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OUCH! Terrible News from Indiana

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  • OUCH! Terrible News from Indiana

    As of April 2015, The following letter is being distributed to applicable vendors and attendees:


    Good-Bye Hoosier Auto and Swap Meet

    From all of us at the Hoosier Auto Show and Swap Meet, we would like to thank you for being an important part of our 48th year and to congratulate the 2014 Fall Car Show winners.

    You have probably already received a letter in the mailbox from us by now, but if not, as we look towards the new year we regretfully inform you that we must close operations effective at the end of 2014. These circumstances exist because of a steady change in the direction of our hobby. Attendance at Hoosier Auto Show activities has dwindled to the point that it is no longer financially possible to continue holding our events.

    The Board of the Hoosier Auto Show & Swap Meet sincerely thanks all of you who have helped make a great venture continue for forty eight years. We hope to see you all down the road.

    Sincerely,
    The Hoosier Auto Show and Swap Meet


    Gosh, this takes me back. I remember working on the show when it was The Biggest Deal in The Indiana Collector-Car Hobby, held on the infield of The Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the encouragement and endorsement of President Tony Hulman Jr. and Director of Grounds Clarence Cagle, a stern but fair man who expected the grounds to be picked clean at the end of the day Sunday...and my staying until dark many Sundays to make sure that was accomplished so we could come back next year! Hundreds of vendors and hundreds of collector cars and a wonderful time year after year.

    The event was actually started in 1966 by two long-deceased hobbyists from our little Brownsburg IN: Paul Griner and Frank Litherland. I knew both of them, Paul especially. Although Paul has been gone many years, his widow Gertie moved from their farm to a condo only a block from our home, so I see her out and about, albeit slowly, a couple times a month while walking the dog, and always say "hi." (When people unfairly accuse me of not liking any Democrats, I always cite the Griners as two of the nicest people I know, although solidly on the other side of the political fence from me...and, hopefully, Gertie would say the same! <GGG>) Paul embraced Indiana's rich automotive history, including Studebakers, of course, and was an authority on Indianapolis-built Marmons. He and Frank wanted to do something to promote the fledgling hobby in central Indiana...and, boy, did they ever!

    Yeah, I know things change, so spare me the lecture about The Internet being the most wonderful thing since sliced bread for locating cars and parts...as if locating cars and parts is the only important thing about this hobby. Facebook will never replace the human interaction of seeing old friends and haggling with new ones for an elusive part in the middle of September under a warm Hoosier sky.

    (My 46,000-mile, mostly original-paint 1958 Bel-Air two-door sedan at [probably] the 1977 Hoosier Auto Show; NW corner of The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Infield, north short chute in the background):



    RIP, Hoosier Auto Show and Swap Meet, Inc. It was a great run. I, for one, will never forget the many days working and attending the show, and the innumerable friends and memories -both Studebaker and otherwise- made doing so. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

  • #2
    Yeah, Bob, remember how they always let the participants drive their cars around the track? . I think I rode around the track with you in a blue GT Hawk you owned sometime in the 70's?? And that's where I took my blue 50 Champion in 1979 and sold it. Dan

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ivorydan View Post
      Yeah, Bob, remember how they always let the participants drive their cars around the track? I think I rode around the track with you in a blue GT Hawk you owned sometime in the 70's?? And that's where I took my blue 50 Champion in 1979 and sold it. Dan
      Right, Dan; one of the big draws of the original Hoosier Auto Show & Swap Meet was the Saturday afternoon Track Tour, self-driving your collector car around The Indianapolis Motor Speedway race track after judging had taken place.

      I owned that Blue Mist 1963 Hawk from 1972-1975, so it would have been 1973 or 1974 when you rode with me around the track. The car wasn't "done" in time for the 1972 Hoosier Auto Show, and I sold it before the 1975 event. BP
      We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

      Ayn Rand:
      "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

      G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Bob,

        I'm sorry to hear this, but I am rather taken aback by the, "Attendance at Hoosier Auto Show activities has dwindled to the point that it is no longer financially possible to continue holding our events..." comment. The only way I can see how it must have decreased in participation is if another swap meet takes place in the vicinity at nearly the same time and for one reason or another has proven to be the more popular event over the Hoosier one. Despite Ebay and other online point-of-purchase opportunities that never existed years ago, the big one here in Alberta is a popular as ever, and many vendors have to be turned away due to lack of space. On the other hand, if its because the IMS has unexpectedly raised their rental rate for the facility, surely there must be another place close by to hold it.

