what you wanted at the show or at least get a lead and find it somewhere else. Now Ebay rules the toy

world and the toy shows are over glorified flea markets with dumb ass beanie babies, mass produced farm equip and old junk. Can't really blame the vendors

though, you figure $3.50 gallon gas, hotel room, food and $60 and up table prices you have to sell a ton of toys to re-coup all those expenses. Don't get me

wrong Ebay is pretty darn handy but it has ruined the hands on fun of seeing this stuff in person.

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Joemac, this is a great topic, and one I could discuss for hours. But I am a lousy typist so I'll try to be brief. Yes things have changed, but I think that there is no better place to meet good people than at a truck show. Times and people change. People want to drive their antiques nowadays, and who can blame them. Even if you could get a model T to go 50 mph, you couldn't stop it. So naturally we see newer trucks at shows. There are also a lot of people that have been in this hobby a very long time, who are no longer able to make the effort to haul an 80 year old truck to a show. We are coming to a point in time when there will be a lot of real antiques coming onto the market as the old timers pass on. Who will own these antiques for the next 50 years remains to be seen. With any luck it will be you. Small local truck shows still offer a lot of surprises, and of course the ATCA meet at Macungie is as good as it gets. We still don't see Toyotas at antique truck shows, and that's a good sign . Steve

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Joemac, this is a great topic, and one I could discuss for hours. But I am a lousy typist so I'll try to be brief. Yes things have changed, but I think that there is no better place to meet good people than at a truck show. Times and people change. People want to drive their antiques nowadays, and who can blame them. Even if you could get a model T to go 50 mph, you couldn't stop it. So naturally we see newer trucks at shows. There are also a lot of people that have been in this hobby a very long time, who are no longer able to make the effort to haul an 80 year old truck to a show. We are coming to a point in time when there will be a lot of real antiques coming onto the market as the old timers pass on. Who will own these antiques for the next 50 years remains to be seen. With any luck it will be you. Small local truck shows still offer a lot of surprises, and of course the ATCA meet at Macungie is as good as it gets. We still don't see Toyotas at antique truck shows, and that's a good sign . Steve

Steve, My father says you got an H63. Lets see it. Do the Brockway guys know about this? Three Macks! They are going to kick you out of the club.

Oh, and I agree with the above statement. I need a bigger pole barn for when these trucks become available. Mike

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joemac I will get some pics and post when the weather is better our vol.fire dept has a ih 1937 I believe its a kb6 or kb7 the body was built by vanpelt. I looked on line and could only find a ford f6 or f7 with a van pelt. cool ole ride with a buggy seat and dual hose reels, still original I take it to some local parades most people cant believe it still runs.

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Great topic. It is an expensive hobby, just to keep the iron in it's current state, let alone improve it. I always love seeing the trucks, but the people and the stories are the best part. I keep seeing new trucks and meeting new people. The diesel fuel is super expensive for sure. I hope people keep coming even if they ride along or bring a car or truck. It's funny to be the young guy (just turned) 46 yesterday! Or younger guy in the hobby. Seems like more and more of my Heros keep passing away each year. I always try and talk to as many people as I can and learn about how they started trucking etc. It's also sad that the hobby does not continue from generation to generation. I try and include my wife and girls in the hobby, but don't force it on them. I know I can talk about and look at old iron all day, but it's not their cup of tea, so we try and meet up for dinner or incorporate other stops on some of the trips.

Hope to see you guys out there. Can't wait for next season. We are knee deep into a frame job and restoration on my 66 International 4000. Hope to have it done for Macungie. We will see.

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I always thought the best folks were at the Nascar races until I started going to truck shows with my fellow trucker buddies. Now got into antique trucks and am having a ball with the shows. One of the best parts is talking to people. I never have been to a show where someone didn't come up and talk about trucks. My wife still is not on board, but likes the people.

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Yeah, it's kinda strange about women and old trucks. When I bought my not-running, rusty, milky-windowed trashed-out B20, the guy I bought it from delivered in on a trailer and we pushed it into my workshop out behind the house. The wife sees it being unloaded and says "Oh no, what a piece of junk." Clearly not impressed. Several weeks later, truck is still sitting in the shop untouched. Wife has an interior design woman come to the house to talk about some new curtains. My wife decides she needs to show her something in her (wife's) office which is in the back corner of the shop. So, they go out to the shop, wife opens the door and they go in. The interior design woman's eyes light up when she sees the truck, flashes me a great big grin and says "wow, i want a ride in that when you get it ready." Wife's jaw drops, they look at each other, no words but expression pretty much said it all. Interior design lady keeps pinging me on various social sites but no way I'm going there if you know what I mean. Old trucks are in the eye of the beholder - male or female.

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I have been collecting trucks since the mid 60's, and going to shows since the 70's (Hershey, Carlisle, the early ATCA shows and ATHS shows). Around 1974, I took my late teens AC Mack to a AACA car show in my town (I was a member). It leaked every fluid it had in it, but I drove it there with my father trailing me in a modern (at the time) U model. Well, a lot of the car guys didn't like me bringing this to the show. About halfway thru the day, an elderly fellow came up to me asking all kinds of questions about the AC. Seems he drove one in France in WW1. So, I asked him if he would like to take a ride. His eyes lit up. We took a spin around the place, and when we got back to my parking place, his daughter, a nice middle aged lady, started apologizing to me for her dad bothering me. I told her no problem, I enjoyed it, and the fellow was in heaven. As she drug him away, he said he would be back later with pictures. A couple of hours later, his daughter brought him back with the pictures. We spent a delightful time looking at his memory book. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Sure, the shows have changed, but some people don't. Truck shows, and antique engine and steam shows, are still the best events I have ever been to. And I am still meeting some of the nicest people I have ever met in my 6+ decades.

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I have been around trucks all my life by way of my father, just the other day I went to a local chapter meeting with him for the first time and enjoyed it, very nice people all with stories of their trucks or other peoples trucks. I have to say around here I have noticed an increase in participation at the shows, more tucks are at them, they seem to even come from further away and the public participation is there. Alot are people who are older and may have driven similar trucks or just plain remember them as kids, they are always nice to talk with and listen to. There are more trucks going to private collectors who may show them only at there own place. Around here I have the ability to take the trucks to four shows a summer that is the B-61 now with the other truck we can go father out and trailer the B-61 and I am fortunate that my daughters like the shows, they are in there 20's and like the trucks and want them kept in the family so hopefully they will.

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I would think Truck Shows will be around for a long time, the folks on here and the Local ATHS chapter folks are great about promoting the hobby, here in my area even the Independence, Missouri parks and recreation get with local businesses and sponsor a Saturday touch a truck, in my area I think its going to be around for awhile.

BTW the best truck there besides mine was the blue bell ice cream truck, the gave free ice cream out to everyone! There was NG trucks, local fire, concrete mixers, dumps, Bob cat was there with there landol lowboy and some equipment, couple different tow company's probably 20 different business represented neat show really surprised at the great turn out. They even flew in a police rescue/patrol copter.

All you could hear was horns blasting and kids laughing!

I googled the link http://www.ci.independence.mo.us/fire/story.aspx?id=3511

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Robert

"I reject your reality and substitute my own."

 

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