Large crowds turn out at the Portland Expo Center and Portland International Raceway after OCOD-19 postponements.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The traditional unofficial start of the car enthusiast season resumed on March 31 with the first of two weekend auto swap meets.The Portland Swap Meet and its partner meet at Portland International Raceway returned from March 31 to April 3 after two years lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees were rewarded with generally good weather and brisk trade in project vehicles, parts, and automobilia.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Large crowds flocked to both the Portland Expo Center and Portland International Raceway auto swap meets.

The Portland Swap Meet is traditionally held at the Portland Expo Center on the first weekend of April every year. Some years ago, nearby Portland International Raceway started its own swap meet on the same weekend to handle the excess demand for vendor spaces. The two events now share parking and shuttle bus services, but still require separate tickets for entrance. The PIR swap meet begins on Thursday and runs through Saturday, while the Expo swap meet opens to buyers on Friday and runs through Sunday.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - A wide range of vehciles were for sale at the swap meets, inlcuding this rare 1976 Pontiac Trans Am.

This year's events had the benefit of two years of pent up demand among both vendors and buyers, and business was brisk at both locations. Asking prices reflected the thriving market for collector and project vehicles, but bargains could still be found throughout both locations. Many sellers were down to just a few remaining items by the end of the event, and a great number of project vehicles went home with new owners. Registration forms for next year's swap meets were handed out to vendors at the show, and new vendors are advised to act now to secure their booths for 2023.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - A classic hot rod and car parts for sale at the Portland Expo Center Auto Swap Meet.

The Portland and PIR Swap Meets are great places to locate hard-to-find vintage car parts and automobile memorabilia, but they're also more than that. The swap meets mark the beginning of the enthusiast event season in Portland. If this year's attendance is any indication, the car buff community is ready to have one of its best years ever.

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