Corky Coker and family will hunt hidden treasures in 'Backroad Gold' show
For decades, Corky Coker and his family have been putting collectors on the road with the authentic tires they make. Now, collectors and the world at large can see how the family spends its time spinning the whitewalls of their own cars on the new TV show “Backroad Gold,” which will debut on the Travel Channel Feb. 5 at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Eight episodes of “Backroad Gold” are slated to hit TV screens Wednesday nights in 2014 with each episode featuring Coker family members doing what they love — playing with old iron.
“It’s about my family,” said Corky Coker, president of The Coker Group. “My daughter Casey is on it; she does the administrative stuff at Honest Charley. My son-in-law Greg is my sidekick on the show and my dad, who was the national president of the AACA back in 1972, is on the show. He is a car collector extraordinaire — brass cars more than anything — but the fun part is, this is real life. My dad will see me pull in a low-mile Trans Am with original paint and he will say, ‘What did you buy that old used car for?’”
Coker said this isn’t like some reality TV shows where family drama is the attraction. On this show, the subject is cars and how the family that hunts cars together stays together.
“We are not yelling at each other or anything like that — it’s all in good fun.”
“Backroad Gold” is also about more than the Coker family. It’s about other families of hobbyists that have preserved the cars that Coker hunts.
“The most fun part is that I get to tell the real stories of America. They aren’t in the big cities of Milwaukee, New York City or Atlanta. They are on the backroads of America where people live life like it should be,” Coker said.
“I like to tell the stories of why this old car was put in this old barn years ago,” Coker added.
“In one of the episodes, I find a 1934 Pierce V-12 sedan owned by twin 78-year-old brothers. This car was in a dairy barn for 40-some years. I had to put tires on it in the barn. To hear those old brothers tell the story and how they drove it while they were in their teens, it’s just precious. They entrusted me to let that car come outside and breathe again.”
Each 30-minute show will feature Coker tracking one to three vehicles plus the restoration of a vehicle in Honest Charley’s Garage, one of The Coker Group’s businesses. The funds for each purchase come out of Coker’s own wallet, and he plans to show the dollar figures for each car he buys — or walks away from. Most of the vehicles he buys will land in his personal collection, which can be toured in Chattanooga, Tenn., free of charge. A few of the finds will be offered for sale once Coker’s urge for the hunt has been satisfied.
Coker shared a few other finds slated to appear on “Backroad Gold,” including a triple-black Pontiac GTO, a 1934 Packard coupe roadster and a bus that Coker found, then realized he had ridden in as a Cub Scout. He said there’s also a 1947 Chrysler Town and Country with family ties featured in the season finale, but he said viewers will have to watch the episode to catch the hook.
In addition to telling the stories of old cars and the people who collect them, Coker said there was another big reason he decided to take part in the show:
“I do have a real top secret to share with the readers of Old Cars Weekly: I am doing it so I get all these leads before everyone else,” Coker joked, although only half in jest. Years before the cameras began rolling, Coker and his family were already hunting down old cars and trucks, but the show may open new opportunities for them to bring cars to the hobby.
“When the TV show hits the screens, there will be folks who don’t normally run in our circles that will be seeing it and thinking, ‘Hey, this guy is doing this for fun. Doesn’t uncle Fred have an old something something in the tobacco shed? Let’s call him and see.’”
Wednesdays on the Travel Channel
Begins Feb. 5 at 9:30 p.m. ET