Chattanooga is racing for a three-day auto festival. Here, the Grand Marshal shares the details.


Joseph “Corky” Coker, self-proclaimed “automotive guy” and perhaps Chattanooga’s main ambassador to the classic car community, is the Grand Marshal of the 2021 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival.

The three-day festival here, October 15-17, will feature a Concours d’Elegance, a 600-vehicle Mecum auction, a Ferrari show, and a wheel-to-wheel auto racing series in downtown Chattanooga. .

The festival is expected to attract up to 40,000 car enthusiasts. Coker, who operates The Coker Museum and Honest Charley Speed ​​Shop in Chattanooga, was a former owner of Coker Tire, the world’s largest supplier of vintage vehicle tires and wheels. (The business, started by Corky’s late father Harold Coker, was sold in 2018.)

The Coker Museum on Chestnut Street is home to some of its 180 vintage cars and motorcycles. Coker also served as Chairman of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the world’s largest automotive aftermarket entity with 700 member companies.

Here, in his own words, Coker gives a more detailed look at the upcoming festival.

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Corky Coker looks at a 1959 Jaguar at the Coker Museum.

On Chattanooga emerging as a major “automobile town” …

“I actually had a vision for it. I was involved in Volkswagen’s decision to come to Chattanooga. My father (Hamilton County Commissioner Harold Coker) was the first to apply to the military. for the VAAP (Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant) site to be completely decommissioned An automobile factory, this is what you were looking for because of the number of jobs created.

Attract visitors to Chattanooga with the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival …

“The people in the car are the best people in the world, I believe. (Festival founder and philanthropist) Byron (Defoor) and I and the team at the car festival want to bring the best people in the world to the best mid-sized city from the country .”

On the new Pace Grand Prix at the Bend races for vintage and historic cars on the Riverfront Parkway …

“There will be cars from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. There will be some pretty high-end racing cars. There will be grandstands in several places.… Maybe we can organize a race of Indy cars in the future. “

On a world-class Ferarri exhibit being part of the festival in 2021 …

“It will be a great gathering at the Westin (hotel). We connected with a group of people who are ready to share their cars with Chattanooga and the people who come to the festival.”

Of text
Staff photo of Matt Hamilton / Corky Corker with a Nyberg 1910, a car made in Chattanooga, at the Corker Museum on Tuesday August 24, 2021.

At the nationally televised Mecum auction at the Chattanooga Convention Center on October 15-16 …

“Frankly, Dana and Frank Mecum have developed a celebration of automobiles and motorcycles.… They bring their trailers and put on their show. Half of Carter Street will be closed. There will be tents for people to come and see all of them. those vintage cars.… The car guys come from all over the country. ”

On the national exhibition, the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival will give the city …

“Chattanooga is ready. We have the climate, a great government, a very open governor, two mayors (Chattanooga and Hamilton County) who are very positive.

“I’m just thrilled to be a part of the Chattanooga Elevation to make sure more people come here.”

On the purpose of the festival …

“I just want people to have fun around the vintage cars. We have to bring the Sunday ride back.”

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