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.