Hoopteez giving vintage bikes and cars a new spin
Published 9:04 am Monday, November 16, 2015
If you’re driving down G Street in Elizabethton and look over at Hoopteez Kustoms’ parking lot, you just might have an urge to start listening to Beatles’ tunes or humming the theme from The Brady Bunch.
From the front window to the curb, the new car and bicycle renovation shop features all sorts of funky finds from years past — from banana seat bikes to a completely retro Volkswagen bus that has been restored.
Owner Scott Prinz began restoration and detailing work over 15 years ago in the hills of Butler. But now that he has expanded to 2234 W. G St., the shop’s location along the Tweetsie Trail has steered him into the world of bicycle restoration.
“I’ve been especially interested in getting older bikes, like ‘40s and ‘50s models that people are wanting to ride on the Tweetsie,” said Prinz. “There’s a whole generation that’s into cool collectibles.”
Prinz believes that every bike has a story.
He purchased one bike from the original owner, who incidentally had the receipts showing an original price of $71, though he said he has seen some refurbished that go for $3,000 – $4,000.
“I’ve always been a collector of vintage bikes, and after selling two that I had on display out front, I’ve turned my focus more to that,” said Prinz.
As a kid, he said he worked all summer to get a five-speed stick shift model Schwinn Krate for $80.
“I’m in my 50s now, but my childhood’s come back by doing this,” he said.
His collection includes this very model, as well as a number of vintage bikes. He said the bikes are hard to find, but that he is not the only one in town collecting them. One man, nicknamed “10-speed Tony,” frequents the shop looking for racing and touring hybrid models.
“It seems like there is a big demand for these styles of muscle era bikes, and we want to help make them cool,” said Prinz.
Some unique features that visitors might see at Hoopteez are banana seats, cantilever frames, ape hanger handlebars and shifters mounted on the bike frame. One of his bikes used to have a pedal-powered generator that turned on the headlight.
The business’ refurbishing work includes paint jobs, engine work, bodywork and $25 bicycle tune-ups. He buys, sells and trades vehicles also.
He specializes in Volkswagens, which he said are increasing in popularity, along with vintage bikes.
“The town seems to need something different,” he said.
He mentioned a 1964 AMC Rambler that sat in a shed since 1973 and which he now has running with the original paint job.
“Bikes and cars used to be built better, so people can get a better product when they get a restored bicycle or vehicle and get 50 more years out of it,” said Prinz. “They’re investing in quality.”
Prinz’s wife, Marian, said the idea for the name Hoopteez came from her brother Michael Yuschalk, who remembered a style of car called “hoopties.” While the word can have a variety of connotations, it essentially means an old car in need of custom work or that has recently been restored and made cool. It’s an accurate description of their style of restoration — leaving or restoring the original paint and characteristic features and getting the vehicle or bike into its best operational condition.
“We’re getting a lot of business because of what we have here,” said Prinz. “A lot of people come just to check out our stuff.”
The shop is appropriately located a 1957 Gulf Service Station, and they are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday. They also provide free air for bicyclists. For more information on their products or services, call 423-957-9220 or visit their website at www.hoopteezkustoms.com.