Chattanooga tire man Corky Coker is new reality TV star
Corky Coker, owner of Chattanooga's Coker Tire Company, is featured on a new reality show, which premiered Wednesday. The show is called "Backroad Gold." The weekly series will air on the Travel Channel, which is seen on cable and satellite networks nationwide.
The show follows Coker and his son-in-law, Greg Cunningham, as they seek out barn finds across the Southeast. Classic cars, motorcycles and automobiles are the focus of this show. The Honest Charley Speed Shop, located across the street from Coker's company (and managed by Cunningham) will also be featured, as they restore several of the vehicles.
Coker's daughter, Casey, and his father, Harold (a former Hamilton County Commissioner) are also featured in the TV show, as well as Honest Charley's head wrenchman, Hal "Fireball" Everrett.
Producers describe the show as "following the antique car expert as he scours the highways, back roads and small towns of America, wheeling and dealing for hidden riches such as antique cars, motorcycles, trucks, gas pumps and road signs."
Harold Coker started the business in 1958, with Corky expanding the antique tire division in 1974. His job was to determine how to produce tires that were no longer being manufactured, and then to market and distribute them. He brokered deals with major tire producers that gave Coker Tire the worldwide licensing agreements and exclusive distributorships to big-name vintage brands.
Now, after nearly four decades, the antique tire division consumes over 200,000 square feet of warehouse space alone. The company now occupies several buildings in the historic Southside district of downtown Chattanooga and there's a 100,000 square foot Coker Tire store and warehouse located in City of Industry, California as well.
The company's antique tire division started with one employee in 1974 and today has grown to more than 80. Full-time managers now oversee the Exports, Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, Distribution and Accounting Departments, but Corky Coker is still heavily involved with his company.
Here is a preview of the new Travel Channel show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNG3vsIw40g