        Craig

        Comment


        • #5
          It always seemed to me that the Hoosier Auto Show was hardly ever advertised. I would find a little ad in the Indy Star back in the classified. I always wondered why so little money spent to get attendance.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd have to agree with Craig. I just got back from the Portland, OR, swap meet that I have been attending for 25 years or so. Bigger and better than any prior year in memory. Same with the January Turlock, CA, event. Smaller swap meets here in Western Washington (Monroe, Mt. Vernon, Puyallup) are crowded with buyers and sellers rain or shine.

            I wonder what is meant in the letter by "a steady change in the direction of our hobby"? Perhaps they had unrealistic restrictions on the years/types of cars and parts that could be involved?

            Maybe the venue got too expensive? The usual pool of volunteers getting too old to work the meet?

            It's just hard to believe that attendance is down (without knowing other root cause contributing factors).
            Dick Steinkamp
            Bellingham, WA

            Comment


            • #7
              Whenever an institution like this passes we all lose.
              John Hull

              Comment


              • #8
                This past weekend was the long running Mopar Spring (also Fall) Fling. It is billed as the "Largest Mopar show/swap West of the Mississippi." Since the economic turn down the show area has dropped about 25% and sadly the swap area about 50%. Over the past few years the overheard conversations weren't what people were building, but rather how bad the economy was. If there is now an economic recovery it sure isn't showing at "Largest Mopar show/swap West of the Mississippi."

                Also in the Los Angeles area is the TRW (Northrup Grumman) swapmmet. Originally a ham radio swap it has morphed into an electronics swap over its 40+ years existence. Unfortunately this month a flier was passed around that a cut-off date is looming this year. Apparently NG has a high security contract and the parking lot will be fenced off. Who would have thought national security would have shut down a swapmeet. Hopefully they can find another venue but frankly attendance there has drop nearly 50% - again since the economic turn down.
                '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Barry, that's a good point. I knew it was the 2nd or 3rd weekend in September, but I'd have to hunt around to verify the date. Later, they added a date in May, and the same story, not much advertising. Could have contributed to its decline. Dan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Back somewhere around 1970 or so, my dad and I drove his R2 1964 Avanti to the Hoosier Auto Show. When we drove around the track with others, dad asked me to drive. At one point, I couldn't resist going wide-open. Fortunately, nobody complained and we didn't get thrown out. <GGG>

                    George
                    george krem

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      At least the South Bend Spring Studebaker swap meet is still going strong (with a waiting list to get an inside spot). I will be there in a few weeks (NOT vending, however).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry to hear that the Hoosier Auto Show is going away. I've got many fond memories of going there. My first trip tothe Hoosier Auto Show was in the mid-seventies. My friend Bob Judd drove down from North Liberty, Indiana in his '50 Land Cruiser and picked me up. I'm the good looking guy in the blue jacket. I was probably 10 years old at the time and I already loved Studebakers. Bob's son Mark is next to me.
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                        I came back in the mid-80s driving my first car, a Rose Mist '63 GT Hawk. We took one of the pictures out the windshield as we came out of turn 4 on the track.
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                        My last trip to the Hoosier Auto Show was 2007. By then the show had moved out to the Marion County fair grounds. I drove our '64 Daytona convertible that year (sorry, I can't find any pictures from that trip), and we won Best of Division for Post-War cars. Little did I know it would be my last time at that show.

                        Sorry to see it end. It was a fun show. Lots of memories.
                        Neil

                        1964 Daytona Convertible
                        1964 Daytona Hardtop
                        1962 Champ Truck
                        1957 Golden Hawk

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                        • #13
                          Many factors contributed to the show's demise. Probably the biggest one was when it had to move from the infield of The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all the attractiveness of that venue, to the nondescript, difficult-to-find, Marion County Indiana Fairgrounds southeast of Indianapolis. There were other mitigating factors, for sure.

                          To help frame an understanding of what happened, I intend to call an old friend with whom I worked on the show for many years and get caught up. He was more closely associated with the show's management and operations in the last 20 years and I am sure will be able to provide more factual insight than speculation. I'll report the upshot of that conversation here in a day or two. BP
                          We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                          Ayn Rand:
                          "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                          G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                          Comment

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