DECATUR — The good news: The Krekel's chicken cars haven't flown the coop.
A marketing marvel for the iconic hamburger stands, the two cars affixed with chicken head and tail, are getting repairs after being moved several months ago from their roosts at 2320 E. Main St. in Decatur and 1340 Illinois 121 in Mount Zion.
Todd Teel, the manager of the Mount Zion Krekel's, said the vehicles hopefully will be back by spring.
One car is with a mechanic for fixes, and the other is in a warehouse with a flat tire, Teel said. After years of sitting outside in the weather, they needed some attention.
MACON — Ever since he was a teenager, Brian Ray knew that he wanted to own and operate his own Krekel’s.
“They need a lot of TLC,” Teel said.
The car with the mechanic will go to a body shop for a new paint job after it is repaired as well, Teel said.
The cars were the brainchild of Teel's grandfather, Bill Krekel, who opened his first Krekel's restaurant in 1953. In the 1980s, he bought four Cadillacs that were painted red, white and blue, with a fiberglass rooster head, mouth agape, and tail behind. The flock is down to two now.
Krekel was known to loan the cars for parades and weddings. His 2003 funeral procession naturally featured the chicken Cadillacs.
Another grandson, Troy Teel, told the Herald & Review in 2014 that the original goal was to drive the cars around town and make people think of eating at Krekel’s: "And it worked."
“Everybody smiles when they see those cars,” Troy Teel said at the time. “And really, I think that is what Bill Krekel enjoyed most about them.”