Street Survivor – Tracy Fisher Freshens his Family ’Vette into a Throwback Street Freak
Tracy Fisher not only had the good fortune of growing up in Southern California during the car-crazy ’60s and ’70s, he also had the benefit of a father who shared an interest in cool cars. How many of us can say we grew up cruising around with our dad in a succession of Corvettes?
“My father had a few Corvettes, a ’62 and then a ’66,” Tracy says. “They were his daily drivers. He even built a custom two-rail trailer for our dirt bikes, and the tow vehicle was the ’66 ’Vette. We rode every Sunday at Muntz Motorcycle Park and no one had a cooler tow rig than us.”
Naturally, riding around in cool machines like those and seeing all the other interesting cars on SoCal streets had an effect on Tracy. “As a kid growing up in Simi Valley, I always dreamed of hot rods, custom cars, and motorcycles,” Tracy says. “We had a neighbor that was in a car club who had monthly meetings at his house. I would ride my bike up and down the street gazing at the cars and dreaming that I would someday own one.
“My father was an avid customizer,” Tracy continues. “I grew up in the garage watching him work his magic, turning cars and motorcycles into fine art. He was very talented and could do so much with so little. With the help of my father, I built my first car at the age of 15, a 1966 El Camino. He taught me how to do bodywork and paint. I prepped the El Camino and dad painted it. It was a custom blend, which made it stand out. By the time I was 16, it was finished, and I was ready to cruise Van Nuys Boulevard and hit the show circuits.”
Meanwhile, Tracy’s father continued the Corvette tradition by purchasing a new silver Stingray in 1969. “First thing my dad did was mask out a panel-style pattern and sprayed it white,” Tracy says. “When he unmasked it, it looked pretty cool. He added some fully polished U.S. Mags and that’s how he drove it for many years.”
The silver-and-white combo lasted for much of the ’70s until Tracy’s father treated the small-block ’Vette to copper paint with gold striping. A minor rear-end collision in 1984 provided the opportunity for yet another color change. “He took it to a guy known as Jessie the Candy Man,” Tracy says. “Jessie was known for colorful paint jobs on lowriders. The color he chose was orange with a heavy gold pearl and added some killer candy graphics.”
That bright lacquer paint is the same as what you see on the Corvette today. Following the fresh paint job in the early-’80s, Tracy’s father continued to enjoy the Corvette, keeping it until his death. That’s when Tracy took ownership. “It had sat for many years and needed some TLC,” Tracy says. “Everything on the car was original. It was unmolested other than the paint and wheels.”
The original 350c.i. engine was in need of a rebuild and, as Tracy mentioned, most of the mechanicals needed some attention. Considering the work it needed, Tracy hatched a plan. “I decided to disassemble the car down to the body on a frame and bring it back as a ’70s Street Freak,” Tracy says. “Everything was replaced or rebuilt except for the paint. That killer lacquer paint job was the perfect canvas for my vision.”
The transformation started with a 327c.i. small block rebuilt with a COMP Mutha’ Thumpr cam and a polished Weiand tunnel ram intake topped with Edelbrock carbs and chrome-plated velocity stacks. Tracy swapped out the TH400 in favor of a Tremec TKO five-speed for a little more driving thrill. Dick Guldstrand would ultimately perform the final tune before the car hit the streets again.
Underneath, Tracy rebuilt the suspension and added upgrades like Bilstein shocks, modified front springs, and ARP extended wheel studs. The rearend was equipped with Positraction and 3.50:1 gears. To achieve that Street Freak status Tracy desired, he selected a combination of Real Rodders wheels in 15×10- and 15×4.5-inch sizes, wrapping them in 155/15 tires up front and Pro-Trac N50-15 rear meats that hang out of the wheel openings just like back in the day.
Finished off with fresh seat foam and covers from Eckler’s Corvette Parts, the ’Vette was once again ready for street duty. “It’s not a trailer queen,” Tracy says. “My wife, Terri, and I enjoy cruising the streets of So Cal. We have logged many miles of smiles and thumbs up, and an occasional burnout or two.”
Tracy says he enjoys hearing guys arguing about seeing it on the cover of Hot Rod magazine in 1970 (it never was), but that one of the best memories came on the day he first drove the refreshed ’Vette home from the shop. “A woman pulled up next to me in a Suburban full of little kids hanging out the windows yelling ‘Hot Wheels’ over and over,” Tracy says, “and the Mom trying to control them.”
Hot wheels, indeed. There’s no doubt Tracy’s father would be proud to see this survivor Stingray cruising the streets of SoCal in its new Streak Freak guise.
Photos by Marc Gewertz