Pardon me, boy

Is that the Chattanooga choo choo?

Track twenty-nine

Boy, you can gimme a shine

Glenn Miller and his Orchestra from Sun Valley Serenade

I bet you’ve seen lots of old cars. I’m not talking about a ten-year-old Corolla, I mean ones made before 1940. Did you ever stop to wonder where the owner got those brand-new old-style tires? Odds are they came from the Coker Tire Company in Chattanooga.

The company has an interesting facility that combines a small museum with a restoration shop.

There are motorcycles.

I wonder how you’d be received if you rolled into Sturgis on one of these Harleys? Note the bicycle-style wheels.

I had to include the Honda CB350, not because it’s a great bike, but because it was my first form of motorized transportation when I moved to New Zealand in 1975. Mine was gold, not blue.

There are airplanes.

I’m no expert, but the yellow one reminds me of a WWII trainer called a Taylorcraft L2 that my Uncle Arch owned. A very basic craft: stick control, no gas gauge.

There are cars.

The collection begins in this small, odd room with a seemingly random collection. There were a few racing cars, some old, some not so old. Also a pretty cool hot rod.

The restoration facilities are also on the ground floor.

The first room is devoted to building wooden spoke wheels. The second, much larger, room is where vehicle restoration happens. There is also a paint booth.

Sprinkled throughout are vintage machines and posters.

Mary Anne looks into the restoration shop before entering the lower floor room where most of the “stuff” is (bikes, planes, cars).

Mary Anne poses with friends Susan and Dennis. Susan and I have known each other since birth. Our parents were friends in Baton Rouge. We attended kindergarten together and have the photos to prove it. If you are a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, you will understand when I say that Susan was the “Susie” to my “Calvin.”

Is the Morgan a car or a motorcycle? A bit of both, actually. Note the air-cooled motorcycle-like engine at the front and the single rear wheel. What’s the point? Avoiding stiff British tax on automobiles.

I nearly bought an Austin Healey 3000 for my first car. At the last minute, I decided on a Sunbeam Alpine instead because my Uncle Arch owned one.

I have owned a couple of VW beetles, one in New Zealand after the Honda ceased to charm and one in the States. I have always hankered to restore a 1967 model, but doubt that it will ever happen.

Three timeless classics. Mary Anne’s first car was a blue Mustang hardtop. I hope that it was spared the awful aftermarket air conditioner.

Bugatti and Bently need no introductions.

The headlights aren’t much, but the spotlight is a killer!

A study in the evolution of hood ornaments. Initially, a functional way to monitor the radiator coolant temperature and replenish it when required.

Eventually, brand identification. This one is a Packard.

Fittingly, we end with a Nyberg. This attractive but extinct brand was made in Chattanooga. Imagine polishing all that brass!


  1. You and Barry need to compare Beetle stories when next we meet.

    As always, I enjoy your takes on these quirky little museums.

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