Irwindale Literature Faire

The 18th Annual Society Of Automotive Historians Literature Faire & Exchange Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, California - - Over 200 vendors took advantage of a beautifully clear and very warm Sunday, June 25 at Irwindale Speedway to put on...

The 18th Annual
Society Of Automotive Historians
Literature Faire & Exchange

Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, California - - Over 200 vendors took advantage of a beautifully clear and very warm Sunday, June 25 at Irwindale Speedway to put on display an array of over two acres of automobile memorabilia on sale. The result was: fascinating / wonderful / historic / hysteric / nostalgic / stupefying / seductive / charming ... Truly "all of the above".

Old books, magazines, prints, photos, original works of art, shop manuals, hat and lapel pins, car model kits, banners, advertising materials, objects'd'arte, flags, press kits, wrist watches, hood mascots, car toys, racing stuff and touring stuff ... You name it ... If it related to cars and it had a little bit of age on it ... It was most likely there at the Lit Faire 2000.

Held annually for nearly two decades now, the event just recently (1999) moved to Irwindale Speedway. This year both seller and customer attendance counts (just under 200 sellers and well over 3000 buyers) were well up and the pace of commerce was brisk from the early morning hours until the blazing sun got the best of even the best of them by about two o'clock.

The free admission/free parking event was advertised as a "7 a.m. to 4 p.m." affair but, as every flea market shopper worth their salt knows full well, you've got to get there early, early, early for the good stuff. Next year we are assured that the event hours will be announced as from 7 to 2, more realistic and easier on all involved.

And, speaking of good stuff ... There was plenty of it ... the rare and not so rare, the prosaic and the priceless, purveyed on about half a mile of folding tables. Auto nuts of all persuasions were in their glory.

Rarity and pricelessness are relative values of course ... But seeing all those Car Life and Road & Track magazines that their mothers threw out when they went off to school gave many a shopper something of a retro-rush. There were items on sale that simply spoke to people and some of the responses were downright emotional.

An all-volunteer effort, all proceeds from the rental of booth space go directly to the SAH's educational fund. The Speedway donates the exhibit space and parking lot for the day.

One L.A.'s best-known "car nuts" was there early picking up his share of goodies ... Jay Leno made his yearly appearance at the Lit Faire moving quickly from vendor to vendor making his purchases. If he liked it, there was no haggling on the price, he bought it. Leno arrived in a magnificent green over green Dusenberg and was treated like just one of the gang during his hour long visit to the Faire. When invited to visit the track to take in a race some Saturday night, he told the track's PR guy, "Hey, I work on Saturday nights."

Mark your calendars early for this once-a-year, one-of-a-kind, (very) special unique event and then be at Irwindale Speedway early on the morning of the first Sunday after Father's Day next year. Dress casually, wear "layers" and a pair of really good walking-around shoes, slather on the sun block, bring a sturdy carrying bag.

Whatever the amount you plan to spend, bring it in cash, get there early-on, and be prepared to be swept away on the rising tide of motormania at the 19th Annual SAH Literature Fair and Book Exchange. As they say in some of the finer diners hereabouts: "Enjoy ..." - Doug Stokes

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Series History , General
Drivers Jay Leno