The Sparkles Skate Car Speeds Through Time

Picture this: You’re driving down the road in Hiram, GA and you notice an oddly shaped vehicle coming up in the lane next to you. The closer it gets, the more it looks like a shoe. No, wait, its a roller skate! That is the famous Sparkles skate car driven by the one and only Jeff Couey. Skate Car Img

The Sparkles skate car was purchased in 1975 out of Daytona, Florida. It was one of only nine built by a Mr. Strickland. Jeff’s father, Mr. Couey, made the trip down to the sunshine state to purchase the car as a unique way to advertise his skating rink. For a purchase price of only $8,000, Sparkles now had their very own skate car.

It is built on the chassis of a VW bus and runs off of a VW engine. The skate body is made of fiberglass. When Mr. Couey first bought the skate, it was actually a high top, as were the roller skates in the day. More recently, Jeff Couey had the top portion of the skate removed and turned it into a low top skate, to keep it up to date with modern skaters.

Jeff Couey  remembers growing up with that car, and getting to drive it around town showing off to his buddies. One story in particular stands out in his mind:

I was 17 driving around Mableton, GA where I grew up. Me and some friends would meet up in the parking lot of Hawthorn Plaza and hang out in the evenings. One night, we were out there messing around and I decided to show off just what my skate car could do. I was racing the engine and did a little ‘cat walk’ – where you pop the clutch and the front wheels raise off of the ground. Sure enough, a cop pulled me over right then and there. I got four tickets – excessive speed, reckless driving, lifting the wheels off of the ground, and one more. I remember the cop saying, “Jeff, your Daddy isn’t going to be pleased with this one.” He was right.

You can still find Jeff Couey driving around in that skate car and he loves it just as much as a 54 year old rink owner as he did as the 16 year old he was back in Mableton. Now, you can see the car in many parades and other shows in the Hiram and Kennesaw areas. It’s won numerous awards but when it isn’t out winning shows, it stays parked out in front of the Hiram, GA rink for all the passers-by to wonder, “Is that really a car? I wonder how fast it can go?”

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