- BC Games
The promise of finding treasure
Sunday morning, I woke up and looked at the clock. It was 8:30 and I hadn’t slept in that late for a long time. The day before had been a long one, up early, off to the Cruise-In and going steady all day long. I went to bed early, throat sore, legs cramping, but feeling satisfied after a successful day.
I suppose sitting around relaxing all day would have been in order, but there was a big car corral and swap meet at Kwantlen and maybe spending just a few more hours on car stuff would be OK. After all, what if I don’t go and there is something there I really need? That’s what brings people out to these events — the promise of finding lost treasure.
When I get there, the parking lot is full. Once I get into the swap meet area, the place is swarming with hunters. They don’t have treasure maps or shovels, but they all know what they are looking for.
At this event you can find anything from an original nut and bolt to the whole vehicle. A 1929 Whippet sits on a trailer and the hand-lettered sign says that for $10,000 you can have a great project car. A project car is a vehicle that will break your heart and break your bank but, in the end, the satisfaction outweighs the frustration.
There are many such vehicles there. Model A bodies that will turn to dust if you sneeze on them, trucks that have no boxes and hot rods that have no engines. All you have to do is find the missing parts and put them together. It’s a lot like assembling the model kits we had when we were much younger.
After a browse through the cars for sale, we come to the rows and rows of tables filled with parts and pieces, polished memorabilia and rusted junk. Some vendors are well organized and have very appealing displays. They talk to you and tell you about their items. Others have everything jammed in boxes. They sit and read and let you rummage through to see if you find something.
Licence plates, hood ornaments, tail lights, headlights, bumpers, fenders, engine parts, and tires and wheels — there’s something for everyone, some of it priced and some not. Bartering is expected.
It’s not all car parts. There are tools and all sorts of antique items. One table has a display of colorful old cigarette lighters under lock and key. Another has old telephones, radios and clocks. I stop by a table of brass fire extinguishers and nozzles, but he wants way too much money. Besides you don’t buy right away. If you really want it, you come back later and offer less. Never let them know you really want it.
I don’t find anything but I talk to lots of people. Everyone has stories about something on the tables. Earlier I had spotted an old vise and with my shop under renovation, I’ll need one. This one is nothing like the dainty vises you find in hardware sections now. This one has been beat on, the jaws still have great teeth and the mounting base is solid. It has character.
“How much for the vise,” I ask. “Five bucks,” he replies.
I give him a five and head for my truck, my treasure in hand. You can’t beat a good bargain. At least that’s what McGregor says.