Hershey 2000


The smell of chocolate fills the air in downtown Hershey. Street lights shaped like Hershey Kisses line the streets. A seemingly odd setting for the stream of Porsches which descended on this tourist Mecca founded by M. S. Hershey, the chocolate magnate.It was, in fact, the setting for the annual Porsche swap meet held by the Central Pennsylvania Region of PCA.

This swap meet has a long history, but this was only the second year it was held at this east central Pennsylvania location. The Friday evening before the meet Missy and I were the guests, along with about 50 other friends and acquaintances, of Stuart Zeh of the Northern New Jersey region. The “Friends of Stu” congregated in a private suite in the Hershey Lodge for drinks and snacks.

Most had been invited via the Rennlist, the largest electronic gathering of Porsche owners on the planet. Rennlist creator John Dunkle was there to meet those whose introduction to him and to one another had only been in cyberspace. List members from as far away as Florida got to know one another and trade travel adventure stories. Even a member of the Hershey family, Ed Hershey a Porsche owner from Connecticut, was present.

Two days of rain before the Saturday event did not deter hundreds of Porsche owners and vendors from filling a large parking lot near the Chocolate World Center and stadium complex. A cold raw morning did not discourage them from a day full of admiring cars and pouring over the seemingly endless tables of Porsche paraphernalia of every description. Even Jerry Seinfeld, noted Porschephile, was in attendance (somewhat disguised in ball cap and dark glasses).

The array of “stuff” was impressive and nearly overwhelming. New tires, old tires, Fuchs, fenders, tools, seats, whole interiors, rusted pieces of unknown purpose, junk, treasure, radios, Porsche bits and pieces of every description.

Professional retailers shared the vendor’s area with sellers who drove beat-up vans which disgorged what appeared to be the contents of someone’s garage onto the asphalt or a card table.

And the cars, of course, were there in abundance. Pick a model, any model. Spyders and Speedsters, Turbos and Targas, Coupes and Cabriolets, 944’s, 924’s, 968’s, 928’s, SC’s of 356 and 911 fame, the new and the old; all were spread throughout the parking lot for Porsches only. For sale and show, or just there. (To get an idea of the size of the event, think of Stoddard’s annual swap meet, then multiply the image by a factor of ten. It’s that big.)

It was a worthwhile journey across Pennsylvania and back. We capped it off with a visit to Gettysburg. Next year, you come too.

© W. S. Cline/Rose Lane Garage 2000

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