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Buyers, sellers turn out for auto parts auction, swap meet

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, at 9:20 p.m.

If you needed a spare part for that NASCAR car you’re building in the garage, it was probably available at Century II on Saturday.

Auto parts vendors from around the region and the nation set up their goods at the 26th Annual Kansas Auto Racers/High-Performance Auction, Trade Show and Swap Meet.

There was something for everyone, from pro racers, to weekend warriors, to the guy next door who thinks he’s an auto mechanic.

There were clips, cylinders, rotors, spindlers, steering shafts, steering wheels, helmets and tires. There were shock pins and gussets, T-shirts and tools.

The all-day event was held at Century II for the first time after 25 years at the Kansas Coliseum.

Event organizer Greg Deatherage said some long-time attendees went to the Coliseum on Saturday morning out of habit and had to phone to find out what had happened to the show.

“It’s going to take a year or two to get people familiar with the move,” Deatherage said.

The new location provides a warmer winter setting, where auto enthusiasts can sit still longer for the auction.

“They lured us to come over here, and they’ve been great to work with,” Deatherage said of Century II officials. “Nothing bad against the Coliseum. Climate control had more to do with it than anything.”

Deatherage’s father, Terry, was one of the founders of the event. Terry Deatherage had a cycle parts business on East Douglas for years and was a late-model race champ at 81 Speedway before moving to Texas. He died in 1998.

Greg Deatherage acquired the show five years ago. He also does shows in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Little Rock, Ark., and Wichita Falls, Texas.

As Deatherage spoke, the auctioneer babbled into a microphone and sold a $200 aluminum radiator for $20 to one of the 75 to 100 bidders seated in a grandstand that had been set up inside the convention center.

“That guy can afford to build a hot rod a lot cheaper now,” Deatherage said.

Deatherage spotted about 10 people in the stands who sell the items they buy at auction on the Internet.

“We have some eBay followers that buy at auction, go home, clean ’em up and resell ’em on eBay,” he said.

Trade show vendors at the event offered new products.

Mark Moseley, owner of Alliance Motorsports of Carrollton, Texas, near Dallas, brought much of his warehouse to the show. He traveled with four employees in a Ford 1-ton truck and a 44-foot racecar trailer to haul a display that filled 1,200 square feet at the show.

Moseley said he tours the auto tradeshows around the country all winter – from New York and Massachusetts to locations in the Midwest.

“This show compares to most of the other shows within the region,” he said.

Plenty of people still show up at the show even though they could do a lot of business these days over the Internet, Moseley said.

“Some guys still like the shows. They want to come to the convention center, they want to bring their wives to the hotel, they want to do the auction,” Moseley said. “It makes it a lot of fun.”

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