When it comes to investing time and money into restoring or collecting antique cars, you've either got the passion for it or you don't.
"It's just kind of in my blood; I got it from my dad," said Wayne Albertson, of Independence, Mo., as he sifted through small, miscellaneous metal car parts strewn across a table at Saturday's automobile swap meet.
For the Albertson car lovers of the world, going to the swap meet is like "going on a little treasure hunt," he said.
At this year's 45th annual event, hosted by the Lawrence Region Antique Automobile Club of America, Albertson had some good finds: two fenders and a door, for a "good buy," he said. He's now closer to finishing his current three-year project, a 1971 Chevy pickup truck.
Since it began Friday at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, the swap meet has offered between 10,000 and 15,000 antique automotive enthusiasts thousands of good finds, from rims and porcelain license plates to a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle built with a conglomeration of other car parts.
"It's easy to imagine it, putting it on the road again," said Michael Morley, of Lawrence, about the LaSalle. Morley said he enjoyed checking out what the 800 vendors from across the country had to offer.
The swap meet encouraged vendors to bring parts out of their dad's or grandfather's garages, said Joe Arneson, chairman of the swap meet committee.
"It's getting so hard to find old parts," he said.
What's also hard to find at the swap meet are many younger car fans.
"Most kids don't do this stuff," said Billy Wood, 19, Baldwin City, who for the first year helped friends show items instead of just perusing through the long lines of vendors across the fairgrounds for himself.
Because the love for cars isn't always passed on to children, the future of the swap meet and auto club is uncertain.Floyd Siebeneck Jr., who buys and sells Ford cars and parts out of Henley, Mo., said his son used to be interested.
"He's more into computers now," he said.
Siebeneck said he's noticed the ability to sell car parts on the Internet and high gas prices has hurt the swap meet. The longtime swap meet vendor said he still has a good time swapping Ford parts with other vendors, getting his name out to people and visiting with repeat customers who were at last year's meet.
For Arneson, the main mission is "just to keep promoting the interest of antique cars," either through the meet or his club.
"We've got some members who've been in it since it started, and unless we get younger blood, younger kids : over the next few years, it could die off a little bit," he said.
The swap meet continues today from 7 a.m. to noon. Parking costs $3. A majority of the meet's proceeds are donated to local charities.