Tim Chambers, 58, mechanic with a sense of adventure

There were a lot of things Tim Chambers did that could best be filed under the category: “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” Al Hosley, a friend and former co-worker, said.

For instance, when they were kids, Mr. Chambers found some dynamite and blasting caps.

“I’ll just say he gained access to a shed along the railroad,” said his youngest brother, Sam Chambers, of Atlanta. “And he got one of dad’s old military backpacks and put the dynamite and caps in there, and took it home and stored it in the basement.”

That, Mr. Hosley, said, was a classic example of his friend's antics.

"I mean, when you’re 10, 11, 12 years old, you’re not always thinking about the smart thing to do,” he said. “Tim always kept it interesting.”

Two and a half months ago Tim Chambers was hurt on his job as service adviser for Rush Enterprises, a truck repair company. During a doctor’s visit, Mr. Chambers,  a cigarette smoker, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer. Despite the diagnosis, he never completely  stopped smoking. He tried nicotine patches, but that didn’t work for him.

“He knew he was dying of lung cancer, but he loved to smoke,” said his brother, Chris Chambers, who lives in Decatur. “Yeah, I know, it’s crazy, isn’t it?”

Timothy Trabue Chambers of Lilburn died Sunday at his home from complications of small-cell carcinoma. He was 58. A funeral has been planned for 10 a.m. Thursday in the chapel of Floral Hills Funeral Home, which also is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Chambers, born in New Jersey but raised in the Atlanta area, was a talented mechanic, friends and family members said. He could build or rebuild any motor that sat on wheels, they said. Before he was a teenager, he built and drove a small motorcycle, and hid the bike in the woods behind the house because his mother didn’t know about it, Sam Chambers said.

“Somehow she found out about it,” he said. “We knew she wouldn’t be happy.”

The motorcycle was confiscated but that wasn’t the last time Tim Chambers drove before he had a license. He fixed up an old Renault and steered it in circles around the backyard, his youngest brother said.

“His ability to fix cars was uncanny,” Sam Chambers said.

One of Tim Chambers’ prized possessions was his 1967 Pontiac Firebird 400, which he kept in top condition, his brothers said.

“He had it souped up so much he did a wheel stand once,” Chris Chambers said. “And you know that car wasn’t supposed to be able to do that.”

This happened at the Varsity after somebody questioned the worth of the Firebird during a gathering of hot rods on a Friday night, Mr. Chambers said.

“He backed it out of the spot, revved it up to about eight or nine thousand RPMs and slapped it down in first gear,” his brother recalled. “He walked the car forward about 12 feet, with the front end in the air, dropped it down and quietly drove off. That was Tim.”

Tim Chambers is also survived by a son, Timothy T. Chambers Jr. of Lilburn; a daughter, Crystal Cherie Chambers of Atlanta, and one grandson.