LAS VEGAS, NV. , NOV 4, 2009 – Coker Tire Co., of Chattanooga, Tenn., will be involved in the production of a movie honoring the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. As part of the project, the vintage tire maker will build 40 replicas of the cars that raced in the first 500 race in 1911. In addition, a replica of what the Speedway looked like in 1911 will be constructed. Casey Coker, who runs the Coker Cycle Co. division of the tire company, said that the recreation of the famed “Brickyard” would be built within 100 miles of the real track.
Corky Coker, who Is president of Coker Tire Co., announced the project to the press at the 2009 SEMA Show In Las Vegas. Coker, whose life-long nickname “Corky” comes from a character of the newspaper comic strip "Gasoline Alley," Is a veteran hobbyist and collector of old cars and motorcycles. He Is also a founding member and former chairman of SEMA's Automobile Restoration Market Organization (ARMO).
Replicas of the Marmon Wasp that won the first 500-Mile race and a Lozier that was Involved In a controversial finish in 1911 will be among the first of the 40 cars that are going to be constructed. Coker also mentioned Hudson, Nash and other early racing cars. The cars will be exacting replicas of the cars that competed in the original 500, except that they will have modern engines.
Casey Coker said that the original Marmon Wasp that Ray Harroun drove to victory was brought to Coker Tire Co. headquarters In Chattanooga, where it was displayed for a while and used for reference to make the first of the 40 replicas historically accurate. "Dad had a real Lozier In his collection," Casey explained. "So we already had a model for the Lozier build."
The movie will be a big-budget, professional production with actors dressed in leather helmets, goggles and other early racing garb. Coker brought the completed, but unpainted Marmon Wasp replica to the SEMA Show, where it was featured on Barry Meguiar's "Car Crazy" cable TV show, which the Speed Channel broadcasts remotely from the annual trade show.
Other than the press announcement at the SEMA Show, Coker Tire Co. plans to wait until 2010 to release official details about the Indy 500 movie. Old Cars Weekly asked Casey Coker what would happen to the cars after the completion of filming. "I think that we'll probably keep a couple of them," she said. "And we'll probably sell off the rest of them, possibly in an auction or something."