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Tales from the $1 table

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Over the years, when scanning the selection at swap meets and sales, I’ve learned to even pay attention to the items that lurk on the $1 tables, as they can sometimes be of interest to the vintage vehicle-minded. My latest examples are these mini scores from my local monthly flea market.

The GM “Mr. Goodwrench” button was too good to pass up for just a buck. GM’s dealership service brand, Mr. Goodwrench, was advertised from the early 1970s to about 2010 when the program was phased out. Stephen Colbert, now host of The Late Show, even did some Mr. Goodwrench TV commercials about a dozen years ago. These buttons aren’t particularly rare or valuable, but they’re still nice to have. I’ve seen a few “Ms. Goodwrench” buttons as well.

On this weekend, the second item was nearly a surprise. I spotted on a $1 table a set of Channel Master walkie talkies that dates back to 1965. I really liked the period design and the fact that they were in the original box. No, the walkie talkies weren’t automotive related, but what I found in the box was.


Here are the bonus AMT El Camino model instructions and decals…

Further examination of the contents revealed a lot of extra paperwork along with the Channel Master operating booklet and the warranty cards. These instructions were for other items unrelated to the walkie talkies, like a toy horse and a microscope, yet all appeared to be from the same time period.

Among them was a set of instructions to build an AMT 1965 El Camino model in stock or custom forms, or with a camper. More importantly, however, there was also a set of 1/25th-scale automotive sponsor decals for its body. They include GM and Ford-related stickers, and a few for the National Hot Rod Association and various aftermarket speed parts suppliers and more. It was a pretty cool bonus, found in an unlikely place.


…that I found in the 1965-era Channel Master walkie talkie box.

Coincidentally, my two $1 items were GM related for this outing, despite the fact that the tables were about four isles apart. What interesting car-related items have you found on the low-buck tables of swap meets you have attended over the years?