Show ’n’ Snow: Spring Jefferson 2019

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Spring Jefferson goes on despite snowstorm

 An estimated 3.8 inches of snow fell on Jefferson, Wis., during Saturday of the Spring Jefferson Auto Swap Meet & Car Show. The grounds went from sunny to snowy and green to white and then back in a matter of a day, but still some die-hard vendors didn’t budge.

An estimated 3.8 inches of snow fell on Jefferson, Wis., during Saturday of the Spring Jefferson Auto Swap Meet & Car Show. The grounds went from sunny to snowy and green to white and then back in a matter of a day, but still some die-hard vendors didn’t budge.

Not even snow could stop the show at the 42nd Spring Jefferson Auto Swap Meet & Car Show, but it certainly tried.

In the days before the April 26-28 event at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Jefferson, Wis., the weather forecast grew increasingly bleak. While the first day of the event was expected to be sunny, forecasters were issuing a winter storm warning for the following day.

 Mildly modified 1950 Mercury Monterey coupe in Friday’s car corral featured dual carbs atop its flathead and chromed hooded headlamp bezels, among a few other subtle tricks. No asking price was listed.

Mildly modified 1950 Mercury Monterey coupe in Friday’s car corral featured dual carbs atop its flathead and chromed hooded headlamp bezels, among a few other subtle tricks. No asking price was listed.

“At one point, the weathermen said 1-9 inches [of snow],” said Gary Esse, founder of Madison Classics, which hosts Spring Jefferson. “The weekend before, it was 83 degrees here.”

Given the incoming snow, vendors and spectators flocked to the show on opening day, a Friday, which is usually Spring Jefferson’s second biggest event day after Saturday.

“This year, Friday was the big day,” Esse said. “We actually sold out Friday — it was pretty good. All of the spaces were pretty tight.”

 1953 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eights are rare, and so are parts. This vendor offered two sets of fixable 1953 Ninety-Eight Holiday coupe rear fenders that were a good start to arestorer in need.

1953 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eights are rare, and so are parts. This vendor offered two sets of fixable 1953 Ninety-Eight Holiday coupe rear fenders that were a good start to arestorer in need.

Vendors that Old Cars spoke to reported strong sales on Friday and even on Saturday, especially before the snow hit in the mid afternoon.

“The weather predictions scared most people away by Saturday, but we still sold quite a bit,” said Chad Elmore, a vendor. “There were several vendors walking around looking for deals and folks who’d driven a long way who didn’t want to go home empty.”

 Old Cars reader Bruce Winters of New Glarus, Wis., offered two NOS 1957 Ford two-door hardtop fenders and a used 1956 Ford front cross member. The fenders came with a project car that Winters bought, but he saved the car’s original fendersduring the restoration and had these fenders left over.

Old Cars reader Bruce Winters of New Glarus, Wis., offered two NOS 1957 Ford two-door hardtop fenders and a used 1956 Ford front cross member. The fenders came with a project car that Winters bought, but he saved the car’s original fendersduring the restoration and had these fenders left over.

By the time the snow stopped Saturday night, there was 3.8 inches of sloppy wet snow covering the remaining vehicles and vendor parts on the fairgrounds. Then, just as the weathermen predicted, the ground went from white back to green by Sunday.

“The snow was gone Sunday by 10 a.m. and it turned into a nice day,” Elmore said. “Kevin, who I shared the spot with, stayed open Sunday and said he was still selling stuff at noon. For most of those who didn’t run to avoid the blizzard of ’19, it was a good weekend.”

 Jefferson, Wis., is about a half-hour away from General Motors’ long-running (but now shuttered) Janesvilleassembly plant, so the Jefferson meet is Chevy heavy. However, there are still Fords to be found, including this 1963 Ford Country Sedan that originally packed a 390-cid V-8. The builder had a $3,400 price tag.

Jefferson, Wis., is about a half-hour away from General Motors’ long-running (but now shuttered) Janesvilleassembly plant, so the Jefferson meet is Chevy heavy. However, there are still Fords to be found, including this 1963 Ford Country Sedan that originally packed a 390-cid V-8. The builder had a $3,400 price tag.

“It was a tough one, it just was,” said Esse. “What can you say? I think a lot of the vendors that stuck around did OK.

“I think we were hurt pretty bad because of attendance, but the interest supported the program,” Esse added.

Esse said there were a couple hundred cars in this year’s Spring Jefferson car corral and he says cars were moving before the storm.

