Michael Corleone ran a very tight ship. Fredo would vouch for it, but he’s at the bottom of Lake Tahoe. While Tom Farrington isn’t quite as ruthless, the man certainly has a way of getting some serious results out of the family business. From afar, all bystanders see is a slick, homebuilt, LS-powered ’66 Chevelle on the autocross embarrassing high-profile Pro Touring machines that cost three times as much to build. Nevertheless, there’s much more to the story. What’s really going on behind the scenes is a carefully executed battle plan in which dad, mom, and the kids all turn wrenches and contribute equally to the cone-slicing cause. Throw in the car’s distinctly pleasant blue-collar flavor, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a Chevelle and an even cooler pit crew to match.
Like most working stiffs, Tom’s day job keeps him plenty busy. On top of fighting fires, he serves our country proudly in the Army National Guard. When many hot rodders are letting off some steam in the garage after work, Tom is dodging RPGs in Afghanistan. It’s an arduous lifestyle that can seriously stifle forward progress on project cars, so he has come to depend upon a tightly knit support network all within the family. “It’s slave labor, plain and simple,” he quips. “There aren’t a lot of hot rodders near us, so to get anything done we have to work as a family. Whether it’s pulling a motor or a trailer, there isn’t much that my wife can’t do. Until our kids were old enough to wrench, she did all the work. My son and daughter are now old enough to help, and they have hundreds of hours of experience working on the car and fixing things in emergency situations.”
Currently scattered around the Farrington yard is a total of 22 Chevelles, most of which have been pirated for parts. Not too long ago, however, the joys of rolling around town in an A-body were merely a distant memory. “When Debbie and I dated in high school, my first car was a ’66 Malibu, which was soon replaced by a ’67 SS350 Chevelle. Sadly, after high school I thought I would do the mature thing by selling my muscle car and buying something more dependable,” Tom says. “We always thought we’d own another Chevelle someday, but the years clicked away. Finally in 2002, while I was with the National Guard in California, we decided that if we were ever going to get back into the hobby our best bet was picking up a car while we were stationed out West. After a weekend of searching, we finally found a very solid ’66 Chevelle shell with no interior, motor, or trans along with several boxes of parts. Since we had no way of getting it back home to Indiana, we bought a 16-foot trailer and loaded everything up.”