We all have specialized interests. Tom McIntyre started out making emblems for specialty cars, and his business success has allowed him the luxury of collecting some very special cars. At a recent unveiling of a "barn-find" Bonneville roadster that hadn't seen the light of day in 50 years, we were more interested in the rest of Tom's eclectic congregation of musclecars and race cars. The centerpiece of the collection and the most easily recognizable is the Penske-Donohue Trans-Am '68 Camaro, which Tom regularly wheels at vintage road-racing events and with the Historic Trans-Am Group. But Tom's tastes are far more diverse than just Trans-Am cars, as this quick tour of this guy's garage will reveal.
A. This lineup with an all-wheel-drive Porsche, a '51 VW, and a Mercedes sedan point to Tom's broad automotive tastes.
B. With its nose just visible in the corner, this Dan Gurney-edition XR7-G Cougar is more than a little rare. The car sports a 302 with 180,000 on the clock. Tom's business supplied the specialty emblems for these Mercurys.
C. Way in the back is another of Tom's barn finds, the Weiss & Larkin Top Fuel front-engined dragster he found in Santa Rosa, California, in the early '90s. Other than a quick cleanup, this is exactly the way Tom bought it several years ago complete with its characteristic Bill Carter paint job. The car looks like it's ready for a little fuel and a push start.
D. Next to the streamliner is a replica of one of the early Thunderbirds built by Ford to run on the beach at Daytona. These cars were called Battle Birds, and one of Bill Stroppe's employees at the Long Beach, California, facility built his own version of one of those cars. The T-bird includes the classic tonneau cover over the open cockpit along with the characteristic fiberglass fin behind the driver's seat that was a popular trick back in the '50s. The car is powered by a single four-barrel, 292ci Y-block Ford.
E. This is one of the six original '63 ZO6 Corvettes built in late 1962 to compete at a special NASCAR sports-car race at Daytona in 1963. This Mickey Thompson-owned Vette was powered by one of the original Mystery 427 engines and driven by Junior Johnson, who also set the top speed of the event at 162 mph. Eventually, the car finished Third behind Paul Goldsmith's Pontiac and another Corvette driven by A.J. Foyt. Tom bought this car in 1979, and it will eventually join the Camaro on the vintage road-race circuit.
F. Behind the Vette is the yellow Tommy Thompson vintage streamliner that was powered by a succession of Olds motors that eventually ran 205 mph in 1959 with a 265ci Olds-supplied factory-experimental engine. It crashed in 1964, and Tom eventually purchased the car after it was rebuilt. Records indicate this streamliner ran Bonneville from 1953 to 1987.
G. The innocuous-looking '63 Ford is a 427 four-speed Galaxie. Tom says, "I've had it for over 20 years. It's just a great old car." We should all be so lucky.
H. With the number of tributes built now, the visual appeal of the original cars like Tom's '68 has been unfortunately devalued. But the reality is there are only a handful of real Penske Trans-Am Camaros, and this is one of the nicest.
I. The Cobra in the foreground is one of his favorites, a car in which Tom has personally logged well over 74,000 miles. It was purchased for competition at road-race events back in 1974.