Well, it's that time of year again when all of us should be limbering up our hot rods for a summer's worth of fun. Of course, there's always the obligatory project under construction and therein lies the dilemma. How much time do we spend in the garage versus on the road driving our hot rod? There just isn't enough time.

For starters, I've come to the conclusion there isn't enough time in the day, days in the week, weeks in the month, or months in the year to get done what needs to be done. And if that weren't bad enough I clearly don't have the budget to take any shortcuts. The best I've been able to come up with is to barter for parts that I need. Bartering has been around for a long time and I'm guessing it will be with us for many years to come.

(I know the government isn't keen on bartering as they lose a certain about of taxation. The way I see it they have taxed us and will tax us plenty of years to come but maybe a little more bartering will force them to be a little more careful with our money. We can hope.) By definition bartering is: the exchange of goods or services for other goods or services without the exchange of currency. And therein lies the hot rod community.

One of the first things that became apparent to me when hanging around with other car guys was the importance of car clubs. Now, many of us don't belong to nor have we ever belonged to a car club and we do just fine. And that's all well and good. But all of us know guys in car clubs and one thing is for certain: Within the framework of any car club resides the means of networking. Anytime I am looking for something, one phone call to any one of a number of fellow rodders and the network goes into action. Experience has also taught me that while I may need a particular piece there's always a good chance the owner of said piece could use something himself. Of course, there's always the possibility that said owner will not part with said part for anything less than a pocketful of greenbacks (today's vernacular would be "dead presidents").

The fun really begins when you find what you need but don't have what the owner would like. Then comes the multi-level bartering, which can really become hectic and very interesting. Let me tell you one such story. Oh, I should warn you there's always the chance that you may not get what you bartered for, so let the barterer beware.

I was looking for a pair of '63 Chevy (and other GM models, including Corvairs and little Buicks) seats for my '55 Chevy project. You know the seats; they are short-back buckets with a distinctive wide piece of chrome that wraps over and around the seatback. Well, I had something Bobby Alloway could use, although he didn't think so but I managed to convince him (and that's another story for another day). He didn't have the seats but he knew someone who did. OK, so it looks like it will all come together but the owner of my future seats wanted something in return, and lo and behold Alloway had it—a rear bench seat for a '55 Chevy.

So, into Alloway's parts storage locker, which as near as I can figure is the side of a hill filled with plant life that bites and dirt that moves freely beneath your feet as you climb. However, hidden here and there are parts from decades past and in time we would find just what I needed. It took a bit of time, numerous scratches from the local terra and fauna, but eventually we had the bench seat rescued from the hillside and in the back of his pickup truck. Off we went.

The drive over was short and the swap was quick and all were happy. Well, almost. Turns out the bench seat we had pulled out of the "parts shed" was the backseat for a '57 and worth considerably more than one for a '55. Oops.

I guess the basic precept to bartering is to know what you have, what you want, and don't screw up. Of course I have my bucket seats, the former owner has even more than he bartered for, and Alloway is going to hold my feet to the proverbial fire until I make good on this one. Oh well. Hey, what are friends for if you can't every now and then have a good laugh!

Brian Brennan
Street Rod Group Director/Editor
brian.brennan@sorc.com