The History of Honest Charley

Honest Charley Datona Car copy
Here at Honest Charley Speed Shop, we’re proud of our heritage, as the world’s first mail order speed shop. A lot of people have heard of our shop, but may not know the story behind it, and what makes it so special. The shop isn’t special because of what we’re doing TODAY–it’s special because of what Charley Card did more than 65 years ago to hand-form the mail-order speed shop industry as we know it. Many businessmen and hot rodders followed after Charley’s concept, and it created a huge network of speed shops and retail centers, which gave hot rodders and racers a place to get speed parts. Some may have viewed those other speed shops as competition, but it was truly a blossoming industry and the competition was healthy for the growth of each company. Today, Honest Charley Speed Shop is still kickin’ with long-time employees Mike Goodman and Joe Lombardo at the helm. It has returned to its roots as a small-town speed shop, and this Chattanooga, Tennessee icon is still serving hot rodders to this day.

A Record Turnout at the 2015 Chattanooga Cruise In

When the idea came about to host an open house and cruise in at Coker Tire and Honest Charley Speed Shop, we had no idea it would grow to this magnitude. On Saturday, April 11th, we welcomed more than 2,000 cars and approximately 15,000 people to the Chattanooga Cruise In–it was a record breaking day for our event, and we’re glad so many people went out of their way to join us for a day of gear head fun! We always enjoy these events because of the variety of cars, and this year was no different. There were gassers, rat rods, restored classics, sports cars, classic trucks, muscle cars and so much more! It was an outstanding day in the Scenic City–we’re proud to call Chattanooga home, and proud to have so many friends and supporters of this event! Check out our favorite photos from the 2015 Chattanooga Cruise In!


David Hall’s Cool ’41 Ford Pickup

It’s that time of year! We get a lot of visitors in the spring time, as local hot rodders are ready to get out and put a few miles on their cars (or trucks) before the car show season kicks off. David Hall, from Powells Crossroads, Tennessee visits us quite often, and visited us today in his clean and simple ’41 Ford shop truck. It’s powered by a Flathead V8 with an ISKY cam, and it’s sitting a few inches lower, thanks to de-arched leaf springs. We love the patina’d shop truck style, and the fact that David can hop in this truck and go anywhere he wants. If you’re making the rounds with your hot rod, come by the shop and see us–we’d love to check out your ride!

Around the World in a ’57 Mercedes-Benz!

We have lots of special visitors, especially during the spring and summer months, and we had an excellent visit this morning from a New Zealand couple who are embarking on a world-wide journey in their 1957 Mercedes-Benz 220S Ponton. Five continents, over 90,000 miles and five years make up this road trip, which happened to include a stop right here at Honest Charley Speed Shop in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Continue reading to learn more about their journey and to see a few more photos of their classic German sedan.

Join Us for the Spring 2015 Chattanooga Cruise In!

It’s time to get your hot rod out of hibernation and we’re excited to announce the Chattanooga Cruise In is scheduled for Saturday, April 11th, 2015. The folks at Coker Tire continue to grow the event, and we’re glad to be a part of it. This year, the city of Chattanooga has allowed us to close off a few more streets, including a portion of Main Street, which will allow even more cars to take part in the event. Event time is 10am to 4pm Eastern time, and we’ll be giving away door prizes at 3pm. This event continues to grow, and we’re expecting to see more than 1,000 cars on display with thousands of spectators on hand to check out the cars, as well as the Coker Tire and Honest Charley open house! Mark your calendars now…you don’t want to miss it! Find more information on the Chattanooga Cruise In here:

SEMA 2014 Coverage

Every year, just about the time when the car show and drag racing season is winding down, it’s time to go to Las Vegas for the SEMA Show. It’s the world’s largest automotive trade show, and it’s the place where everyone wants to debut new products, new cars and new ideas. We typically tag along with our neighbors at Coker Tire, and this year, we even had our Honest Charley rat rod truck on display in the Wheel Vintiques booth. They whipped up a new set of Gennie wheels for it that looked pretty cool! We had a blast at the SEMA Show and we hope you enjoy our recap!

A Blast from the Past!

A large percentage of the what/why/how of today’s hot rodders is for the sake of nostalgia. Going back to a simpler time can be as easy as sliding behind the wheel of a ___________ (fill in the blank with your favorite hot rod) and going for a drive. With such deep roots in hot rod history, Honest Charley Speed Shop is privileged with a revolving door of enthusiastic hot rodders who want to show off any old pictures, or in this case video, of the good old days. Of course, we LOVE it, and recently uncovered some old 8mm film footage that really rocked our world! We think you’ll enjoy it too, so tune in and reminisce with us.

Hershey in the Rear View Mirror

Every fall, we make the drive to Hershey, Pennsylvania for what has to be the biggest swap meet in the world. It’s an AACA-sanctioned event, and it’s held within smelling-distance of the Hershey chocolate factory. We always carry LOTS of parts and merchandise when we go to Hershey, because that also involves a pitstop at the Fall Carlisle swap meet, which is pretty big, too. Without question, it’s a busy two weeks on the road, but we love it and it gives us a great chance to hang out with our Northeastern customers and friends.

A Hot Rodder’s Guide to Wheel Bolt Pattern

Have you ever bought a project car or even a completed car that was the brainchild of another hot rodder? Sometimes, you never know what type of suspension or brakes are used in a project car, but it’s pretty common to have mis-matched bolt patterns. For instance, it’s common to use a Camaro or Nova subframe and front suspension, which features a small five lug GM pattern, measuring 4-3/4 inches. And let’s say they robbed a Ford 9-inch out of an old F-100 pickup, and it still had the stock five lug bolt pattern, which measures 5-1/2 inches. If you’re unsure about your bolt pattern and you’re on the hunt for a new set of wheels, be sure to measure before you start scouring the swap meet or the Coker Tire catalog for new rollers. Keep reading to find out more.

Fall Fun at the Chattanooga Cruise In

It always seems like fall comes and goes quickly. We’re so busy around here during September and October, the months typically fly by, leaving us in the dead of winter. One event that always gets our attention is the Chattanooga Cruise In, as it’s held right here at our facility. We invite everyone we know to come hang out with us, and it’s always a fun time with hundreds of hot rods and thousands of people overtaking the streets of Chattanooga. This year was no different, as the fall 2014 Chattanooga Cruise In offered a lot of fun with a great turnout. Check out our favorite pictures from the event, and stay tuned for future cruise in dates!