IRVINE, CA Joseph “Corky” Coker, president of Coker Tire Co., and former chairman of Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), has been awarded the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) 2006 Street Rodding Achievement Award.
The annual NSRA award, presented at the HRIA banquet at the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas, each year recognizes and honors a business, company or individual in recognition of their outstanding support of the street rod industry.
“I’m extremely pleased to have been chosen for this honor,” said Coker as he accepted the distinctive NSRA award trophy. “I’d like to thank all of the people within the industry as well as the collectors, professional restorers, and especially the end-user enthusiasts who appreciate and use our specially developed street rod products. We are determined to help keep more of these marvelous cars on the road and properly maintained so they can be handed down to a new generation of street rod enthusiasts.”
In 2005 Coker received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Hot Rod Association for his unrelenting commitment and dedication to the preservation and expansion of the sport of Hotrodding. He was also recognized as the Automotive Restoration Market Organization’s (ARMO) “Person of the Year” for his achievements in the restoration industry. In 1997 Coker was elected to serve on the SEMA Board of Directors and was elected chairman of the board in 2003, making him the trade organization’s first chairman to come from the Restoration/Street Rod segment of the automotive aftermarket.
As an avid supporter of the hobby of collector vehicles, including a personal collection of more than 70 hot rods, classic cars and vintage American motorcycles, Coker regularly participates in car shows, cruises, rallies and swap meets. He was quick to recognize collectors’ growing demands for “hard to find” tires that were no longer commercially available. In the early 1970s he began to develop an astounding array of specialty tires for antique vehicles from the 1890s to muscle cars of the 1970’s. In less than three decades, Coker turned a small division of his father’s Chattanooga, TN, BFGoodrich dealership into what is today the world’s leading supplier of vintage and specialty tires.
“Corky’s dynamic personality and leadership qualities have been and will continue to be felt within and beyond the street rod industry,” said the NSRA’s Jerry Kennedy, who presented the trophy at the banquet. “The National Street Rod association is pleased to honor the man that has made a major commitment to ensure that our vehicles of choice can ride on the tires that give them the ‘right’ look and performance they deserve.”