HomeCar CultureFairly phenomenal: My first visit to the Charlotte Auto Fair (with 70,000...

Fairly phenomenal: My first visit to the Charlotte Auto Fair (with 70,000 of my new best friends)


That's one way to advertise your car for sale - Andy Reid photos
That’s one way to advertise your car for sale | Andy Reid photos

What classic car event has 70,000 car-crazy spectators, 10,000 vendors, more than 5,000 cars on display and for sale, and participation by more than 50 car clubs?

Well, the event is not Hershey but is, in fact, the Charlotte Auto Fair.

The name Auto Fair certainly fits this event, which I’m attending for the first time. To say that I’m already overwhelmed is a severe understatement.

I arrived Wednesday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the location for the Auto Fair. Officially, Wednesday is officially the first set-up day and people were already on the four swap-meet fields and attendees already were shopping.

The vendor fields were filled in completely and thousands of people were shopping for everything from Flathead Ford engines to Mustang, Corvette and tri-five Chevy parts, die-cast cars, automobile books, and lots of great automobilia.

Other notable things I saw in the vendor fields were a stuffed squirrel with a catchy sign, a stuffed buffalo head, and a stuffed chicken. I also saw an antique Bulova Accutron watch vendor, with whom I made a purchase of a nice Accutron Spaceview for a very fair price. I wish the guy good luck with selling his chicken.

If you have not figured it out, there is something for everybody here. Outside of Hershey, I have never seen such a large amount of vendors, both big and small, with tons of quality parts and merchandise, and where else can you find a stuffed chicken at a car event?

The best part about the vendor fields, especially compared to Hershey, is the ease of getting around the Auto fair. It is quite easy to get to all the vendor booths in a day because of the organization and layout of the Auto Fair, something that cannot be said for Hershey.

In addition to the thousands of vendors, there are the car corrals. Many of the cars are there for display but just as many are for sale, many for very fair or even under-market prices.

Of the cars I saw Thursday, the two that really caught my eye were a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda and a 1972 Corvette LT1 convertible. The asking price for the Barracuda, a V8 car in very nice condition, was $17,000 and the LT1 Corvette owner was asking only $27,500.

Friday and Saturday the Auto Fair also hosts a collector car auction on site in addition to the aforementioned vendors and car corrals. I’ll be there.signature

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.
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