Swap Meet Stuff–Used Parts vs. New Parts

Alright, we all love a good swap meet…you get up early in the morning and try to find a treasure within a sea of junk. It’s a thrill that hot rodders experience quite often, but some guys do all of their parts shopping at swap meets. Some swap meets are very big, and include new parts vendors….like us! But some swap meets focus strictly on used parts. So, if you’re building a hot rod, muscle car or just a cruiser, is it worth the risk to buy used parts at a swap meet? The answer is subjective, but it’s all about the type of part that you’re hunting. If it’s vintage speed parts, such as intake manifolds, wheels, and other types of wall hangers, memorabilia or cool vintage stuff…then swap meet finds are perfect! But if you’re looking for reliable parts to bolt onto your hot rod, used equipment has its drawbacks.

For instance, nearly every vendor you walk by at a swap meet will have a carburetor for sale. Is it good? Who knows…maybe it was good when the fellow took it off his car, but that may have been five years ago. The remaining fuel inside the carburetor likely gelled, and there’s no telling how much dirt found its way into all the crevices. You’ll likely give a couple hundred dollars for a decent carburetor, and then probably need to rebuild it. That’s just one of many examples. Ignition parts, electronics, cylinder heads, transmissions–all of these things need a proper inspection before laying down hard-earned cash, and in most cases, you can’t properly inspect those items on site at a swap meet. It’s a gamble. Are you sure that all the threads in that $100 aluminum intake are good? You probably won’t inspect it in great detail, so you might find a stripped bolt hole when you try bolting on the carburetor or thermostat housing. You might be better off putting a few more bucks into a nice new part, like an Edelbrock Performer intake, like what we offer.
It’s not that the swap meet vendor guy is trying to rip you off…but a lot of swap meet vendors buy, sell and trade so much that they’re only selling parts that they’ve bought at other swap meets. These parts are not something that they actually know about. It sure is nice to know that your money is going toward a nice, new part in some of those cases. Keep it in mind when you’re at the next swap meet, and decide if that $200 used carburetor and $40 used HEI distributor is worth the risk. Call us at 1-888-795-7077 if you need NEW parts for your project car, or catch us at a show sometime to see the parts up close and personal.

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