Every year since 1955, the city of Hershey in Pennsylvania hosts a major show featuring classic cars, presented by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA). The show includes an immense parts flea market, a Car Corral dedicated to the sale of old cars, and a concours d’élégance showcasing the cream of the classic-car crop.
In recent years, the Sotheby’s group (RM Auctions) has also presented a classic-car auction at the Hershey Lodge, one of the area’s most upscale hotels.
For any lover of old cars, the annual four-day autumn get-together is a must-see. Some of the attendees have been to every single edition since the show’s inception… in 1955! Several of the Quebecers we spoke to this year were attending their 10th, 20th, 35th and even 45th show.
Truly, the passion car lovers have for Hershey is strong and unfailing.
To give you a window into this one-of-a-kind event, we invite you to view our photo gallery where you’ll discover what a week at the Hershey show is like.
1 – 1949 Cadillac Sedan De Ville
Activities at the Hershey meet run from Wednesday through Saturday. The first three days are generally devoted to the parts flea market and the Car Corral where old cars are sold. Early arrivers on Wednesday get to watch as old cars to be sold are driven to their allocated spots. This Cadillac was one of the first to arrive, and you’ll notice that its owner brought it all the way from Ontario in hopes of finding a buyer. And this is for good reason, as the odds of it selling here are pretty high: each of the vehicles on offer is seen by thousands of devoted car lovers.
2 – 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury
Magnificent cars in a setting to match. Being bored in Hershey is close to impossible, as over 1,000 cars are put up for sale by their owners every year. Some might catch your eye more than others, like this Plymouth Sport Fury in impeccable condition.
3 – 1973 Chevrolet Caprice
Certain models on view here may seem a trifle banal at first glance. But it pays to look closely when you’re at the Hershey event. This Chevrolet, for example, has hardly been driven at all since being put into service on December 22, 1972, and its odometer reads only 2,950 miles. A spanking new classic car.
4 – 1933 Pierce-Arrow 836 Coupe
Don’t assume you’ll only see conventional cars up for sale at Hershey. There’s no shortage of owners offering up exceptional vehicles in the Car Corral. This Pierce-Arrow can be yours for $129,900. The meet also provides car lovers with unique opportunities to see rare models they wouldn’t normally spot at traditional car shows.
5 – 1974 BMW 2002tii
The 2002 was the car that saved BMW at the tail end of the 1960s. Despite the reputation Americans have for being patriotic in their choice of vehicle, many car lovers recognize the value of foreign cars. The Hershey meet always features a large number of these models.
6 – 1951 Studebaker R5
When is the last time you came across a Studebaker truck from the early 50s? A trip to Hershey means discovering rare models that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else.
7 – 1930 Delage D8C Drophead Coupe by Chapron
Many well-heeled collectors make the trip to Hershey in hopes of unearthing some rare treasures. The Hyman company, which specializes in offering consumers rare cars, is always on hand with models normally seen only in magazines. This Delage, available for the hefty price of $375,000, is a perfect example.
8 – 1957 Plymouth Belvedere
Of course, more popular classic-car models are always abundant, like this magnificent 1957 Plymouth for sale for $34,500.
9 – 1909 Cadillac Model 30 Touring
The presence of cars from the 1910s and 1920s is another impressive feature at Hershey, and highlights a difference between collectors in Canada and the United States. To Americans, even cars that hail from another era are venerated as highly as are more recent vintage cars. Its owner was asking $92,500 for this splendid century-old Cadillac.
10 – 1938 Ford
Some models just leave us literally speechless. When it comes to those vehicles from the 1930s, 40s and 50s that feature wood paneling, in the classic-car universe wood equals gold. This explains the $85,000 price tag on this Ford.
11 – 1965 Shelby GT350
A Ford Mustang modified to resemble a Shelby is a sure head-turner. There is no room for replicas at Hershey; this 1965 Shelby GT350 is an authentic version. 1965 was in fact the first year that this sportier version of the Mustang was produced. The going price for these models is fairly astronomical, and this particular one didn’t even have a price attached to it.
12 – 1987 BMW M6
With only 51,000 miles on the odometer, this BMW makes like it was just driven off a new-car lot. Asking price: $49,000.
13 - Buick
This Buick from the early 1930s is still in its original state. This is another distinctive aspect of the Hershey meet. With so many vehicles present, you can expect to see just about anything.
14 - Nostalgia
They say a picture is worth a thousand words; this one could captivate us for hours with the memories of this elderly man whose face lit up when he leaned in to check out the interior of this Imperial. We’re guessing he probably owned a very similar model some fifty years ago.
15 - Ambiance
Did we mention you can expect to see just about anything at Hershey? We weren’t kidding!
16 – Great finds
This couple from Quebec that we came across was quite happy to have found some parts for their old Thunderbird – parts they’d been looking for for years. When you’ve looked everywhere and come up empty-handed, that’s when you head for Hershey.
17 – Hunting for parts
Anything goes when it comes to hunting for the parts you need – including transforming into a human billboard. This picture is pretty typical of what you can expect to see all through the market. People toting baskets hunt for hard-to-find parts, never knowing what awaits at the next stall.
18 - Projects
If you’re in the mood to take on a restoration project, Hershey is the place for you. You may even come across a car whose name is totally new to you, as demonstrated in the next picture.
19 - Saxon
Based in Detroit, Michigan, the Saxon company produced vehicles from 1914 to 1920. In 1917, in fact, it was the 7th top-selling brand in the United States.
20 – The Car Corral
This is but a tiny section of the Car Corral, where cars of all ages and types are offered for sale. For fans of classic cars, the Car Corral is a magical place.
21 – 1916 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4
Two evenings – Thursday and Friday – are given over to Sotheby’s RM auction. Those wanting to attend must pay admission to reserve their spot. Like so much else here, this is an experience worth checking out in and of itself, at least once in your life. This Pierce-Arrow in exceptional condition was in the tent designated for cars to be auctioned off during Friday’s session.
22 – 1916 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4
Here it is, on display and going up for bid. In the end it went unsold, as the desired price was not reached. Its value is estimated at $400,000.
23 – 1925 White Model 15-45
Auctions present another opportunity to discover unique and rarely seen models, for example this true utility vehicle from the White company. This vehicle was used to transport tourists within Yellowstone National Park, in the United States. A one-of-a-kind model that saw bidding reach $80,000 when it went up for auction.
24 – 1934 Packard Super Eight Hunting Car
Unrestored vehicles are increasingly in-demand among collectors. As they say in collecting circles, you only get one chance to be original. It was no surprise, then, to see this rare car – modified by the manufacturer for hunting and still in its original state, go for a bid of $50,000.
25 – 1930 Duesenberg Model J
The Model J by Duesenberg is one of the most highly prized classic cars on the market. For this auction model, bidding started at a cool million, and jumped by $100,000 increments to reach a sale price of $1.9 million. Quite an investment for its new owner.
26 - Concours d’élégance
Saturday is when the concours d’élégance provides a platform for the most beautiful models in a range of categories to strut their stuff. Over 1,000 vehicles are featured and judged. One condition for eligibility is that cars must be able to enter the grounds under their own power – so no tow-trucks or trailers, and only vehicles that run. It’s a thrilling experience, capped at 3 pm by an extraordinary parade of all the cars leaving the grounds, with masses of people lining the route to watch them go by.