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Muscle car memories

Doyle Broome fulfills search to replace a treasure from his youth
By Glen Liford, Editor 3/22/2019


Doyle Broome owned a similar Chevelle to this one when he returned home from Vietnam.
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Ihave known Doyle Broome since 1990, but I never knew he was a “car guy” until he posted a picture of his 1970 Chevelle SS on Facebook last fall.

Although he retired in 2011, Doyle is well known in the Co-op family enjoying a 41-year career. He began in the tire shop at Blount Farmers Cooperative — now a part of AgCentral Farmers Co-op — in 1970. He went on to manage Sevier, Blount, Monroe, and White County Farmers Co-ops in Tennessee, and North Arkansas Farmers Co-op in Batesville, Ark., and also served as Tennessee Farmers Cooperative director of training and Feed Department manager before retiring in 2011. His last Co-op assignment was manager of Monroe Farmers which became Foothills Farmers Co-op.

Doyle returned home to Blount County in the summer of 1970 after 19 months of service in the U.S. Army — 14 of which he spent in Vietnam as a helicopter mechanic. After returning home, he purchased a new 1970 Chevelle SS. The muscle car was one of the hottest cars on the road. And Doyle got his equipped the way most enthusiasts would want if they could go back and order one today. It was silver with black stripes and interior with the coveted LS6 engine — a 454-cubic-inch big block boasting 450 horsepower — and a four-speed transmission. The car served as his daily driver as he began slipping back into civilian life, working at the Co-op and studying accounting at the University of Tennessee.

“I remember when I filled out the application at the Co-op, the form asked for my hobbies,” recalls Doyle, who was hired by Co-op Manager Charlie Atkins. “I wrote ‘cars and women.’”

He married wife Jeanie on July 3, 1971, and the couple is still together 47 years later. The Chevelle only lasted a few more years before it was traded for a more practical car. And while there have been numerous vehicles since those early days, the muscle car left an impression, and Doyle had always wanted another.

He purchased the replacement Chevelle after finding it for sale on Facebook. He and Jeanie drove up to Jackson, Ky., to look it over. From 20 feet, the car looked almost as good as it does today, he says. But he knew the car would benefit from a careful restoration.

Like his first one, this Chevelle is also a true Super Sport car and came equipped with the 454 engine Doyle wanted though it has slightly less horsepower. The seller had purchased the Chevy from the original owner’s family. The original owner had raced the machine and those hard miles, taken a quarter of a mile at a time, had taken their toll on the classic car. The new owner repaired and replaced many of the machine’s ailing parts. It had a decent paint job, though some body panels needed repair, and featured solid floor pans and the engine was tweaked to yield comparable horsepower to the original engine.

“I was debating whether to buy it or not,” says Doyle. “Jeanie finally looked at me and said, ‘You should buy it. You’re not going to take your money with you.’ She had never really put it that way before, and I knew she was right.”

Doyle completed much of the work on the car himself, though Jeanie’s cousin, Mike Tarwater, did the paint and body work. Doyle says the throaty rumble of the car’s heavily cammed engine is music to his ears, and it gets plenty of attention at local cruise-ins and shows.

“Most of the SS cars you see are red, black, or silver with usually a black interior,” says Doyle. “The fathom blue [paint] on this one, along with the pearl [white] interior, really makes it stand out. It’s grown on me.”

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