Swap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel Curve

Swap Meet Gold, Hunting Treasure with the Goodguys

Hunting for Swap Meet gold is a cherished pastime of car guys. During yesterday’s Goodguys Southwest Nationals at Westworld outside Scottsdale, Arizona we found the ultimate automotive treasure hunt. Their swap meet here is one of the biggest of the year. In fact, it’s one of the biggest of its kind in the southwest region stocked with parts, turn-key cars for sale, bicycles, automobilia, nostalgia, Americana and more. They even serve fresh pit-smoked beef butt. Want a steak sandwich to go along with your freshly-scored Hemi valve covers? Come here.

Swap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveSwap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveWe walked through the entire swap meet which runs a good ½ mile in length around the perimeter berm of Westworld. The swap meet encircles half of the giant polo field stuffed with over 3,000 hot rods, customs, and muscle cars. It’s sensory overload. Both swappers and show participants come here from all over the united states to sell their wares and bask in the nation’s last sliver of balmy weather.

Swap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveSwap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveWhile walking through the entire procession of parts purveyors we met graybeards from Canada, kids from Prescott, baby boomers from the cold weather states and of course desert locals. They all had one aim. To look over the gold and do some old-fashioned horse-tradin’. As you might imagine, CASH is king. Your bargaining prowess will be tested.

Swap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveSwap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveOn our journey we saw original 427 Cobra parts. We saw ready-to-swap LS motors. We saw Chevy K20 camper specials. We saw big blocks, small blocks, genie cross ram 302 Z/28 intakes, Hilborn stacks, bumpers, and valve covers around every corner. Carburetors from the big three could be found on nearly every table. Hubcaps? We probably saw 2,000 of ‘em and wheels too.

Swap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel Curve

Collectibles like vintage license plates seemed to be at every other booth. We saw Rat Fink’s, we saw a life-size Ronald McDonald that looked like it came from 1972, and we saw 1960s Tinker Toy sets. We also saw some very rare Schwinn bicycles. Huffy’s and Whizzer’s too. Vintage motorcycles? Yep!

Swap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel Curve

Swap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveSwap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel Curve


One of the perks of Goodguys Rod & Custom Association events, is that all 20 of their events has a swap meet. Staged and organized by regional swap impresarios, this one is particularly mind-blowing. That’s because by November you would think everyone’s stock is pilfered but not here. Many of the swap meet vendors are local to the Southwest. You can’t really go outside and do stuff here for the entirety of summer and a good chunk of September and October because it’s just too damn hot. Southwest Nationals swap meet director Bob Kerkel literally takes calls all spring and summer for this event and come Friday at around noon it’s completely sold out.

Swap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveSwap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveOne of the perks for buyers here are the parts taxis. Friendly guys with handy truck carts to tow your freshly purchased gold right back to your vehicle out in the parking lot. They work solely on tips and are just as happy to serve the $5 tippers as they are the $20 tippers. It’s all part of the experience.

Swap Meet Gold, Goodguys, Fuel CurveWe got in on the action too. It’s never too early for Christmas gifts and we sincerely hope dad loves the vintage clock we got him for $10 bucks! Being we flew here, the only quest which remains is how to muscle it on to the plane.

You can view the entire 2018 Goodguys schedule here. What kind of swap meet gold will you find next year?

Photo Extra!

Senior Editor, Digital Media

With three decades of automotive journalism under his belt, John Drummond serves as Senior Editor – Digital Media for Fuel Curve and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association where he has worked since 1990. Drummond got his start in motorsports reporting by making a fake press pass to gain starting line access. The ruse worked and he began covering auto races as far back as 1986 in Northern California, eventually getting his stories published worldwide. He has owned and driven everything from a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere to a ridiculously modded Subaru WRX as well as a string of Mercedes AMG’s, most of which had the warranties voided the day after leaving the dealership.

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