When the C7 Corvette was introduced way back in 2013, fans of Chevy’s plastic fantastic sports car went friggin’ berserk.
While the new model was a tour de force from a design standpoint, the square taillights hogged the limelight with many Corvette fans swearing they would never buy another Corvette. Thankfully all that commotion subsided when folks got used to the new look and the C7’s charms.
Little did we know just six model years later, a megaton bombshell would be dropped on the sports car world, laying waste to every sacred cow in the hidebound Corvette space. When the C8 debuted last summer, the kerfuffle over the taillights suddenly seemed ridiculous when compared with an entirely new blueprint. Since then, a strain of derangement has swept over the Corvette community. We call it MECA, a.k.a. Mid Engine Corvette Anxiety. The walls of social media are deluged with acrimonious declarations from suspicious ‘Vette fans.
For our hardcore old school Corvette brethren, wandering around in a daze from MECA who swear the new C8 is an imposter, we give you Tracy Fisher’s crazy beautiful 1969 C3 Corvette as a reminder that the good old days live on.
GM made almost half-million C3s alone over a 14 year period, so if you think the Corvette died with the C8, remember Fisher’s coke-bottle beauty (and thousands more tucked away around the world) keep the torch burning.
Fisher filled us in regarding the backstory of his flaming orange, full-scale Hot Wheels-esque Corvette. It’s a bittersweet father and son story and Fisher recounted the timeline for us. “As a kid growing up in Simi Valley, California, I always dreamed of hot rods, custom cars, and motorcycles. 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 a cool rod.
“My father was an avid car customizer. 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 fifteen, a 1966 El Camino.
“He taught me how to do bodywork and paint. I prepped the El Camino and dad painted it. Of course, it was a custom blend, which made it stand out from the rest. By the time I was sixteen, it was finished and I was ready to cruise Van Nuys Blvd and hit the show circuits.
“My father had Corvettes, a ‘62 and then a ‘66, and both were 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. One day in 1969 my Dad pulled up in a brand-new silver Corvette. I asked, ‘’where is the ‘66?’’ I loved that car so much, but now it was gone, replaced by the ’69.
“The first thing my dad did was mask out a panel-style pattern and sprayed it white. When he unmasked it, it looked pretty cool. He added some fully polished US mags and that’s how he drove it for many years. One year he decided to paint it a different color, copper and stripped it similar to the pattern it had when it was silver.”
Over the years the Corvette morphed again, Fisher continues, “In 1984 he was rear-ended it had minor damage, however that gave him the opportunity for yet another color change. He took it to a guy known as Jessie, the “Candy Man.” Jessie was known for his colorful paint jobs laid down on lowrider cars. The color he chose was orange with a heavy gold pearl, and he added some killer candy graphics.
“Sadly, when Fisher’s Dad passed, “I took ownership of the car over. It had sat for many years and needed some TLC. Everything on the car was original. It was unmolested other than the paint and wheels. It had a 350ci engine, and a turbo 400 automatic transmission.”
Then Fisher got to work on getting the old C3 back into shape. He began the journey of breathing new life into the timeless Mako Shark beauty.
“With the motor in need of a rebuild, I decided to disassemble the car down to the body on a frame, and bring it back as a period-correct 70’s Street Freak. Everything was replaced or rebuilt except for the paint. That killer lacquer paint job was the perfect canvas for my vision.
“I had a 327 ci engine that would be just right for this project. To add to the thrill of driving, I converted the transmission from an automatic to a manual Tremec TKO 5 speed. Once the car was reassembled I brought it to the king of Corvettes, Dick Guldstrand at Guldstrand Motorsports to dial in the final tuning before hitting the streets.
“This car is not a trailer queen. 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.”
So for all the Corvette fans who were flummoxed by the new C8, go buy an old shark and breath some new life into it. Then point those arched fenders down the highway and buzz all those frumpy sheople in their clunky SUVs. Maybe show a new C8 some tail feathers too…
Tracy Fisher’s 1969 Corvette
Custom Lacquer, Orange with gold pearl and candy graphics
Original with the exception of new seat foam and covers by Eckler’s Corvette parts
Rebuilt Original with the exception of Bilstein shocks, modified front springs and ARP extended studs
Original rebuilt disk front and rear
Front Wheels and Tires
Real Rodder 15 x 4 ½ Small Kidney Bean / Vriedestein Sprint Classic 155-15
Rear Wheels and Tires
Real Rodder 15 x 10 Original Sprint / Pro-Trac 50 racing profile N50-15
1965 Chevrolet 327 ci V8 engine
Block bored over .030-inch
Stock steel crankshaft and rods chamfered and polished.
Cam, COMP Cams Hydraulic “Mutha Thumper”
Heads original double hump ported and polished 2.02 intake 1.60 exhaust
Intake manifold, Weiand duel tunnel ram with a set of Edelbrock Thunder Series AVS Carburetors
Tremec TKO 5 Speed
Beefed up Stock IRS / Posi Traction 3.50.1 gears