I had not seen a house or a curve in the two-lanes for miles, then I saw the rusty old Fords and Chevys on the roadside getting closer and closer. A man was outside hammering nails to a vintage garage. I had an old Rolleiflex on me and he had time. Talking to Neil about his trucks began as a history lesson on the southern states. Every truck he builds is finished with a Confederate Flag flying proudly as he soars down the backroads of Tennessee. His flags displayed are not that of battle, but those representing the state and the history of the area he was born and raised in.
While he does occasionally receive offers on his trucks, he does not sell them. He builds them to drive.
“I just like to drive. I drive an antique every day,” Neil says. “I don’t have a television. I just like to build and get these old trucks back on the road.”
“This truck is a 1954 Chevy. It has a lot of local history,” he explains. “This has been to all the race tracks. It used to haul race cars back in the 50s and 60s. It was owned by Randall Davis of Davis Racing. People may not know of him unless they were from around here. It’s been on all the little race tracks in the southeast, all the dirt tracks. This was before all the corporate NASCAR racing took over. I am going to get it back on the road. I mean, it won’t be a Jay Leno type of car, but it will drive.”
“I use piston rods as taillight and mirror holders. That is my signature for all my vehicles I build,” he says. “I make my trucks to drive. I don’t sell them. I would starve to death after all the parts and labor that goes in these. This is what we do down here. We build them and we drive them. Some people build these to be works of art, but I just like to drive them.”