By Sean Barron
For the next two days, Mike “Mad Dog” Hubbell will be playing hooky.
But don’t worry: His weekend “exploit” shows all signs of bringing him business, not trouble.
“It gives me a few days off to look for parts, and I have a good time,” the Elyria man said, referring to his participation in the Dave & Ed’s 2012 Super Auto Events swap meet at the Canfield Fairgrounds.
The show, in its 20th year, kicked off Friday and continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the fairgrounds.
Hubbell may have been looking for car parts, but he also was busy trying to sell his share of carburetors, sheet metal, old car clocks, taillights, fenders and adjustable wrenches. A tarpaulin Hubbell laid out contained numerous hood ornaments, tools and countless other pieces of merchandise.
“If it was on a car, we bring it,” added Charlie Meldrum, a friend of Hubbell’s who assisted him.
Hubbell, who runs a towing company and owns a 1940 Ford Model A vehicle, said he enjoys the local event also because he’s able to reconnect with friends from other states, including a 93-year-old West Virginia tow-truck driver.
“It’s a mini-vacation. I play hooky when it comes time for Canfield,” he added.
Attendees took their time talking to the estimated 1,000 out-of-state, regional and local vendors about everything from customizing their vehicles to finding precise parts for rare, classic cars.
Many people also looked at or bought a variety of merchandise that included chassis, fuel pumps, coil rolls, panels, auto-repair manuals, oil, windshield wipers and countless other parts, as well as clothing, jewelry, paint, tools, ladders, hardware products and shoes, noted Dave Ehret, who, along with Ed Nelson II, started the event.
For the most part, Ehret’s and Nelson’s sons, Doug Ehret and Ed Nelson III, now run the show, the elder Ehret said.
In addition, between 400 and 500 privately owned cars and trucks are available in a car corral, Dave Ehret explained.
“You can get the title notarized and close the deal right here,” he said.
Patrons visiting 16-year-old Tim Crisman’s booth can finalize a deal, but they might be a bit cramped if they attempt to drive his vehicles off the fairgrounds.
Tim and his father, Glenn Crisman, recently combined their collection of roughly 16,000 Hot Wheels cars and are selling extra ones at the swap meet for 50 cents to $150, Tim explained.
“I’ve always liked old cars, and I like Hot Wheels,” said Tim, of North Versailles, Pa., near Pittsburgh. “I [also] love coming out here meeting new people.”
Some higher-priced examples are a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro with unique decals as well as a series of conversion models from the popular 1983 movie “Ghostbusters. Those are $40 and more than $100, respectively, Tim said.
Glenn Crisman recalled having started his collection of such cars as a child, then seeing renewed interest in his hobby blossom during the mid-1990s.
This weekend marks father and son’s second time in the swap meet, Glenn Crisman added.
Many of the same vendors come each year to the event, which began by selling new and used auto parts, noted Betty Solomon, an event organizer and office manager.
“Over the years, it has progressed” by branching out and featuring items ranging from toys to antiques and art pieces, Solomon said.