Cruisin' the Coast

Masked Cruiser: Let's make a deal

SUN HERALD

Friday started as usual with a plan -- cruising up U.S. 90 to the Swap Meet to see if there was anything there I couldn't live without.

Parking at the Coast Coliseum was not an issue when I came in the back way. Inside, I noticed there were many more people there than the fast-moving lines at the entrance would've indicated.

A world of products is on display at the Swap Meet. Trivial, nostalgic, functional and just plain fun stuff. Not so much car parts inside, though most things were auto-related. A notable exception is a booth selling completely built engines ranging from mild stock builds to high-horsepower racing engines. All you needed was a credit card or cash.

The Coliseum floor is the domain of manufacturers, where you can buy anything from a dipstick to a steel building to house your hot-rod shop.

I moved to the outdoor vendors while the temperature was still mild. I looked at everything before buying anything. I learned that long ago. It's a bummer to buy something you just kinda want, only to find later you don't have enough money to buy what you really want.

I spotted a set of aluminum heads but knew they would take all my cash, so I continued my serpentine path through the piles of parts.

I bought a few hand tools, took my contact information for the heads and called it a good day for just a few hours of rapid-fire shopping. It took longer to make my rounds than it had last year -- the Swap Meet has expanded.

In the Coliseum, I was struck by how many new parts and new businesses have come on the scene. These old cars just keep generating business. New technology meets nostalgia -- what a concept.

I couldn't resist poking my head in the Vicari Auto Auction, what could it hurt to look? I have no intention of buying, but hey, we can all dream, can't we?

Then it was off to check out the Bay St. Louis venue. The layout was the same as last year's except the bandstand is up on high ground at the southern end of Beach Boulevard. The Elton John tribute band Still Standing was on stage rocking the crowd.

Cars and spectators lined the streets. The crowd seemed more subdued today than crowds have been all week, as the temperature had climbed into the high 80s.

I'd also been seeing the temperature gauge on my truck creeping up, so I headed home to turn some wrenches.

While I wrench, y'all feel free to keep on rolling.

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