The largest Porsche swap meet in the country takes place each April in Hershey, Pennsylvania. April is a fickle month in this area, and I have attended this event in 80+ degree weather, 18 degree weather, hail, snow, rain, and wind that threatened to blow away all the vendor tents. In the days before EBay dominance, everyone braved the weather regardless. These days, Hershey is more of a destination for the kind of large items that would otherwise create shipping charges starting in the 3 digits, or which would exceed the value of the item. Sort of like the dilemma in the recent Calculating Shipping post. Need a set of wheels, a 924 fender, a 356 deck lid, a 914 motor? This is the place.

rm73.deviantart.comThe 2011 edition had a lousy weather forecast. Rain and cold. However, the event has always been rain or shine. Now it is well known that at Hershey, the early bird gets the worm. There are legendary stories of great deals landed before 8am. Particularly on days when the weather is bad. Sellers came a long way with pickups and trailers full of Porsche goodies, and need to unload some stuff (literally and figuratively). At 7am it was pouring down buckets, and it was cold. People were walking around briskly wearing ponchos AND carrying umbrellas. A few were wearing galoshes. They darted and squinted in the rain and mist. They were peering into trucks and trailers not yet unloaded, and then moving on to the next one like some kind of rabid parts hound on the trail of a scent obscured by the rain. They would turn over parts and then discard them with disgust after seeing the wrong stamping, they would contemplate a turn signal lens for the correct hue of amber. They would wax eloquent as Sherlock Holmes, discerning the entire history of a car from a single lug nut.

All of these people are barking mad.

I moved along quickly as I saw another pickup truck with the bed covered in a tarp. He was just pulling in. Virgin pickings. The rain went into overdrive. The bottom of my jeans were soaked. Note to self, must get galoshes. And so it went for an hour or so. More trucks and trailers pulled in, more rapidly moving ponchos and umbrellas, more shivering huddled masses with smiles because they got their fix, more exchanges of currency for coveted substances. Pieces of metal, and plastic, and oooohhh….vinyl-covered cardboard. The drug trade is amateur hour compared to this.

Then, suddenly, the rain stopped. The sky turned a lighter shade of pale. The fog lifted, and the hounds departed barking into the distance. All of a sudden, more casual buyers and sellers were strolling about. They browsed and peeked and perused. They sought something that would catch their fancy. A Porsche mug or a set of Cayenne wheels. They engaged in casual banter. And cars started to roll in for the concours event. Not many, so these guys had a good shot at an award of some kind. Smart. And cars rolled in to the For-Sale Corral, and the Porsche parking area gained a few hundred cars. Concession stands opened up. Things were looking brighter.

I bumped into old friends and made new ones. Saw Girt (love how you drive that car everywhere!!) and Scot and Stuart and the Early 911 crew. The Rocking Chair crew was out too. I ogled the cars in the parking lot and on the show field. I saw good deals for things I didn’t need, and ludicrous prices for things I did. In the end, I bought a few things, and sold a few things. Oh, did I forget to mention that I had things for sale ? Well if you want to feed your habit, you eventually get forced into being a dealer.

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