Bigger In Texas: Cook’s Garage Is West Texas’ Coolest Car Venue

Y’all surely heard that old saying “Things are bigger in Texas”? Well, it’s true. Although Cook’s Garage isn’t well known or famous, just yet, but it soon will be. Big is a relative word, and Cook’s Garage is big in many ways – first of all, it’s a great big venue for a car show.


The first-annual West Texas Round-up for traditional cars held on March 25 and 26 in Lubbock, Texas. Notice the oil signs in the parking area. This makes it a lot easier to remember where you parked.

Big means there were over 100 striped parking spaces amongst all the old oil company signs atop hand-built poles in the parking lot. Approximately 80 signs of all varieties of oil company (and former oil companies), reign over the lot and are spaced evenly between the striped spaces. Best of all, they’ve been saved from certain destruction by Rusty Cook, proprietor of Cook’s Garage.

Inside Cook's Garage...the variety of old neon signs and porcelain signs is amazing.

If that doesn’t qualify as big, then the rest of the parking lot of Cook’s Garage will, as plans are to pave the remaining area to the east. That will add several hundred more parking spaces, just in time for their First Annual as-yet-to-be-named open rod run/show to be held in September. The oil company signs are unique, but even better are the collectible neon signs and other porcelain signs inside the restaurant and bar.

This isn’t just any restaurant/bar, this one is quite unique inasmuch as the stage for live bands is situated in a corner of the restaurant, away from the bar, and the tables can be moved to make up a huge dance floor. Décor ranges from mounted tractor seats at one of the corner bars to an ancient circular oil tank into a bar top.

Several old gas pumps are situated through out the rooms, and well-worn wood salvaged from pallets, make up the walls. Hanging on those walls are old car grilles, fenders, and vehicle signs in various spots. Empty fifty-five gallon barrels make up bar tables with steel stools.

The Bishop-a '56 Ford Victoria, owned by Rusty Cook, proprietor of Cook's Garage, enjoys a prominent place inside the restaurant/bar.

The Bishop (named after the former owner) is a ’56 Ford Victoria, owned by Rusty Cook, proprietor of Cook’s Garage, and enjoys a prominent place inside the restaurant/bar.

Occupying prominent spots inside the restaurant/ bar are Rusty’s 1956 Ford Victoria named The Bishop (after its former owner), and his wrapped 2015 Corvette that has been featured in a couple of magazines.

Attached to the buildings is the Rev Limit Customs Shop which Rusty’s nephew, Trevor, owns and operates. After a shop tour to view some in-progress cars with Rusty and Trevor, we asked Rusty why he decided on having a traditional (up to 1963) car event at his garage.


Talk about a flat bed… a Dodge truck being outfitted with an oversized bed. Of course, everything is bigger in Texas and this one is powered by a large Diesel.

Rusty told us it was Trevor’s idea since he’s been into cars since he was small. Trevor wanted to do something similar to the long-established Lone Star Roundup in Austin, Texas. To point out how well the event was received, a few cars that he’s never seen before came from as far away as Lubbock.

Rusty added he wasn’t originally into hot rods or traditional customs, and was skeptical that enough cars or people would show up to pull off the event. But, after the event went so well, he was pleasantly surprised and “sure learned a lot about ‘traditional cars’!”

Left: Rev Limit Customs rod shop has a few projects in the works. Right: a shot of some of the many signs that surround the parking lot.

The event itself seemed to go off without a hitch, but if there was one, neither Trevor or Rusty let on there was any kind of problem. The Friday night kick-off party started with a live band at 5:00 pm, and continued until 9:00 pm. About 50 or 60 cars showed up for that, most coming from the Lubbock area.

Saturday morning at 8:00 am, the gates opened and the lot filled quickly. Cars came from as far away as Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, and of course Texas. Regional cities like Dallas and Amarillo showed everyone they had cool cars, too. Trevor was surprised with the variety of cars that showed up for the first annual happening.

A couple of the winners: Dave and Chrissey Pareso show off their Fountain, Colorado, '51 Merc and the "Best Chopped" award. Right: Floyd and Becki Dutton picked up the "People's Choice" award for their Oklahoma-based '58 Edsel wagon.

Several vendors brought their product in and surrounded the event with canopies and vehicles. A couple of vendors served food, and the restaurant served lunch as well, there was no waiting in line for something to eat like happens at other events.


The hand-made awards displayed on the table inside the restaurant.

Awards (Best ’30s, Best ’40s, Best ’50s, Best ’60s, Best ’32, Best Chop, Best Paint, Best Suspension, Best Truck, Young Gun’s, Long Distance, the “Gas Holes Club” pick, and People’s Choice, along with cash awards) were handed out on Sunday morning, allowing time for those long distance travelers to get home by Sunday night. 146 cars were registered for the first-time event, and the spectator count was high.

Currently, the Cook’s Garage restaurant/bar is open Tuesday through Friday, and is available for private events. Simply call Rusty at Cook’s Garage to make arrangements.

The Gas Holes Club pick-hiding behind the member's is the author's 1955 Cadillac driven down from Aurora, Colorado, recipient of their award!

The Gas Holes Club-hiding behind the members is the author’s 1955 Cadillac, driven down from Aurora, Colorado, recipient of their pick!

Of course, no trip to Lubbock, would be complete without visiting the Buddy Holly museum in downtown Lubbock. Holly was born and raised there, and the museum is set up similar to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Next door to the museum is the restored home of Holly’s drummer, and the very house the group used for practice way back in 1956-1958. Sadly, Holly’s music career ended in an Iowa cornfield when the airplane crashed that was transporting him to his next concert.

The Buddy Holly museum is located in the city's old railroad station on Buddy Holly Street. The statue of Holly is larger than life sized.

Trevor and Rusty are planning to hold the event (traditional cars, up to 1963), again next March, except it’s reported they’ll move it to the weekend previous to the Lone Star Round-up – that way, those traveling to Austin can catch a rod run on the way to Southern Texas.

About the author

Roger Jetter

Roger’s interests in cars started at 14 with a ’40 Ford pick-up until he bought his first ’57 Chevy at age 16. That car is featured in the first two books he’s written about the 1960’s and growing up in the Midwest. He’s authored several more books as well and has built several cars over the years that have received major coverage in magazines and won plenty of awards. His current build is a 1948 Cadillac Sedanet, although his current 'driver' is a '55 Cadillac Coupe DeVille.
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