Tom Farrington: Father, Veteran, Firefighter, Gearhead, and Coffee Drinker!

This Father's Day we wanted to recognize somebody that's not only a Father, but a Veteran, Firefighter, and all around Gearhead. 

Tom Farrington is a second generation Veteran, and his son serves as well! His Wife, Deb, and his Son, Sam, are also Firefighters. Serving our country is rooted deep in the Farrington family! 

Tom pilots a 1966 Chevelle, while Deb pilots a 1964 Chevelle Wagon. As you can imagine, their son Sam has a '67 Chevelle! 

1. What branch of the military did you serve, and what was your job?

I served in the Indiana Army National Guard for over 33 years.  I spent about six years as a turbine engine mechanic on helicopters and then transferred to a Long Range Surveillance Unit where I was an Infantryman and a communication specialist.  When the Army did away with Long Range Surveillance units we transitioned into a Parachute Infantry Company.  I held every enlisted job in the LRS and retired as the Company First Sergeant of the Parachute Infantry.

2. What motivated you to serve?

My dad retired from active duty Army when I was two years old.  He served three tours in Vietnam, two as a Green Beret and one as an adviser to a Vietnamese Airborne Regiment.  As far as I was concerned he was the baddest man alive and as long as I can remember I wanted to follow in his footsteps.  Not exactly how it played out but not too far off either.

3. What was the most fulfilling part of serving? 

Fulfilling is a tough question!  So many things over a 33+ year career.  In the end it was definitely seeing young guys find direction and grow into motivated young men.

4. When did the automotive bug bite you?

Early in high school my buddy was a guy who was into cars and his dad was a hot rodder from way back.  That probably sparked my interest to begin with.  My dad always loved hotrods, muscle cars, exotic and everything else, but never owned one.

5. Tell us about your passion for cars?

Although I did buy and sell a rusted out '63 C10 short bed before I even had a license, my first car was a 1966 Chevelle.  Deb and I were just talking about it the other day and we think I paid $750 for it, rusted out frame and all.  Between that '66 and a much nicer '67 SuperSport I bought after it, my love for Chevelle's was set.  Right after high school I sold the '67 and bought a more "grown up" '84 Mustang GT.  Also a pretty great car for the day but we always wanted another Chevelle. 

It was about 15 years later when I was in Sacramento, California for an Army communication school that we decided to find another Chevelle.  It was just a shell and boxes of parts.  That pretty much changed our direction and we've been pretty aggressive about chasing the hobby ever since.

6. What's one of your favorite builds?

Obviously we are all about our '66 Chevelle and Deb's '64 Chevelle wagon.  When the '66 was in body and paint, I bought an '86 S10 4x4 with the intent of building a crawler/dune buggy.  It took a while to build but when it was driving it was pretty cool.  Pushed the body off of the chassis and built a roll cage that made it look like a mini-humvee.  I really didn't know much about welding when I started but learned a ton as I went.  Welds definitely improved as I went, but I'm happy to say even the ones in the beginning never failed when we were beating it around the property.  Fun for a while but eventually sold it for the cost of a two post lift.  

7. Any words of encouragement for up and coming Gearheads?

I like to tell guys just getting into the hobby to just enjoy the process.  Get something on the road and enjoy it while making improvements.  I like to relate it to the game Mouse Trap.  The whole game is about building the mouse trap, same as the hobby.