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Fairplex draws car lovers

Autumn Simon
Staff Writer

Thousands of adults teens and children gathered to observe, sell and buy classic cars Sunday at the annual Pomona Swap Meet and Classic Car Show at the Fairplex.

The event, which has been going on for nearly 40 years, was presented by George Cross and Sons, Inc.

“At first we were a little worried because when only one gate was open it meant that not a lot of people were here, but eventually a crowd of people came,” said Christen Howard, employee at Faxon Auto Literature.

In 1975 George W. Cross III decided to create a swap meet dedicated specifically to cars and those devoted to them. He launched the first Pomona Swap Meet on August 3, 1975, with overwhelming success. The event brought in 4,200 people to the Point parking lot, where the present day Fairplex Sheraton sits. Today auto enthusiasts from around the world attend to see more than 2,500 classic cars and purchase parts from more than 2,700 vendors.

One section was devoted to classic cars and their owners. Some of the cars for sale: a 1969 Camaro Super Sport, a 1940 Ford Model T and a 1968 Shelby GT 500 Ford Mustang.

Many car owners displayed restored Corvettes, Porsches, Street Rods and Volkswagens to be sold across the country.

“This is my first time at this event in Pomona, because I’m from Flagstaff, Arizona,” said Brian Owens, who was selling a 1972 Chevelle Super Sport with a 480 small block engine that was able to generate more than 600 horse power.

“It was a hot rod when I bought it, but then I converted it to a show car,” Owens said. “It has won four trophies for paint, sound and originality.”

Another classic car that made a statement was a rare 1963 fire truck owned by Orange County resident Olen Martin, who has been attending this event for more than 30 years. The rare, original, 1963 Ford F850 Super Duty Pumper is equipped with a 534 gasoline engine, the largest engine Ford ever made.

The truck was retired after 50 years of service for Rio Arriba County in New Mexico.

“I’ve had two buyers (including) one from Sweden and one from Australia,” Martin said.

On the other side of the event, vendors sold hard-to-find car parts and accessories at low prices.

Autumn Simon can be reached at autumn.simon@laverne.edu.

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