Jim Finley #400
Jim Finley was born in June of 1926; his license plate collection began in 1952 when
he came home from military service in Korea. His first find was in the garage of his late
uncle, plates his uncle had removed from his previous vehicles. Jim was a school teacher
and told his students about the hobby of collecting license plates and some of them began
bringing tags to class for him. They decided to have a "hobby day" giving everyone a
chance to become interested in something they liked.
In 1960 filming began for a movie called "Wild River" (the story of TVA), in a nearby
town on the Hiwassee River. Starring in the movie was Montgomery Clift, Jo Van Fleet
and Lee Remick. The production company contacted Jim to borrow his 1935 plates so
they could make copies to use on the vehicles in the film. Jim laughed when he saw the
film because they used the truck plates on cars and the car plates on the trucks. In 2002,
Wild River was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by
the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".
Jim found that other people collected license plates and became friends with Dr. Arthur
Moser, a professor at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Moser was ALPCA member
number 42 and introduced Jim to our club. Jim joined in 1962 as member number 400.
Jim is the founder of the oldest license plate meet in Tennessee, starting in 1989. Known
as the East Tennessee Auto Pl8s, the meet has been held for 23 consecutive years. Due
to his advancing years, Jim stepped down from organizing the meet in 2007. His wife
Ve has been instrumental in supporting him all these years in his hobby. To this day,
they still attend and contribute to this meet every year. Jim's unparalleled knowledge of
Tennessee license plates and history has been a great asset and he has graciously shared
his knowledge with others through the years.
Mr. Finley also compiled a small 52 page book "A Brief History of Tennessee License
Plates", written in 1998. At the International convention in Chattanooga, Jim won first
prize in the states category for his Tennessee types collection.
In 2009, when the East Tennessee Auto Pl8s celebrated its 20th show, he and his wife
donated hundreds of photographs and spent countless hours making a retrospective
display of the past 20 years of the ETAP meet. His many friends are universal in
describing his unselfishness inside the hobby and out. His inclusion in the Hall of Fame
is 85 years in the making and without a doubt; he has earned his place in the "Hall of
Champions." The Hall of Fame welcomes Mr. Jim Finley.
Last updated: Sunday, 01-Jul-2012 02:14:28 EDT