Chattanooga, Tennessee is a vibrant city filled with great things to see and do. It is also home to Coker Tire and Honest Charley Speed Shop. To anyone who loves Corvettes, old cars, trucks and hot rods, Coker Tire and Honest Charley Speed Shop are synonymous with vintage wheels and tires and speed equipment. That includes Corvettes, because not only can you get the period perfect wheel and tire combination for virtually any year Corvette, if you choose to modify that Vette Honest Charley Speed Shop can help with everything from suspension and brakes to engine performance upgrades.
The two companies share a vintage brick building on the south side of Chattanooga and we like to think of this compound as “The house that Corky built” and we’d be referring to Corky Coker. Actually Coker Tire is 50 years old this year. The company was established in 1958 by Harold Coker selling retail tires out of the front of a somewhat typical tire store, but there was one special back room dedicated to selling tires for vintage cars. Harold Coker’s love of old cars was in his DNA and passed on to his son, Corky Coker. Corky took over the family tire company in 1974, and as they say, “The rest is history.” Actually for a full history, a listing of vintage wheels and tires go to www.cokertire.com.
As the company grew they became more and more involved with enthusiast events ranging from The Great Race, to the Coker Tire Challenge and the huge Coker Tire Cruise-in held every spring. The good news is your Corvette is welcome at all of these events. The one day Coker cruise-in draws upwards of 2,000 cars of every description and well over 10,000 spectators. Cars fill every nook and cranny for blocks around the Coker Tire/ Honest Charley Speed Shop complex. As if hanging out with a couple thousand fellow automotive enthusiasts isn’t enough fun, there is also a swap meet, food vendors, music and of course touring the Coker Tire facility, including the Coker Museum that houses a great collection of vintage cars and vintage motorcycles.
This year the threat of bad weather was hanging over the cruise-in but happily the rain held off until the event was over and once again a good time was had by all. We really enjoy this event because of the diversity of the cars in attendance. You’ll find everything from a restored Model-T to traditional hot rods to muscle cars and sports cars in attendance. We saw Corvettes from C1-C7 in attendance and that makes this event special because everyone in your local Corvette community is welcomed, regardless of the year of the Corvette. The only qualification to get into the cruise-in is the owner must be driving a collectible car and have an appreciation for all things automotive. Because of the open format modern muscle cars are parked with Deuce roadsters, Fox body Mustangs, Corvettes of all ages and even some European cars, there truly is something for everyone here and it is a great way to get introduced to other segments of the great vintage car hobby.
The event begins early in morning and is wrapping up by 3 o-clock in the afternoon. Thanks to the hard work and welcoming attitude of all the Coker employees this event goes of smooth as silk every year and this is one huge undertaking. It will happen again next year, but until then we thought it would be fun to show some our favorite Corvettes attending the 2018 Coker Tire Cruise-in in Chattanooga Tennessee. Vette
Photography by the Author