Lebanon home to silverscreen cars

Angie Mayes • Updated Jun 30, 2016 at 11:00 AM

In an off-the-beaten path place just outside of Lebanon resides a car-lover’s dream. 

It’s where Ragtop Picture Cars can be found, and owner David Tinsley supplies antique and modern cars for everything from television commercials and photo shoots, to music videos and television shows.

He has cars used in Billy Ray Cyrus’ show, “Still the King.” He has the black Cadillac that Carrie Underwood used in the video for her song, “Two Black Cadillacs.” He owns the 1965 Mustang that Avery drove in the TV show, “Nashville.”

He also has the car that was in the movie, “Deadline,” a car in the movie, “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief,” cars that were in the James Brown movie, “Get on Up,” cars that were in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” cars in “Water for Elephants” and more, he said. 

Most of the car shoots are in Tennessee, but he does send cars to places outside of Tennessee.

He’s even been a driver in the cars, but said he’s not nervous about letting other people drive his cars. He admits he’s had to teach some people how to drive a stick shift.

The rarest car he owns is a 1960 Buick LeSabre. 

“It’s not that that car was particularly rare, but the car I have there were only 12 built, and there’s only two left,” he said.

Tinsley has more than 75 cars of different styles on his property. He also built an office in an old “gas station,” with old pumps outside and memorabilia on the inside and signs on the outside. It takes visitors back to the good old days of full-service stations.

“I provide cars for the film and entertainment industry, magazine shoots, CD covers, anything they need a car for,” he said. “I got involved in the picture industry in 1999. A gentleman approached me when I was riding around in my GTO and he asked me if I wanted to use it in a country music video. It turned out it was Brooks and Dunn. That was my first video. Then I got bit by the bug.”

Since then, he’s provided cars for more than 2,000 videos, 30 movies, many TV commercials and photo shoots. 

“We’ve worked with just about everybody in the country music industry. I never would have dreamed it,” he said of his career now. “It’s a dream come true. It’s a good business with a bunch of good people. I enjoy working in it and showing my cars off.”

At one time, Tinsley’s full-time job was to restore classic cars and collision work. Now, he concentrates in supplying the cars he has acquired.

“The business is so booming, I don’t have time to do [restoration and repair work] anymore,” he said. 

Not all of the vehicles are in tip-top shape, but that’s what makes him so popular with the video and TV industry.

He has a partially restored 1965 F100 pickup on his lot, as well as different antique cars from the 1930s to the 1970s. He also has some cars from recent years, as well.

There are insurance companies for antique cars and, he said, the production companies also have insurance for the cars in case something happens to them during filming.

He’s not only provided cars for thousands of productions, but he’s also allowed his office area to be part of a video shoot. In fact, the Florida-Georgia Line hit, “Cruise,” was filmed on his property. The gas station can be seen behind them in the video.

Tinsley’s business card says he rents cars for motion pictures, videos, TV commercials, displays, weddings, proms, parades and photo shoots. 

For more information, visit ragtoppicturecars.com or email him at [email protected] 


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