After two years absent due to the pandemic, the Portland Auto Swap Meet and the PIR Auto Swap Meet return for automotive enthusiasts in the next couple weeks.
Both are expecting large crowds of vendors and buyers alike, especially now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing and things are feeling more normal.
The two swap meets cooperate and run overlapping schedules. The larger of the two events is the Portland Auto Swap Meet, held at the Portland Expo Center located just north of PIR at 2060 N. Marine Drive. The 56th event fills all five exhibit halls, as well as 500,000 square feet of outdoor space at the center.
"It takes over 400 volunteers to put on the auto swap meet at the Portland Expo Center each year.Â This event is what all the volunteers set their calendar year around.Â So we are all just really excited to be back. We anticipate this is going to be one of the best attended swap meets in recent years.Â (We're) hoping for perfect weather, but at this point we are just relieved and excited to have the doors open," said general manager John Warren.
Thousands of vendors traditionally travel from across the western United States to sell at this event, which is sponsored by six antique car clubs. It is open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, April 1; 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 2; and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, April 3. Adult admission costs $10, children age 12 and under are free.
The PIR Auto Swap Meet is held outdoors at Portland International Raceway at 1940 N. Victory Blvd. It is open from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, March 31, through Saturday, April 2. Admission is $10 for adults; children age 12 and under are free. On-site parking is available at $10 per vehicle each day. Vendors at PIR are arranged around the race course and in the infield areas.
At both swap meets, collectors and tinkerers find everything from perfectly restored cars to rusty "project" cars and unrestored "barn find" vehicles. The shows tend to favor U.S. domestic brands, but foreign car enthusiasts typically find plenty to strike their fancy.
Parts, tools and related auto memorabilia form the majority of the items offered for sale. Tool and supply vendors also set up large tables with electrical, plumbing and other automotive supplies. Specialty tire and wheel vendors are on hand as well.
As a rule, the PIR swap meet is almost entirely made up of people emptying out their garages and workshops, while the Portland Auto Swap Meet is a mix of professional vendors and garage-cleaners.
Food vendors operate through the event at both locations.
"By focusing on antiques and having a lot of cars for sale, the Portland Auto Swap Meet is much more than a yard sale with a few car parts. We're doing our best to put on a quality show," said board member Bob Earnest, who has been working on them since 1976. He noted the show started in 1964 at area auto dealers and warehouses before moving to the Expo Center in 1970.
Complimentary parts pick-up areas are available at both locations. Attendees can store purchased items at the pick-up areas while they retrieve their vehicles. PIR offers a "haul and go" delivery system that transports purchases directly to buyer's vehicles in the PIRÂ parking lot.
Parking for both swap meets is at Portland International Raceway, with shuttles running constantly between the two venues. Savvy show-goers often park far away from PIR and the Expo Center and ride MAX to the events. There is a MAX stop at PIR and another at the Expo Center.
Jim Redden contributed to this story.
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