Of all the words praising the '67 Corvette Sting Ray over the years, one you never hear is roomy. Sure, there's space for a driver, a passenger, and a couple of weekend bags, but if you wanted to carry more than that, your choices were limited to Route 66-style luggage racks (and the risk of a miles'-long "yard sale" if the tie-downs came off while underway), shipping your luggage ahead (while taking a bite out of your wallet), or buying a steel-bodied Chevy and using its bigger trunk.
Mike Barricklow came up with a novel way to solve the C2's chronic luggage space problem: build a trailer using a C1 body remnant, adding two big luggage spaces in the process.
First things first. For Mike, that meant acquiring the '67, which you see here. "I've had it about five years, since May 2003," he says from his Bakersfield, California home. "I bought it from a retired schoolteacher who bought it new and had it in the garage sitting for probably 15 years." The Vette still wore its original paint and top, and had no major damage. There was plenty of documentation of the Sting Ray's originality, starting with the California "black plate" license plates the car wore (and still wears). "I still have the original build sheet and the original pink slip. When I took out the gas tank, the build sheet was there on top of it. I thought, Wow! I can't believe it's still there!"
That tank sticker showed that it was an original 327/300 car, with a Powerglide automatic teamed with the last-year-C2's standard engine. "I rebuilt that engine the first time, put it in, but it just didn't have the stuff that I wanted," Mike says of the 327 that now sits in his garage, along with the original transmission.
Replacing the original small-block was one with more "stuff"--a GM Performance Parts ZZ383 crate engine, which he ordered through Gilbert Chevrolet in Freewater, Oregon. Mike says they made a camshaft change that added to the stroker 383's output. "It's got plenty of low-end torque, it'll run down the road easy and pull that trailer just like it wasn't there, and to the casual observer, it still looks stock," Mike says of the 383, which also wears a set of larger-diameter factory cast-iron exhaust manifolds to keep the stock look.
The original Powerglide made a one-way trip out of Mike's midyear, with a Turbo 350 from The Gear Box in Taylor, Michigan, replacing it. "They do impeccable work, and their stuff is always dead-on," Mike says about the shop that he may turn to for an overdrive automatic, such as a 4L60E, in the near future. "If they tell you that you need a 2,300-stall converter, that's what you get."
The transmission was one of the few areas on the '67 in which Mike outsourced the work. He did the bodywork and interior restoration himself, as well as replacing what was needed on the Sting Ray's chassis. His background in welding and fiberglass repair, gained before and during his college days, came in handy not only on the C2, but also when it came time to make a trailer for it. "I'd always wanted to build a 'pup' trailer of some sort," Mike says.