Spring Carlisle has it all: Even a vintage and mint Dale Earnhardt racing jacket for $20

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Burt Reynolds' final Bandit brings $172,000 at Spring Carlisle auction
Burt Reynolds' final Bandit brings $172,000 at Spring Carlisle auction
Burt Reynolds’ final Bandit brings $181,900 (with buyer’s fees) at Spring Carlisle auction

After three days at Spring Carlisle, how do I sum up this event?

In a word? Big!

To start, if you’re going next year, be sure that you are ready to get some exercise, because the event has about 18 miles of vendor rows and car corral areas. Comfortable shoes are a must. Also bring clothes for any foreseeable weather condition because temperatures last week varied from between 35 and 70 degrees and it can get very windy. I ended up buying not one but two jackets as I was unprepared for the changes in weather and Thursday was absolutely freezing. On the plus side, I did score a mint vintage Dale Earnhardt racing jacket for only $20.

The Spring Carlisle is miles of swap meet vendors, way too many to count, offering everything from old parts to complete cars with everything in between. If you were looking for parts for any American car, you can find them as NOS, Used or new parts at this event. I don’t care if you were looking for a grille for a 1949 Packard or fenders for a 2002 Mustang. If you needed something, it was there.

The swap meet also had its share of weird things for sale, often with nothing to do with the car hobby. Some of the strangest things we saw were a family of giraffe sculptures, a 1960s phone booth, and a wild boar head.

On the cars for sale front, it was much the same. Looking for a Ford Model A or a C2 big-block Corvette, there was a car that you would want to add to your collection, often at a quite reasonable price.

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I was stunned at the number and variety of the cars offered and saw way too many cars that I wanted to add to my collection. In a nutshell, Spring Carlisle can be a great way to find and buy the car you have been searching for.

On the auction front, whatever was not in the car corral was likely to be found at the auction. We saw everything from pre-war full classics to modern European sports cars on offer, many changing hands for very fair prices. Overall, the auction sold 65 percent of the 360 consignments for a total of $4 million.

If you have yet to attend Spring Carlisle, do so. It is a top-tier collector car event with something for everyone, no matter where your classic car interests lie.

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

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