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 A bright yellow, driver-quality 1970 Oldsmobile Rallye 350 Sport Coupe greeted visitors entering the Jefferson County Fairgrounds from the east. It was for sale, but no price was listed. Examples in similar condition can be found for $12,000-15,000.

A bright yellow, driver-quality 1970 Oldsmobile Rallye 350 Sport Coupe greeted visitors entering the Jefferson County Fairgrounds from the east. It was for sale, but no price was listed. Examples in similar condition can be found for $12,000-15,000.

“The show car area was bleak, but there’s still a certain amount of guys who brought their cars for sale and sold their cars, and I know they weren’t cheap.”

In the 3800 vending spaces of Spring Jefferson, Esse reported several new vendors, some from as far away as Kansas and Ohio. Among the trends he and other vendors spotted was a continuing interest in trucks.

 Black-and-gold 1977 Dodge Warlock with a 360-cid V-8 and automatic transmission was offered in the car corral for $24,990.

Black-and-gold 1977 Dodge Warlock with a 360-cid V-8 and automatic transmission was offered in the car corral for $24,990.

“I think that pickup trucks are really coming along,” he said. “The interest level is up quite a bit in that area. And it’s not just guys but girls as well.”

Madison Classics will be hosting two more events this year, both of which are well out of the range of possible snow (even in Wisconsin). The 34th annual Summer Elkhorn Auto Swap Meet & Car Show will be held Aug. 3-4 at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn, Wis. The 42nd Fall Jefferson will follow from Sept. 27-29 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

 Few 1966 Imperials were sold new compared to Lincoln and Cadillac that year, and many Imperials eventually became conquering gladiators in demolition derby rings because of their crash worthiness. This surviving Imperial LeBaron four-door hardtop was a great candidate for some TLC, but was a good start for a driver at $6,000.

Few 1966 Imperials were sold new compared to Lincoln and Cadillac that year, and many Imperials eventually became conquering gladiators in demolition derby rings because of their crash worthiness. This surviving Imperial LeBaron four-door hardtop was a great candidate for some TLC, but was a good start for a driver at $6,000.

 This two-owner 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Landau coupe had the 350-cid V-8 and just 42,000 miles. It had been spared all but one winter in its lifetime and was offered at $12,500 or best offer.

This two-owner 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Landau coupe had the 350-cid V-8 and just 42,000 miles. It had been spared all but one winter in its lifetime and was offered at $12,500 or best offer.

 Sporting just 27,900 miles, this 1969 Buick Riviera boasted a 430-cid V-8, more than half its original paint and an asking price of $16,500.

Sporting just 27,900 miles, this 1969 Buick Riviera boasted a 430-cid V-8, more than half its original paint and an asking price of $16,500.

 Cadillac's sportiest and most formal 1968 models were paired next to each other in the Spring Jefferson car corral. The Eldorado had 60,000 miles but no price tag; no details were given for the Series 75 limousine. Neither had a price tag.

Cadillac's sportiest and most formal 1968 models were paired next to each other in the Spring Jefferson car corral. The Eldorado had 60,000 miles but no price tag; no details were given for the Series 75 limousine. Neither had a price tag.

 A solid, two-owner 1955 Chevrolet Two-Ten sedan in largely original condition had its born-with 265-cid V-8 rebuilt and was for sale at $10,800 in the car corral.

A solid, two-owner 1955 Chevrolet Two-Ten sedan in largely original condition had its born-with 265-cid V-8 rebuilt and was for sale at $10,800 in the car corral.

 1968 Buick Wildcat convertible with 38000 miles, bench seat, five-spoke Wildcat wheels, 430-cid V-8 and an automatic transmission was offered at $15,000 best offer in the car corral.

1968 Buick Wildcat convertible with 38000 miles, bench seat, five-spoke Wildcat wheels, 430-cid V-8 and an automatic transmission was offered at $15,000 best offer in the car corral.

 As a super solid Arizona truck, this V-8-powered 1955 Dodge pickup was a great foundation for a restoration project. It’s also easy to picture a period dual-quad D-501 Hemi engine under the hood. The asking price was $6900.

As a super solid Arizona truck, this V-8-powered 1955 Dodge pickup was a great foundation for a restoration project. It’s also easy to picture a period dual-quad D-501 Hemi engine under the hood. The asking price was $6900.

 An original COPO 1969 Camaro ZL1 with a 427 cid V-8 was on display during Spring Jefferson in one of the many buildings on the grounds of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

An original COPO 1969 Camaro ZL1 with a 427 cid V-8 was on display during Spring Jefferson in one of the many buildings on the grounds of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

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