The fun continued Wednesday on the Shades of the Past Road Tour. It was about an hour drive north from Pigeon Forge to Knoxville and the new facilities of Lokar. Owners Debbie and Skip Walls and the folks at Lokar have a very special bond with the Road Tour program. Lokar is the only company that has had their products on every Road Tour car since the beginning, way back in 1996. Skip was the first person to travel with me in the Road Tour coupe back in 1996 and Debbie has owned the blue original Road Tour Coupe for almost 20 years.
Debbie greeted us at the entrance to the new facility and Skip and their son Jeffery were waiting as we pulled into the parking area. Skip’s daughter Wanda McClure and her office team had box lunches waiting for all of us when we arrived. We ate in the research and development area and got to see the race cars that Skip and Jeffery pilot at major drag races around the country. Brian Downard, vice president of sales gave us a tour of the manufacturing facility where we also met production manager Kevin Ford, Debbie’s son.
The state of the art facilities at Lokar were very impressive. We gathered in the main showroom and got a look at the “Blue Skunk,” as Debbie has named the original Road Tour Coupe. We all gathered for a group picture in front of the building. It was a great visit at Lokar and it is plain and simple to see why they have been successful in our hobby for so many years. They are a family company who cares about their American-made products, their employees, and they are passionate about what they do each and every day.
Many of us stopped at the Floyd Garrett Muscle Car Museum in Sevierville on our way back from Lokar. This collection of muscle cars has been on display for a number of years. It contains a wide range of factory performance vehicles form the late ’50s up to today. It is definitely worth a visit if you are in the Pigeon Forge area.
Wednesday evening we had been invited to the home of Bob and Sandy Millard in nearby Seymour, Tennessee. Bob is the general manager of the International Show Car Association, ISCA, and is responsible for all activities at their indoor car shows around the country and even in Canada. They were ready when we arrived at their beautiful home and the food was delicious. Everyone enjoyed their collection of automobilia and the relaxing evening we spent at their home. The Road Tourians wanted to thank Bob and Sandy and we took up a collection of $530 and it will be donated to the Sevierville Humane Society in Bob and Sandy’s name. It was a wonderful evening at the home of real car folks and good friends.
There is just one more day before the start of the Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup. We have just enough time to take a beautiful drive over the Smoky Mountains and visit one of the best motorcycle museums in the country. Stay tuned, we are not done yet.