To celebrate a milestone birthday this year, I treated myself to a trip I'd wanted to make for a long time: the Portland Swap Meet in Portland, Oregon. Having been to most of the other big West Coast events including the San Diego and Turlock winter meets, Long Beach, Pomona, the L.A. Roaster's "Father's Day" swap meet, and the old Long Beach Ford Model T swap meet, I had a high expectation level to fill. Needless to say, Portland surpassed my expectations and was arguably one of the best, if not the best, antique and vintage auto swap meet I've attended in a long time. Though I've never attended East Coast swaps in Carlisle and Hershey (still on my swap meet pilgrimage path), I'll go out on a very short limb and describe the Portland Auto Swap as a "West Coast Carlisle/Hershey".

The three-day Portland Swap Meet is held at the giant Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center, and hosted by six local area antique automobile clubs. It's both an indoor and outdoor antique and vintage auto parts and vehicle/truck swap that boasts more than 4,200 vendor stalls and numerous vehicle sales stalls. Unlike at most swap meets, vendors here are mostly located indoors so you can swap and stay dry rain or shine. The location has a municipal train stop on the premises and is only five miles from the airport. If you're looking for N.O.S., reproduction, used, mint, "shelf-worn", wore-out sheetmetal, trim, accessories, speed equipment, driveline parts, instrumentation, wheels, hub caps, glass, hardware, literature, trinkets, signs, bric-a-brac, complete cars, bodies or the rare or unusual whatchamacallit, chances are you'll find it here. Shuttle buses run swappers back and forth from a nearby parking field.

As an added bonus for enthusiastic parts scroungers, an alternate "High-Performance" swap meet is held concurrently at Portland International. Raceway, next to the Expo Center. Even if you don't buy anything, the experience is well worth at least one trip to Portland. For more information visit the website: www.portlandswapmeet.com.