Perhaps. The size and shape of the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Eastern Division National Fall Meet have been changing for nearly all the event’s 50-year history. Originally a field event, the swap meet and car show has increasingly been held in paved parking lots. This year vendors from the former grassy White Field were relocated, most of them to the parking lot outside the Giant Center. A few, however, were assigned to a new Orange Field, once the site of a golf course.
Asphalt paving has several virtues, among them the elimination of mud, but also some drawbacks, including runoff, sore feet and the radiation of heat on a hot day.
As always, variety abounded at this year’s “Hershey,” held October 3rd to 7th. One could buy a 1961 Plymouth with cross ram air, bodies old and new, the latter available in wood or steel. Mrs. Brewster, doyenne of Hershey 2005, was back with a heart-front sedan and buyers had a bumper crop of nerf protection devices from which to choose. In the southern section of the Red Field were Joel Horne and Randy Poole (right), tempting shoppers with a 1970 Imperial and a nose clip composed of various Chrysler Corporation parts.
In the car corral, now on the location of the old Blue and White Fields, were such diverse cars as a 1927 Jordan Tomboy and a 1962 Chrysler hearse. In the Green Field, the mating instinct of automobiles was demonstrated as a Renault mounted a Dort. The car show on Saturday morning took on an idyllic dimension, as autumn foliage contrasted with the green of the former golf course.
The show is one of the largest found anywhere, and always has unusual vehicles, this time a 1912 Tudhope and a 1960 Meteor, both Canadian-built. Unrestored cars have their own class, drawing the likes of a 1929 Nash and a 1926 Minerva sedan. There’s even a class for mini-bikes.
The weather was kinder this year than last, with rain falling only at night. By Saturday afternoon, though, vendors were holding close-out sales and buyers were loading up their newly-bought treasures. As night fell, this Nash eight-cylinder engine was waiting for its new owner to return. While the moon set at dawn on Sunday, I hitched up my classic Shasta trailer and headed home to Connecticut.
Meet sponsor Hershey Region of AACA is at the mercy of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, owner of the land. Present plans call for paving all areas by next year. If the scheme reaches fruition, it really will be the end of Hershey as we have known it.