New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Sunday, April 23, 2000 — Herald-Zeitung —- Page 9A
Swap Meet attracts car enthusiasts
By Joan L Robertson Pringle Herald-Zeitung Correspondent
It’s a place where a beautiful red 1985 Mercedes can park next to a 1959 rust-colored Studebaker looking as if it was on its last mile. Both cars have their own admirers.
The place is the Eighth Annual New Braunfels Swap Meet at the Comal County Fairgrounds this weekend. The New Braunfels Area Car Club sponsors the meet, which brings together buyers and sellers of antique and classic cars and car parts.
The event continues through today and is free to the public.
Oscar Barela, one of many car enthusiasts who showed up for the event, got his first car when he was 15 years old, but said he has loved cars since “I was in my mother’s belly.”
That first car was a 1966 Chevrolet Impala, but he has half a dozen cars now, including a 1958 Cadillac that he was selling at the meet.
Barela said he loved the swap meet. “This is a good place to hang out, and find a lot of cool parts,” he said.
Among the unique items at the meet was a 1947 REO Speedwagon dump truck with a wood bed. Gilbert Saunders said when he bought the truck almost two years ago, he aired up the tires and started it up with the original gas that had been in it since it was parked in 1972.
Saunders, who was selling the truck along with two Chevy Chevelles and a 1957 Chevy Belair, has been going to the swap meet since it began.
“It’s nice. It’s getting better and better every year,” he said.
While the swap meet officially started 8 a.m. Friday, vendors started showing up on Wednesday to set up their spaces, said Fred Willard, chairman of the swap meet. “We have some from Florida, New York and Mexico City,” he said.
Barney and Louise Calvert are the head honchos, he said.
The Calverts started the first area swap meet in April 1993, through the car club and with the help of the New Braunfels Rotary Club.
When the Calverts lived in Pasadena, they also helped start the Pate Swap Meet, now conducted at the Texas Motor Speedway just north of Fort Worth. That meet is considered to be one of the largest in the country.
Willard said the first area meet in New Braunfels brought about 350 vendors, but some volunteers expect the 1,000-plus vendor spaces to sell out this year. More than 60 cars were in the car corral, set up for those just wanting to leave their cars to be sold.
Frank Gosney pointed out a 1962 Lincoln in the car corral to his grandson, Robert Billman. He said it was the same kind of car Lyndon B. Johnson used to tour around in at his ranch near Johnson City.
Gosney said the doors, which open toward each other like cargo doors on a van, were called suicide doors. He said if people opened the door while going down the road, they could fall out, because of the design. “Or if you had a hold of the handle it could jerk you right out,” he said.
Gosney and his grandson Billman came to the swap meet from Weimar, near Houston, to buy parts for his three Corvettes. He quickly spent a couple hundred dollars, but said that wasn’t much for Corvettes, especially old ones.
Although the swap meet continues through today, the usual accompanying car show won’t be held this year because of a lack of manpower. The swap meet has always been held on the weekend before the one in north Texas and therefore fell on Easter weekend this year.
“A lot of people are going to miss it, but it couldn’t be helped,” said Denise Lipscomb, car club member and volunteer for the swap meet.
Lipscomb said everybody in
the car club helped with the meet and they even recruited members of the Early Ford V8 Club out of San Antonio to help with the $3 a car parking area.
The New Braunfels Car Club donates the money raised from the swap meet to organizations such as Hospice, which helped a car club member and his family when he was battling cancer, and to area high schools for scholarships for students going into automotive trade schools.
Lipscomb’s husband, Linton, said the car club was made up of mainly people older than 60.
“We kick tires and tell lies,” he said. “It’s a great past time.”
■ WHAT: 8th Annual New Braunfels Swap Meet
■ WHEN: today is its last day
■ WHERE: Comal County Fairgrounds
■ TICKETS: Admission is free; parking is $3
Bearing his cross
Veronica, portrayed by Mary Garcia wipes Jesus’ face, played by George Peackock, during a scene of the Passion play presented by Holy Family Church Friday evening. The Passion play reenacts the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
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