Friday, August 20, 2010

WHAT'S IN MY GARAGE? Firebirds, Trans Ams and more

Pontiac heaven? No, just Tommy Simmons' garage.
Garage envy? Your fellow gear head has a cool collection of cars, tools and stacks of NOS parts safely tucked into your dream hot rod garage. Want to take a peek inside those giant, garage mahals and intriguing old barns but don't have the nerve to ask. We've got the scoop on real man caves - the garage.

Tommy Simmons, 48, of Pleasant Grove, Alabama has a garage, make that an airplane hangar, any gear head would crave. Lots of space, more than a handful of vintage cars and a built-in lift to work on his vehicles like a pro. Simmons got bit by the car bug early in life. "I have a picture somewhere of me in diapers at 3-years old sitting on the 283-cubic inch engine in my dads '55 Chevy with a wrench in my hand," Simmons says proudly.

Floor pans for a 1967 Firebird are sitting on top of Simmons' 1987 Pontiac Trans Am GTA.

Simmons has owned more than 30 muscle or pony cars from the golden years of Detroit. "I have never owned a foreign car and as you can see, I'm pretty Pontiac heavy. My first car was a 1967 GTO that once belonged to my granddad." Chevy fans get ready to groan. Simmons held on to all of his Pontiacs but parted with his 1957 Chevrolet 4-door. (left, rear of top photo) "I sold the '57 to buy my oldest something newer to drive."

Current cars in garage
1967 Firebird convertible - Project from Illinois, found it online on Performance Years site in 2001. "It has a 400-cubic inch engine with a 400 tranny." Simmons also has new trunk and floor pans to replace the rusty ones.
1987 Trans Am GTA - “The red GTA was bought around 2000. A shop had told the owner it needed an engine and a wiring harness. I tuned it and replaced the missing and blown fuses and it ran fine. All three of my kids and one son-in-law have used that car at one time or another and it shows."
1979 Trans Am - "The black '79 was a 301 powered, one-option car when I bought it in 1997. I have found and installed every option you can think of since then, including WS6 suspension, 400-cubic inch engine and a 4-speed. I don't know why but I just love that car."
1981 Trans Am Special Edition - It's the red car on right in back of top photo. "I bought it for parts but it was so straight and I had so many parts stored, I decided to build it. This was THE ONE we all dream about, the one we FINISH. The car still had the nice, factory Recaro interior, so I went all in. I built a stroker 455 engine (now 472-cu. inches), super strong tranny, rare 12-bolt rear from a '70 Formula. I added a '73 Formula Firebird front clip, then painted it Dodge Viper Red. I finished it in the summer of '05. 3 days later it was stolen from my driveway in the middle of the night. I didn't see it again until 2007. I'm really just now making myself work on it any." 
1996 Trans Am - its all one color now.
1996 Trans Am - The black '96 (above), originally bought by Simmons' daughter, was totaled in an accident in Montgomery in '08.  "My son and I used parts from three Firebirds, of different colors, to make what it is now."
1978 Trans Am - "The burgundy Bird, (left, front in top photo) actually belongs to one of my brothers. It's really a 1980 base Firebird but we used some of my stash to turn into a '78 T/A."

You can't have too many Trans Ams.

You know your serious about your garage when you put a bathroom in it.

Garage facts
Simmons found his garage inspiration at a gas station. "I actually bought my building out of that little, free ad magazine in convenience stores. The building is made by American Steel Span and was intended to be an airplane hangar." The building is 40'x50' and it took Simmons almost two years to build, doing almost all of the work himself.

A look at Simmons' American Steel Span garage under construction.
Cool stuff
The surfboard on the back wall isn't real. "Its a display piece from a beer company." What airplane hangar would be complete without airplanes? "Me and my brothers were pretty heavy into the remote control airplanes in the early '90s. As my basement empties into my shop, things get hung wherever they can go."

Why so many cars? 
Simmons would buy junk cars with blown engines that someone wanted out of their yard. "I fixed them and drove them as cheap transportation, then pushed them into the back of my yard when they needed more than I could afford to do to them," says Simmons. "My three children came along, and most of the cars  turned into school clothes, household needs, or whatever was needed. Dad's toys had to go when momma's babies needed something." By the looks of it, Simmons has plenty of toys since his children have grown up. "Most of what I still have, has been bought since the kids got older or was in too bad a shape to sell."

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Natalie Simmons-Rodda said...

That's my Daddy :) <3 you!!!!

Natalie Simmons-Rodda said...

OH!! And this place makes the ULTIMATE hangout! lots of good times :)