Archive for Thursday, April 22, 1999

AUTO CLUB PREPARES FOR ANNUAL SWAP MEET

April 22, 1999

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Auto enthusiasts from as far away as California are expected to participate in an annual auto swap meet during the first weekend in May.

Lawrence area residents who own antique cars will soon have an opportunity to get together and look for rare parts.

The 36th annual swap meet for antique cars will be held the first weekend in May at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The meet is one of two events that the Lawrence chapter of the Antique Automobile Association of America holds each year.

The other is an auto show in the first week of October, also at the fairgrounds.

"For a lot of our cars, it's hard to find parts for them," said Michael Cormack, immediate past president of the Lawrence chapter of the club.

"This gives everybody a chance to see if they can find the parts they need."

Cormack said the club has about 50 members who each own one to a dozen or so vehicles.

"I think it's an opportunity to get a hold of something in the past " the good old days," Cormack said of collecting antique cars. "You can see the ages of the members reflected in their cars.

"Some of our older members have Model As or Model Ts, while some of our younger members have Mustangs and muscle cars.

"We run the gamut on age, in the members and the cars," Cormack said.

The Lawrence chapter of the Antique Automobile Association of America meets at 7:30 p.m. the first Thursday of every month at the Watkins Community Museum of History, 1047 Mass.

In Kansas, automobiles must be at least 35 years old to receive a antique auto license plate, but vehicles that are 25 years old or older are considered antiques by the club, Cormack said.

"If someone wanted to get into the antique car business you can pick some up from the '50s and '60s for $3,000, $4,000, if you look for bargains, you go to auctions," he said.

"Back in the old days, people wanted to restore the convertibles and the hard tops " nowadays you see them picking up just about anything you can find," Cormack said.

"The purpose of our club is really to keep the history of the automobile alive."

He also said that cost for restoring and maintaining older cars can vary.

"In the 1960s when I first got started, you could restore an old Ford for maybe $1,200," he said. "Now that's up 10, maybe 15 times.

"The prices really started going up in the '70s and '80s."

The club donates part of the proceeds it raises at the swap meet for scholarships and to museums and educational programs.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is mdekker@ljworld.com.

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