By Jonathan Munk
Car enthusiasts statewide will gather to show off their cars, swap parts and help raise money for UVSC students during the 14th Annual Auto Expo this weekend.
Proud owners and collectors of more than 500 cars, trucks, motorcycles and even semi-trucks will enter their vehicles in one of Utah Valley”s largest car shows, which includes Utah”s biggest swap meet.
The two-day event draws between 25,000 and 30,000 people, and this year promises to be one of the largest, said Ray Campbell, expo chair.
“The show has grown in popularity every year,” Campbell said.
Campbell, a collector as well, is no stranger to car show fundraising. In 1989, he and a few others started their own show in Provo to raise money for another person”s needed operation.
His show and the UVSC expo later combined, and Campbell has served as chairman for 13 of the 14 years the expo has been taking place.
However, the largest growing part of the Auto Expo is the swap meet, where people can buy and sell parts for their own car projects.
“At the swap meet, vendors sell anything from old rusty parts to new items for vehicles,” said Derek J. Hall, spokesman for the Expo. “Some guy might have an old rusty bumper that fits a ”38 Ford and he wants to sell it, and someone else is looking for one. There”s a lot of people pulling a lot of strings.”
The expo raises money by charging an entry fee for collectors and for swap meet booth space.
“We don”t charge an admittance fee per person, but we do charge $3 for parking,” Hall said. “If a van full of 10 people comes, it only costs $3 to get in.”
Hall said the purpose of the event is about more than just putting on a good show.
“The money we earn goes directly to scholarships for the automotive trade programs,” Hall said. Automotive programs include the automotive repair and diesel technology programs at UVSC.
This year”s show will feature the local collection of Ardell Brown.
“I have approximately 120 cars,” Brown said. “And I drive them all the time.”
Brown started his collection more than 20 years ago, and it has continued to grow since then. Brown began his collection with a 1975 Bricklin SV-1, a rare sports coupe with a V-8 and gull-wing style doors.
“Some of the cars I”ve got I”ve had more than 20 years, but the majority of them I”ve acquired in the last five or six years,” Brown said.
Brown”s oldest car dates back to 1912, but he has cars in his collection from every decade and several from the ”60s and ”70s.
The Packard car Craig Wirth drove in his “Touring Utah” features for Channel 4 is Brown”s as well. He keeps his collection in a “small garage” at his home in Draper.
Of the cars in his collection, only six or eight will be at the UVSC Expo this year, but this show still promises to be one of the largest. Ford Motor Company and Carroll Shelby Automobiles Inc. representatives will also be present to showcase some of their best products, including the 40th anniversary Mustang and some famous Shelby Cobras.
The expo will start with the annual car cruise from Spanish Fork to UVSC and finish with a barbeque at the McKay Events Center. An awards ceremony will also take place to honor the best show cars.