Dragzine – Judge’s Ruling: Tommy Youmans Boasts World’s Most Powerful Pontiac
Despite the brand riding off into the sunset a decade ago next month, there remain legions of Pontiac loyalists, the majority of whom owe their dedication of the “Arrowhead” to the iconic musclecars of the 1960s and ‘70s. While Pontiac was befallen by a series of ill-fated, un-intriguing, and poorly-selling vehicles in its twilight, it was, during those golden years of the musclecar, the performance division of General Motors, blessing the automotive world with the likes of the GTO, LeMans, Firebird, and Tempest, among others.
Tommy Youmans grew up right alongside the Pontiac brand, his youth coinciding with its transition from classically-styled family sedans to pure-bred muscle machines in the early ‘60s and into the next decade. To suggest that those iconic namesakes made an impression on him at that early age would be a gross understatement. Youmans, a soft-spoken, God-fearing, self-made gentleman from central Georgia who exemplifies the hard-working, simple-living life of the South, has owned more than two dozen Pontiacs in his time — and he still has most of them.
“My first job was working at a full-service gas station, and one of the guys that worked there had a ’65 GTO, and that was my introduction to Pontiacs,” he says with his unmistakable Southern accent. “It was just a cool car. A lot of the guys in town either had Mustangs or Camaros. But the GTO was an awesome car — the power and the torque and everything that it made, the styling. It was a cool car.”
“After high school I went into the Navy, and as soon as I got out of boot-camp, I came home on leave and had a little money and I wanted to buy a car, and I knew I wanted a Firebird. My dad had probably one of the ugliest pickup trucks ever made — a 1969 Dodge — and that’s what I had to drive,” he says with a laugh. “So I hunted and hunted and bought a one-owner ’68, and loved the car. We progressed with it, going from the street car that it was and making it faster and souping it up, just doing the things that a normal young man at 19 or 20 years old did. And my love of Pontiacs just grew from that experience.”