Big Kids Bring Toys For Tots In Tennessee

For the third year in a row, Coker Tire, a vintage tire company headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has sponsored a smaller version of their annual cruise in to benefit the United States Marine Corps Toys For Tots program.  While the weather was cool and cloudy, with heavy showers predicted by noon, around seventy classic and vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles ventured out for the event.  As usual, the field varied from perfectly restored show cars to some wild customs.  While the cruise in wasn’t a judged event, the winners were the needy kids of the Chattanooga area.  The Marines were able to fill a pickup truck with the toy donations brought by the participants, and a number of financial donations were made as well.  What follows is just a few of the interesting cars that were present.

Holding court over the festivities were five of the United States Marine Corps finest in their dress uniforms.  The Marines made it a point to welcome everyone, thank them for coming, and were quite appreciative of the toys and donations brought to the event.  If these five Marines are any indication, our country is being protected by some really amazing individuals.

As you can see from the photo above, there was a varied mix of vehicles attending.  The surrounding streets were also filled with all types of vehicles, but many sought refuge from the cool winds inside Coker’s headquarters.

Once inside, participants were able to tour Coker’s vast shop areas and peruse the automobiles in the museum.  When in Chattanooga, stop by to have a look at their vast collection.  There is no cost for the extensive guided tour, so you can’t complain that you didn’t get your money’s worth!

Back outside, East Tennessee’s love for sleepers was on full display with this unrestored sixties Pontiac.  Owned by a couple who work for Volkswagen of all places, this rough but ready Pontiac is a veteran of the 2017 Hot Rod Power Tour.  It also has a surprise under the hood…

Hiding under the patina packed hood (real patina-no clear coat here!) was a home brewed, turbocharged Chevy V-8.  Given how it looks on the outside, I am pretty sure this rough looking Poncho has surprised some of the local hot shoes a time or two.

In the “you just don’t see many of these running around anymore” category, we find this early third generation Camaro.  Inside and out, the car had been restored well, and it was packing a 400 cubic inch small block V-8 under the hood.  While I am a fan of IROCs, this one had a very clean look that presented very well.  The wheels and the color combine with the lighter weight of the earlier cars to make for a really attractive ride.

At the end of the meet, an elderly gentleman rolled in driving this rust free 1967 Camaro.  While some of the parts were obviously not from the factory, the original interior was in good condition, and the car didn’t have a speck of rust on it.  After seeing restorable cars for sale at reasonable prices for years, I now sadly notice that the market is saturated with rust buckets at former Z-28 prices.  For the younger enthusiasts, this is how we used to find them.  You also didn’t have to mortgage your house to get a solid one either!

All told, it was a great meet, and just one more example of how much the people in our hobby give back to the community.  There is no more noble undertaking than to help kids have a good Christmas, and, thanks to the United States Marine Corps, Coker Tire, and the gearheads of southeast Tennessee, a lot of kids will be smiling Christmas morning.  If you want to do your part to help this magnificent charity, please go to the Toys For Tots website and either donate or find a place to drop off a toy or two in your area.  There are a lot of kids out there that still need some help.

Come to think of it, a lot of car people do look like Santa Claus….



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  1. Tracy

    Tell me more about the ‘school bus’.

  2. Davey

    Ya the bus is too cool.

  3. JW

    My nephew is the head Marine recruiter for the Chicagoland area, he’s helped with their Toys For Tots program and served as color guard duty for the Chicago Cubs playoffs at Wrigley Field, we have some great family get togethers as some are Cubs fans and some like me are Cardinal fans or White Sox fans. I wish they had a Toys For Tots car show here in the KC Metro but haven’t seen one yet. We do a lot of ones to benefit the Veterans and schools but that’s about it. Yes the bus is cool !!!

  4. Loco Mikado

    As my late father a WW2 & Korean war Marine would say “Semper Fi”. A worthy cause being sponsored by one of our defenders.

  5. heathen67

    The bus is not a school bus. More info here.

  6. Wrong Way

    I am a former Marine, my son is a former Marine, I was Vietnam, he was 3 times Iraq 1 time Afghanistan! He was shot up in Afghanistan, and! I am not the same and neither is he! We will never be the same as we were before our service! I just want to say SEMPER FI to all my brothers! We are proud to have served in the corp! We were privileged to do our part to preserve the freedom of our country! I say privileged, because it is a special privileged to have and still are a part of the USMC! Hold your heads high my brothers, you are a true example of the corp! I am always proud of the USMC! It is definitely a special brother hood! You must earn the privilege, but you make all of us former marines proud! Thanks for listening to a ol’man!

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