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NSRA Swap Meet

Britain’s love of hot rod culture is stronger than ever and clearly has a die-hard following.  How else can you explain the record turnout of traders and public for last weekend’s NSRA Southern Swap Meet at Arena Essex, despite a serious winter chill?

This photo of traders on the track infield was taken in the afternoon when most of the public had gone - it was much busier than this.


Having never attended the event before, I was very curious to see what it was all about.  As you walked into the Arena Essex facility, you immediately saw the traders on the infield of the short oval track, which is roughly what I was expecting.  What took me by surprise, however, was the adjacent paddock area, on the right, which was chock-a-block with even more traders.  “We’ve run the event at this venue for a number of years now, but this is the first time we’ve ever managed to fill the paddock completely,” observed event organiser, David Biggadyke.  


Part of the busy paddock area


It's amazing how much stuff you can get into the family estate!



So what was there to look at, then?  Clearly, there were many real bargains to be had, if you knew what you were looking for, but it also struck me there were some huge discrepancies in the prices being asked for what appeared to be similar goods. Judging by the number of Model A bodies and parts on show, this often overlooked early Ford is making something of a comeback.


Lots of speed parts for finishing off a project 


For anyone interested in old cars and hot rods, then it’s simply interesting to see what sort of parts are for sale, and the prices being asked.  For any self-respecting petrol-head, it seems like a very therapeutic way of whiling away a few hours.  Sadly, by around 2.00pm, the weather in the vicinity of Arena Essex had taken a turn for the worst, and it wasn’t long before many traders were packing up and there was a steady stream of cars exiting the car park.


Afterwards, we talked to David Biggadyke about the event and asked him if there were any plans to change the format or the timing.


“We are sometimes asked why we don’t schedule it later in the year, when the weather is better, but I think a lot of people really look forward to the event early in March,” he responded.  “It’s the first rodding date of the season, and as such, it’s as much a social event as a chance to pick up those much-needed parts.


“We’ve considered putting the event under cover, too, but it’s a case of finding a suitable venue, like a hangar, where you can get everything and everyone under a single roof – and, of course, with sufficient parking and toilets.  If anyone has any suggestions, we’d love to hear from them, but it needs to be somewhere close to the M25. 


As for last weekend’s event, here’s a largely pictorial report of what went on at the 2007 edition of the NSRA Southern Swap Meet.

This Model B project ran a straight six and a four speed.  All of the mechanical work seemed to have been completed.  The car was up for sale for £3,500. 


This 40s Ford was a recent import.  It was all there and straight and the owner was asking £11,000. It's located in Cambridge. Call 07710 570404 if you are interested.


This blower assembly would look great in the living room, let alone atop an engine


Danny's Chevy Parts had a range of panels for sale as well as three pick-ups of various vintage


If you are into gassers then this newly created Austin Devon pick-up body might be just the inspiration you need


It's a Ford Fairlane, but not as we know it


This recently imported old Harley seemed something of a bargain at just £5,000


If you are into Model A's then you were in the right place


Huge selection of scuttles above and a few body options - chopped or unchopped - below


.....or how about a complete five window coupe for £9,500 ono below - tel: 07813 194732


Some bargains were easier to transport home than others!


...and there was something for the kids too!


Here's another '40s Ford on offer, but this one's for £6,500


Danny's Chevy Parts had three trucks for sale


Bernie Chodosh had this lovely old '60 Vette on display, which he was in the process of rebuilding.  If you are interested in purchasing it, contact him at


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