The Seattle repair-shop owner is one of the newest members of the Washington State Hot Rod Hall of Fame.
Jerry Barkley’s mechanical skills and talent earned him his first car at the age of 16.
Now, the Seattle repair-shop owner is one of the newest members of the Washington State Hot Rod Hall of Fame.
That first car was a classic 1937 Ford “slantback” two-door owned by his older brother. But it needed a lot of work, Barkley says.
“I was blessed at being mechanical, and my brother gave it to me to work on,” Barkley says. “He knew how much I loved that car. So he eventually just gave it to me.”
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Barkley’s teenage obsession with cars led to a career in the automotive trade. He’s the owner of Crown Hill Automotive in Ballard.
Last month, Barkley received the Hall of Fame recognition for his automotive passion and community support. Established in 1986, the organization honors car enthusiasts who help local charities.
Barkley says he was inspired early on by Bob Lechner, a Ballard attorney, Boy Scouts leader and automotive enthusiast who believed in giving back to his community.
Barkley is president of the Greenwood Knights, which hosts the Greenwood Car Show, Seattle’s biggest auto show. Since 2009, the show has raised more than $100,000 for local nonprofits and automotive-related scholarships.
In addition, Barkley is active in the Walter P. Chrysler Club and Seattle Rod-Tiques. He also provides mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities for the Lake Washington Institute of Technology.
Barkley says he was surprised and deeply honored by his induction into the Hall of Fame.
“I never thought that when I was 12 years old, putting my big brother’s gas engine together and hearing it run for the first time, that I’d carry that passion through all these years,” he says.
Barkley says his early days were all about cars. “When I was in high school, I worked in a hot-rod shop in the mornings before school,” he says. “And then I worked in a restaurant at night to pay for my car habit.”
It took Barkley several decades to restore the ’37 Ford. “I tore it apart in the ’70s and then I had kids and everything else,” he says. “Luckily, I hung onto it. It took me 30-some years, but I finally pulled the green together and finished the job.”
Today, Barkley’s brawny muscle-car collection includes a 1966 Dodge Dart convertible, a ’68 Dart convertible and a ’73 Plymouth Barracuda.