Manitoba Classic and Antique Auto Club members Mort McKechnie (left), with his 1951 Chevrolet convertible, and Gord Brunette, with his 1966 Mustang GT, welcome visitors to the annual swap meet at the Red River Exhibition Grounds.
The Manitoba Classic and Antique Auto Club is one of Manitoba’s oldest car clubs. Initially formed at a meeting in the Winnipeg Free Press boardroom on Feb. 14, 1960, by Jack McGuigan and Denis Cloutier, the club was founded on the principle of bringing old car enthusiasts together to preserve, restore and admire vehicles 25 years of age and older.
Today, nothing’s changed. The MCAAC is still going strong with hundreds of members, and still is committed to the club’s original goals of bringing car folk together and helping local charities such as Winnipeg Harvest.
For decades, the club’s swap meet moved from location to location within the city. There were both spring and fall meets until everything was incorporated into what we have today. An official rite of spring, the Red River Valley Swap Meet still brings auto enthusiasts out into the open after a long winter. Along the way, the MCAAC decided the meet needed a permanent home, and that came about in 1997. Club members Gary Lambert, Mort McKechnie and Gord Brunette, aided by a continuing army of club volunteers, moved the meet to the Red River Exhibition site next to Assiniboine Downs.
Now in its 20th year, the MCAAC swap meet gives everyone the ability to clean out the garage of all those unused treasures and offer them up to other enthusiasts looking for needed items to complete their dream restoration. Everything from the smallest chrome details up to full sheet metal pieces and mechanical parts can be found on the various vendor tables. Last year, more than 220 vendors, many from out of province, made the show.
For those looking for a bit more, there are project vehicles of every description for sale. It’s a push, pull and drag affair that offers something for everyone. Not up to the task of a full restoration? Then check out the car corral, where you can find everything from vehicles needing only the final touches to those ready to take you and the family out to the next cruise night.
Not in a buying mood but still want to take in the sights of some old iron? Check out the Show and Shine area. With vehicles 25 years and older to gaze upon, there’s surely something that will catch your eye and remind you of days gone by and spark those memories of cars you would have loved to own.
The best thing about the entire day is that it gets everyone up and out for what is the first outdoor vehicle event of the year. With a coffee wagon nearby serving dogs, burgers and fries throughout the day, it gives vehicle enthusiasts both young and old a venue to meet or reconnect with friends and further their passion for everything on wheels.
Since 1993, the swap meet has been collecting both food and cash donations in support of Winnipeg Harvest, so please bring a non-perishable food item and/or make a cash donation on site and help feed a hungry family.
One major change that came last year was the entrance to the venue; it’s now on the west side of the complex. Vendors and other attendees can access the site off of Portage Avenue by turning north at Camp Manitou Road, across from the Flying J truck stop.
The Manitoba Classic and Antique Auto Club’s 20th Annual Red River Valley Swap Meet takes place this Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This one-day outdoor event takes place, rain or shine, at Red River Exhibition Park, 3977 Portage Ave. Admission $5.00 per person, children 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult. Vendor setup starts at 6:30 a.m.. with gates open at 8 a.m. Vendor and Car Corral space rentals are $15. Show and Shine is open to all vehicles 25 years and older — including street rods, modified and special interest vehicles. Vehicles and drivers are admitted free. For more information, call Gord Brunette at (204) 222-2298. For vendor information or space bookings, call Mort McKechnie at (204) 889-9970.
Need a part of component, or got one to swap? Come out to Sunday’s event.