Jimmy G’s Toy Box is a toy box, but for an 80-something retiree with a passion and hobby for old cars. Upon pulling into the Toy Box, the smell of clean rubber greets your nostrils and old gas pumps greet your vision.
However, once you step inside, the outside world no longer exists, and you are transported to the man cave of all man caves.
Neon signs adorn the two story warehouse complete with a bar, televisions, more old gas pumps, and a playlist so good that with every song change someone inside remarked, “man, this is a good song.”
Jimmy Harrell casually entered the facility wearing shorts and a fishing top. If you did not know his hobby or collection existed and saw him on the street, you would think he is going out on the bay.
Harrell grew up in Mobile, Ala. about one and half hours away from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach depending on traffic and relocated to Chickasaw once he joined the military, namely, the marines for five years.
After his tenure was over, Harrell jumped into making a name for himself in the machinery world with a small three employee company turned 235 employee company in 43 years.
However, three years ago Harrell retired from the company but was not done living yet. Better yet, the start of living was not complete.
“I sold three condos and one house down here and built a single house on the island soon after. Then, three years ago, I bought my first car, a 1934 Ford Coupe. Then I bought my second car, a 2013 60th anniversary white Corvette. A short time later, I had my third car, a 1963 Savoy muscle car. My collection started out small, but I wanted more. A warehouse would allow me to do that, so I partnered with Metron Garage and Loper Construction out of Bowling Green who put the garage together. My touches are in the garage. I knew I wanted neon lights up high so I had them add outlets close to the ceiling, and I had to have old gas pumps for decor. I sought some out online, and the rest is history.”
Soon after building the garage, the collection grew rapidly. “I bought a 1938 custom Ford car that was used as a Detroit Eight car–a worldwide car competition–and won runner up. Then I acquired a 2019 Ferrari, a 2019 Jeep that was a custom build in Fort Lauderdale, a 2018 Lexus LC 500, a 1953 F100 rust-colored Mustang, and a Dodge Hellcat in May 2022. I also have plans to buy more at the end of this year, and a sister car to the 60th anniversary Corvette–a 70th anniversary Corvette.”
Even though the garage is decked out in all things shiny, detailed, old, and new, Jimmy G’s Toy Box is not just for his use. In fact, when we found out about Jimmy, his garage was being used by nearby Orange Beach High School for a carwash fundraiser.
“This project for me is a true labor of love, but I also get to share the benefits.”
After all, his grandson works for him as well as only one out of nine ceramic coating certified appliers in the United States.
Looking ahead, Harrell hopes to one day start leasing out the garage for small gatherings, parties, formals, promotion events, and more.