World’s Fastest Wrecker

In August 1979, two-time National Stockcar Champion Eddie Martin drove a 1979 Chevrolet equipped with a Holmes 440 wrecker around the Alabama International Speedway (Talladega) at speeds in excess of 130 mph. Official NASCAR electronic equipment recorded an average lap
time 109.330 mph, and the unit entered the record books as “The World’s Fastest Wrecker.” The proud Holmes 440 toured automotive events for several years before going on display at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. After a number of years, it was moved outside to make room for new displays where several decades of neglect took its toll.

In 2006, after months of negotiations, Miller Industries purchased the unit to return it to its home in Chattanooga. Twin Cities Wrecker Sales, Miller Industries distributor in Minnesota who had expertise in old car restoration work, took on the task to restore the unit to its original character in time for Holmes 90th anniversary and be placed on display in the International Towing and Recovery Museum and Hall of Fame in Chattanooga.

Randy Olson, vice president for Miller Industries, said, “We feel the Holmes 440 has been a crucial piece of towing history as one of the most popular wreckers ever manufactured. Due to the racing history of the particular 440, it is essential that it is preserved for future generations of towers and auto enthusiasts to view.”

Randy Olson and Sarah-Beth Camp of Miller Industries signed over the title and handed the keys to museum executive director Cheryl Mish.

“We appreciate all of Miller Industries generous support of the museum in helping us preserve the industries history and graciously accept the Holmes 440 for our collection as we prepare for the industry’s 100 Years of Towing celebration in 2016,” Mish said.

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Photo caption: Cheryl Mish, Randy Olson, Sarah-Beth Camp