When the Goodguys first started meeting some 30-odd years ago, “Old School” was still in session. A favorite place for classmates of those days gone by to gather was an old car swap meet. Over the years, these parts fests have diminished in numbers due mainly to the scarcity of the vintage cars to buy and the original components used to make those machines of performance and beauty.
However, for over the past 50-plus years, the Modesto, California Model A Club has hosted just such an event and for many, it was like a winter-time homecoming. Getting up well before dawn, bundling up to meet the near freezing temperatures, grabbing a breakfast burrito at a fast-food spot, then waiting in line to park, are all part of the tradition of the Turlock Swap Meet. Getting orientated is almost a hopeless chore as one wanders up and down the miles of aisles set up at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. For 2017 swap meet staged on January 28 and 29, swappers and vendors were met with cool temps early on, which quickly gave way to a pleasant sun-filled mid-morning and afternoon sky.
Ever wonder where the basis for some of the finished rods and customs that travel the show circuit come from? It is places like Turlock that still feed the hobby. Looking down on the ground you might spot that much-needed grill, or a pair of original Ford Model A fenders, or proper year license plates. If you’re real lucky you might score an entire car — say an original 1932 Ford “Deuce” coupe — complete but in need of a builder’s touch. For fans of vintage speed equipment, names like Navarro, Riley, Offenhauser and yes, even Ar-Dun can still be found.
This meeting isn’t a secret for Goodguys members. We found several cars sporting those familiar decals and ran into several wearing their colors proudly. Everyone we spoke to seemed to agree, the smell of vintage rust can take away the morning chill in Turlock.