Troy Byrd’s Garage Is a Nursing Home for Retired Drag Cars
If you’re looking for organization, Troy Byrd’s garage isn’t the place to find it. However, you will find an epic collection of historic drag cars and a tremendous hoard of vintage speed parts. Troy is 64 years old and has spent the last 45 years wrenching, sanding, and beating on old cars, motorcycles, and just about anything with wheels. He’s painted thousands of cars through the years, and he’s been buying, selling, and trading car junk as well. Lately, though, he has been buying cars and parts that he doesn’t want to sell. His stash of vintage drag cars and parts grows with each passing year, and he’s starting to run out of room. His solution is to find a bigger building.
One of the cars in Troy’s collection is the Hemi-powered dragster featured in the April 2017 issue of HOT ROD. As we were documenting the reconstruction of Jim Smith’s dragster, we realized just how much stuff has accumulated in Troy’s garage. A portion of the garage is still a place he uses to make a living doing paint and bodywork with his partner, Wally Smith, but it’s mostly a gathering place for old hot rodders who want to share memories about the good ol’ days of drag racing.
Many of the cars and parts in Troy’s garage have a rich history. But given enough time, the congregation of car guys can make up a pretty believable story for the random stuff that comes along. Guys like Bill Sims, Tommy Dillard, Denny George, and Mike Walters are “regulars” and they’ve been hanging out together for years.
Among the old drag cars are dozens of vintage racing wheels, scoured from swap meets. Other parts and pieces have been accumulated naturally, but the old drag-racing equipment has really piled on in the last 10 years or so. What one man considers “used-up junk” might be Troy’s latest treasure, and that mindset has led to a garage full of history.