As kids, you may remember trading baseball cards (trade that Frank Howard Washington Senator card for a Frank Robinson Baltimore Orioles card? You bet!). It's a habit that's hard to break, despite the fact the gum that came with the cards usually tasted much like the cardboard the players' stats were printed on.

But, the fine art of trading like items doesn't rest solely in baseball cards. Hot rodders have been doing it for years, and some of the best deals are made when no money ever changes hands.

Bruce Vath from Cincinnati, Ohio, knows how this process works. Back in 1998, he had started working on a '36 three-window, painted with DP-90 and rolling on a set of wide whites. The car had a smooth appearance, with no bumpers or door handles, and with the top and cowl vent filled. Bruce's vision for his ride was to add all the bumps back to it, including the bumpers and all the trim.

However, when he ran into a friend who was also working on a '36, this one a five-window, who wanted to shave everything off his stocker, the pair realized what they really wanted was each other's cars, so they decided to trade.

His new ride had been hot-rodded back in the 1960s but had spent the previous 20 years in storage in a garage in Dayton. After driving the car as-is, with its 30-year-old yellow paint and velour interior, Bruce rightfully thought he needed to redo his ride.

Wanting a vintage look, he first started looking at paint chips and found a split pea green shade he liked. He painted one of the fenders while it was still on the car and saw it was exactly the tone that would typify the look he was going for.

Not a quickie paintjob, Bruce went to the extent of blowing the body off the chassis and having it media-blasted before going after some needed improvements, chief among them being a new firewall. Though the body was fairly solid, there were many small areas that needed some attention, so work on the quarters, front floor section, and lower trunk began, and other parts were welded in place. After painting the frame, which had been updated by the previous owner, Bruce popped the body back on the chassis, and the car was prepped for paint.

All of this work, except for the paint and upholstery, was done in Bruce's home garage in what had started out as a one-winter project that turned into a four-year-total rebuild. But, after driving the car now for the past four years (Bruce said "it's always driven, never trailered"), he couldn't be happier with the way the project turned out.

It's probably like finding that pristine '54 Topps #128 baseball card in your stack of old baseball cards-you know the one: Henry Aaron's rookie card. But, what's the fun in that? At least Bruce gets to use what he's got.