Each year one of the most anticipated events in rodding is actually an off-shoot of another all-together different event. The L.A. Roadsters organized their first hot rod exhibition in 1959, but it wasn't until 1966, at the third-ever event, that a new name-The L.A. Roadster Exhibition & Swap Meet-highlighted an addition that encompassed one of the best aspects of the show: a swap meet.
Over the years the roadster show's swap meet has become legendary. Not very long ago there were so many people looking for deals it was hard to get through the crowded aisles. You'd spend more time bumping shoulders with other parts hounds and it became something of a hassle. But whether it was the expansion of the swap meet area a few years back or a slow-down in the economy, there now seems to be less folks walking the aisles, which is a good thing for those who are hunting for what vintage tin is still out there.
Swap meet sellers started lining up early Friday morning (the swap didn't "officially" open until Saturday morning) and items started selling in the wee morning hours right out of the back of the trucks that were hauling the pieces to the meet.
Once you pay for your spot ($65 for one 15 x 20) it's something of an Oklahoma land grab as sellers speed off to find the perfect spot among the 1,200 spots set aside. Once the swap opens, everything you can imagine for a hot rod will probably be picked up, handled, sized-up, haggled over, and possibly sold. The smallest and most rare pieces are there, as are the highly-desirable (need a certain vintage tach for your ride?).
If "the deal" hasn't been brokered by Sunday afternoon, folks start packing up and thinking about what they could build with the parts they couldn't sell and begin thinking about what they'll bring out next year.