The Coker Group Has New Owners

Posted on November 15, 2018

The Coker family has sold the Coker Group to the company's CEO and President, Wade Kawasaki, along with members of the company's leadership team and Irving Place Capital.

Wade Kawasaki, CEO, president and now an owner of the Coker Group, also is the current chairman of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) board of directors.
Wade Kawasaki, CEO, president and now an owner of the Coker Group, also is the current chairman of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) board of directors.
The Coker Group consists of the Coker Tire, Wheel Vintiques, Universal Vintage Tire, Phoenix Race Tires, Specialty Wheel and Roadster Wire Wheel brands.

Kawasaki will remain at the helm of the company. He's served as Group president and chief operating officer for the past five years.

“I would like to thank Corky Coker for his decades of leadership at Coker Tire and for the confidence and trust he has placed in me as I have led the company and positioned it for the next chapter,” says Kawasaki. “We intend to accelerate growth with our partners at Irving Place Capital as we expand into newer models and markets while continuing to serve the traditional restoration market that has been our home for six decades. Coker Group will continue to provide our customers with the same best-in-class products, great customer service that they know to expect and we look forward to creating more jobs, offering more products and continuing the Coker Group legacy together.”

In a press release, the company said the sale comes "after five years of continuous growth for the Coker Group under Wade." The company's leadership team and staff will remain unchanged.

Corky Coker, an icon in the aftermarket, will retain ownership of Honest Charley Speed Shop, and Chestnut Properties, his property management company, which he will continue to manage with his children.

Corky’s father, Harold Coker, founded Coker Tire in 1958 as a local tire store, which grew over the years. When Corky took the reins he began aggressively expanding the product line to support the booming restoration market. The company grew its offerings to include the hot rod, muscle car, motorcycle, motorsports and import markets.

Coker Tire Co. has been the source of collector vehicle and motorcycle tires since 1958.
Coker Tire Co. has been the source of collector vehicle and motorcycle tires since 1958.
“After my retirement in 2014, the Coker Group flourished under the leadership of Wade and his team,” Corky said. “Coker Group has been and will continue to be committed to our core vintage customer and I have full confidence that this next step will be terrific for the company and the employees. The collector car market is evolving, and with the current surge in interest in 1970s, 1980s and even 90s vehicles, no one is better suited to expand the company strategically than Wade, who has always had a deep appreciation for these vehicles.”

Irving Place Capital is an investor in the consumer, industrial and packaging sectors, including the high-performance vehicle aftermarket through its ownership of Dynojet Research.

“We are excited to work with Wade and the Coker Group. This partnership positions the company for long-term growth both domestically and internationally,” says Phil Carpenter, co-managing partner of Irving Place Capital. “The Coker family built a brand and a portfolio of companies that are beloved by enthusiasts around the world. By partnering with Wade and his team we will together advance that legacy well into the future.”

For more information on Coker Tire, visit

Related Topics: Coker Tire, Corky Coker, mergers and acquisitions, Wade Kawasaki

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