2012 Highlights from my Dad’s Shop

My dad has done paint and body work for about 40 years, so he’s probably painted 10,000 cars in his career. From quickie jobs to full on restorations, he’s done it all, and continues to turn out great work on a regular basis. I thought I’d put together a post about his 2012 build highlights to show off some of his (and Wally Smith’s) handiwork. Check it out.

1959 El Camino

My dad’s longtime friend, Bill Sims is the owner of this ’59 El Camino. He’s owned it for many years, but my dad freshened it up this fall.


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Strawberry Festival Cruise In

Well, it’s that time of year again…time for the Strawberry Festival here in my hometown of Dayton, Tennessee. It’s an event that is a pretty big deal to Dayton residents, and the biggest days of the event are generally Friday night because of the Cruise In and Block Party, and Saturday because of the parade. For me, the Cruise In is the attraction, so I always try to support it by bringing at least one vehicle to it. This year, I upped the effort and ended up having a great time.

Strawberry Festival Cruise In, Dayton, TN

The crowds are always HUGE at the Strawberry Festival Cruise In, and this picture gives you a little taste of the action.


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The Grand…and the Corvette

Since I’ve been a baby, I’ve been attending the Grand Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. In fact, I attended it before I was born! We always made a family trip out of of the Grand Run, and I’ve started this tradition with my wife and I’m sure we’ll continue it when we have little ones. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I honestly don’t remember a lot of it, but we do have pictures and videos to refresh my memory. With a long history with the event, I still have a good time at the Grand because it never fails to bring back great memories. Certain cars that have been around since my early childhood are still in the same condition, and while they might be considered outdated, I still love ’em. One particular car that hadn’t seen the streets of Pigeon Forge since 1988 is my Corvette….for 2012, that needed to change.

Spring 2012 Grand Run

Town was absolutely packed on Friday and Saturday. Out of all my years of going to Pigeon Forge, this is the fullest I've ever seen it.

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What A Weekend!

Normally, you’d think that this blog would be about something I did this past weekend. Well, unfortunately, my weekends haven’t been terribly eventful lately, so it’s time to look back a few months and ramble about the 4th of July weekend this year. I had not started my blog yet, but the entire weekend is kinda what made me want to start it. We definitely squeezed every ounce out of a regular weekend, so I wanted to explain our steps so it could truly be appreciated…plus it gives me some good stuff to write about on these slow days. Here’s how it went down…

Tommy Lee Byrd Photography

The G8 with mountains in the background...I live in a great part of the country!

So, I’m sitting at my desk at work, trying to get a scheme going that would allow me to get some serious work done, while also providing a fun weekend for Christina and I. So, after lots of thought and planning on Friday, I decided we’d hop in the car that evening for a trip to Ellijay, Georgia. Sounds simple enough, right? First, we drive home from work (Chattanooga to Dayton, TN), which is backtracking but we had to go home to pack and get my camera gear ready for the weekend. This was truly a spontaneous weekend getaway. So we hop in the G8, and head down the road.

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The Henry J Saga–Part 1

People ask me all the time what my favorite car is…especially people who aren’t really in the car guy realm. When non car people talk to car people it seems like this is their go-to question to break the ice. It’s always hard for me to answer because I like a bunch of different cars for many different reasons. Corvettes are a strong contender, especially those built from 1963 to 1967, but one car that has always stood out as a favorite is the Henry J. Most people have never heard of Henry J, but I learned about them when I was just a kid.

Byrd Photo

My dad's Henry J gasser...Dr. Feelgood. I love this car.

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S-10 For The Win…

If you actually know me, then you know I drive an S-10. I’ve driven an S-10 since I got my Learner’s Permit at the age of 15. What can I say? The little trucks have been good to me. My first S-10 was a ’95 model with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder and five-speed transmission. My current S-10 is a ’95 model with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder and five-speed transmission…

Byrd Photo

My current S-10 basking in the glow of a Tennessee sunset.

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An Easy Fix

I love it when something ends up being much easier than I’d anticipated, but it doesn’t happen that often. It makes my day much better when something simply works, rather than my usual routine, which involves spending 5 hours to do a 30 minute job. Of course, I’m talking about car stuff, particularly mechanic work. I can handle paint and bodywork in a timely manner, but when it comes to something that should be simple, I generally struggle. Here are some great scenarios:

1. Parts store gives me the wrong part
2. I don’t have the appropriate hardware
3. My efforts don’t actually repair the problem on the first go-round…aka misdiagnosis.
4. Something magically happens during the repairs that causes another problem.
5. Multiple trips to the parts store

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