Bob McKamey has sold Toyotas for five decades, 'a wonderful ride'

Celebrating 50 years of selling Toyota's from his Lee Highway dealership, Bob McKamey, right, is honored by Paul Holdridge, left, vice president of sales in the U.S., and Scott Wracher, general manager of the Toyota Regional District that includes Tennessee.

Dealership revamp

Ed Emerson, Capital Toyota’s sales manager, said a $3.9 million renovation of the longtime Lee Highway dealership changed its entire floor plan to make it more “customer friendly.” As well as updating the showroom, it created in-door drive though bays to help keep customers out of the weather. The refurbishing also enlarged the dealership’s footprint, he said.

Fifty years ago, then-Chattanooga used car dealer Bob McKamey was approached by a salesman for a little known Japanese company who wanted him to sell some vehicles.

A car produced by the automaker, Toyota, was parked nearby and McKamey was asked to take a look. He checked it out, closed the car door and was impressed by what he termed "a click" that to him indicated quality.