Staff photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press Corky Coker, president of Coker Tire, speaks during a news conference announcing that the Hot Rod Power Tour will be making a stop in Chattanooga on June 9, 2010, bringing more than 4,500 cars to the area.
More than 4,500 hot rods will drive across the country from Newton, Iowa, to Mobile, Ala., on a seven-day, seven-city tour that includes Chattanooga among its stops, according to Jerry Pitt, publisher of Hot Rod Magazine.
"Despite the troubled economy, people still have a passion for their cars," he said at a Tuesday news conference.
The 16th annual Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour will stop at Chattanooga State Community College on its way south.
Chattanooga businessman Corky Coker of Coker Tire will host the June 9 event, and he brought several cars from the Coker Tire Museum to the news conference.
"The automotive aftermarket is made up of people with passion. We are an automotive community," Mr. Coker said.
Chattanooga is an ideal pick for the tour's fifth stop thanks to its location and automotive culture, he said.
"Chattanooga is the best- kept secret in the South," Mr Coker said. "We are within a day's drive of three-fourths of the population of the United States."
The event comes just a week before the Riverbend Festival, he said, making for an "unforgettable summer."
Bob Doak, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said he expects the tour to have an $800,000 economic effect on the city.
IF YOU GO
What: Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour
When: June 9
Where: Chattanooga State Community College
"This is an excellent opportunity to showcase everything that Chattanooga has to offer including our outstanding attractions, hotels and restaurants," Mr. Doak said.
The tour named the Chattanooga-based Austin Hatcher Foundation for pediatric cancer as the official charity of the event.
Dr. Jim Osborn, foundation co-founder, plans to host a pinewood derby at each stop, where participants will be allowed to buy, customize and race small wooden cars. Proceeds will go to the foundation.
"We hope that this large community of car lovers will enjoy customizing and racing the pine cars during their weeklong tour," Dr. Osborn said.
Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...