I first met Tom Hintz at the 2015 T-Bucket Nationals. Sadly, on June 25, 2022 his niece posted, “My dear Uncle Tom passed away yesterday. He fought a hard fight with cancer and he now is no longer suffering. We loved him so much and know he is in heaven and smiling down on us!”
On learning the news, Thomas Zizzo posted, “Sorry for your loss!! Even though I only knew him for a short time it only took a minute to become friends that’s the kind of man he was.” And that captured my memory of Tom Hintz perfectly.
As our own small celebration of the life of Tom Hintz, I’m reposting this story about his fabulous T track roadster. Jason Peisley, the current owner of the car has his own nice tribute on Facebook at Tazmo Tom’s Legacy.
Tom will be missed but his legacy lives on.
Tom Hintz‘ T-Bucket track roadster is truly one of a kind. I love it — and I think you will, too.
Tom Hintz of Scappoose, Oregon, the owner and builder, describes his truly unique T as, “The design and appearance of this car was created as a street version to replicate a mid 60’s modified asphalt circle track car that would have been raced throughout the United States and Canada at that time.”
And that’s putting it very simply! In reality, there’s so much cool, incredible detail in what I’d call this T-Bucket track roadster that you can spend half a day taking it all in.
I was fortunate to have seen Tom’s T-Bucket track roadster at the 2015 T-Bucket Nationals in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I’ve seen a lot of T’s in my day and of today’s era Tom’s is just incredible. Where to start?
I’ll start at the front. That track nose and grille shell are gorgeous and who doesn’t like nicely done nerf bars. And a 5″ dropped Bell tubular front axle give it just the right stance. The JFZ disc brakes are a nice addition and the rack and pinion steering is virtually invisible.
Of course, Tom’s fabricated headlight and turn signal stands that are about as inconspicuous as one could imagine. Plus, you’ve gotta love how the coil over shock mount blends in so perfectly with the hood side panels. And how Tom has fabricated the perfectly formed reliefs in the hood side panels for the headers is just one more example of the incredible detail on this T. The scoops concealing the radius rod attachment point are another great competition detail.
But wait, Tom’s track T, affectionately known as “Tazmo”, features changeable grille shells for both the sprint car as well as the original track T look.
Looking at the hood one immediately thinks back to the old injected Offy-powered sprint cars with their bell-mouth stacks. And nothing says traditional competition car more than that drilled windshield visor.
But look a little closer and you’ll see it’s really “Fool Injection” for the Chevy 4.3 liter V6 that powers this T-Bucket track roadster.
Tom put his creativity to work here and worked some magic on that scoop. By the way, I think this is a nice view of the awesome gold leaf striping effect that is one more element that makes Tom’s T such a beauty.
Under the “Fool Injection” scoop is a Street Demon carburetor and the 262 cubic inch V6 gets a big horsepower boost from a Crower gear driven camshaft. Tom’s intelligent choice of the V6 is also apparent here because its smaller size allows the nicely tapered and fitted hood side panels to mate with the track nose.
Speaking of how well everything flows together, you’ll note that Tom also tapered his T-Bucket track roadster frame rails at the cowl so that they would follow the body lines. (That’s something Bob Hamilton shows how to do in our StreetRod 101 Frame and Chassis DVD). And you just can’t miss how elegantly the headers exit through the frame rails.
But another great track roadster touch that blows me away is how Tom beautifully combined his rear radius rods with nerf bars.
It all looks just great from every angle.
Man, it just all flows together! And you can’t have a T-Bucket track roadster without some lovely louvers either.
Of course, the interior wasn’t overlooked with its bucket seats covered in tan vinyl and the gorgeous dash panel hosting a brace of vintage Autometer gauges. The traditional 4-spoke competition-style steering wheel is the natural pairing here. And if you look closely the Tazmanian Devil character is featured on the shifter knob.
More creativity at work. How about buckets for seating and bench for comfortable back support? And don’t overlook that sweet chromed roll bar.
The elegantly formed trans tunnel covers a Turbo Hydro 350 with 2500 RPM stall converter. And you can also see the matching tan carpets.
Tom Hintz is truly a craftsman par excellence. The trans tunnel was designed to house a digital clock and GPS. But the real kicker (pun intended) is the built-in right foot heel rest for miles of comfortable travel.
Now let’s step back and take a look at that oh-so-traditional track T top, with its light, elegant lines that originally followed competition function.
With some appreciation for Tom’s skills so far, it’s not totally surprising that it’s no ordinary roof. It raises and tilts to permit easier entry and exit!
This is accomplished through a pair of electric linear actuators nicely hidden in the back of the body.
A pair of hidden locking pins keep the rear of the roof stable on the road and in the earlier photos you’ll see how it is cleverly attached to the windshield frame in front to allow tilting.
And the switch that actuates the return stop of the linear actuators is flush mounted to the rear of the T bucket.
It’s all truly such a marvel that you can’t help but stop and stare.
The big-‘n-little wheel and tire combo is perfect and the urethane “Hugger Orange” paint and beige pearl scallops are elegantly accented by the gold leaf striping.
Moving to the rear you’ll find a rolled rear pan under the turtle deck along with recessed license plate and taillights framed by a nice nerf bar.
And below, a billet TAZMO tie bar under the Dana 44 rear end with 3.90 geared Detroit Locker, suspended with coil over shocks.
And the rear wing includes a very fitting acknowledgement of the skills and talent that went into the construction of this innovative T-Bucket track roadster.
The competition style fuel filler is ideally located on the turtle deck and there’s even some room left for storage of a few essential items.
Under the nicely hinged deck lid is another Taz image standing guard.
All in all, this is one of the most awesome track roadster builds that I’ve seen. Tom Hintz was a truly talented builder who has created a T that’s an enjoyable pleasure to experience for all who see it.
I only met Tom once, but consider him a friend and an inspiration.
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3 thoughts on “Tribute to Tom Hintz and his T-Bucket Track Roadster”
I have the original, built in 1967 by Tim Allen… Yours looks just like it… If you want to see pictures email me…
John, Wow what can I say? I have had a few different articles written about my T. But it is truly humbling and gratifying to have one written by an obvious very talented author who will describe the details included in the building of this car. Not being your typical T Bucket it was built to replicate a modified circle track car and when attending outdoor car shows it is very entertaining to talk to the many people who may be puzzled as to what it really is or represents. Without sounding a bit egotistical, far be it from me to take complete credit for the building of this car as the talent displayed comes from my God above. Thanks again for the article and the detailed photo’s. Hope to see and meet as many “Bucket”heads as possible in Carson City.
It was absolutely my pleasure, Tom. See you in Carson City!