Born and raised in Southeast Tennessee, Tommy Lee Byrd gained a love for cars at an early age, thanks to his father’s lifelong interest in hot rods, drag cars and motorcycles. Following in his father’s footsteps, Tommy Lee was destined for a career of bondo dust and paint fumes. He worked at local body shops during and after his Auto Body and Refinishing education at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Meanwhile, he and his father attended local car shows and drag races, gathering ideas for their own project cars.
In 2006, a California-based automotive magazine company, Buckaroo Communications, moved to Tommy Lee’s home town of Dayton, Tennessee. While the company’s drastic move and Tommy Lee’s home town may seem like a coincidence, it opened the door to a long string of opportunities for the young car enthusiast. He landed a job as Associate Editor at Buckaroo Communications, based strictly on his automotive background and his willingness to learn about photography and writing. He would later dive into the marketing world, while still continuing to contribute articles to magazines, write books and develop online content.
Tommy Lee has a passion for vintage drag racing, which has resulted in a collection of dilapidated drag cars, vintage speed parts and old photograph collections. In his spare time, he can be found wrenching on his project cars. The most notable projects are his 1964 Corvette, 1964 Chevelle and 1934 Plymouth coupe, but there are a half-dozen vintage drag cars waiting to be restored.