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.
A reply to an ad Mike placed in a Los Angeles paper yielded the back half of a '61 Corvette body that once graced a drag racer that ran at Pomona. "There was just the body from where the convertible top tucks in--the rest of it forward was gone. My wife, Janice, saw it and said, 'Please tell me you didn't spend money on that--please!' And I said to her, 'You're really going to like this, because when we go to car shows, now we'll have a trunk, and you can take lots of stuff.'" (By the way, Janice's dad is Jim Sugrhue, a member of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.)
The C1 remnant, painted to match the '67, now sits on a homemade trailer frame, with storage areas in the original trunk and top well. "When we go to car shows, the women like the trailer more than the car," Mike says of the reaction it gets when they go on the road. "They think it's a cute idea."
Speaking of shows, that combination Corvette has logged plenty of miles through California and the West since it was finished. "We've been to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe several times, we've gone to Big Bear twice and San Diego once," Mike says. "We've also been to Cruisin' for a Cure in Costa Mesa, and we've gone to Carpenteria and Santa Barbara several times--probably as much as 700-800 miles in a stint." Mike says this was all done without the overheating problems that some midyears are prone to. This combination Corvette will soon be joined by a Vette-Rodded '60, with a Chris Alston Chassisworks frame, among other good stuff on and in it that Mike has in the works.
Are you now inspired to make a trailer to complement your Vette? Mike has this advice: If you have time, you need to 'play' with fiberglass for a while. "I think most people can do it," he says, "but you've got to have a creative flair in your head." He notes that you also have to have the right protective gear (such as a respirator, long sleeves, and a fan to blow the 'glass dust away), too. "On that trailer, I didn't know where I was going with it at first," he says of how he came up with its forward end, where there's a Coca-Cola cooler. "I was buying resin from a place that made fiberglass tanks, and they had a scrap bin. In it was the end of a 500-gallon tank. I started with half of one of those, to make that round thing in the front. It kind of fell into place after a while." Just like the way the finished trailer falls into place on its hitch before the C2/C1 combo hits the road again.
Data File: '67 Corvette Sting Ray Convertible (And '61 Corvette-Derived Trailer)
Owned by Mike Barricklow, Bakersfield, California
Restored production '67 Corvette Sting Ray
Bodywork: (and paint preparation) By owner
Paint: Sherwin-Williams custom-mixed Ultra Systems Red basecoat/clearcoat; Applied by owner
Frame: Original Corvette
Suspension: (Front) Restored OEM: Coil springs, unequal-length A-arms, stabilizer bar and Koni shocks (Rear) Restored OEM independent suspension with transverse leaf springs and Koni shocks
Steering: Restored OEM GM Saginaw recirculating-ball, power-assisted
Brakes: Restored OEM four-wheel disc brakes, power-assisted
Wheels: 15x7 Rallyes front and rear
Tires: Bridgestone 215/70R15s whitewalls all around
Modified overhead-valve small-block v-8, (zz 383 crate engine)
Built By: GM Performance Parts and Gilbert Chevrolet, Freewater, Oregon
Modifications: "Fast Burn" aluminum heads, steel stroker crankshaft, hydraulic roller camshaft
Displacement: 383 ci (6.4L)
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Ignition: GM HEI with modified OEM '67 327 distributor
Induction: Mighty Demon 750-cfm four-barrel carburetor atop standard aluminum ZZ383 intake manifold
Exhaust: 2 1/2-inch-diameter GM cast-iron exhaust manifolds, MagnaFlow mufflers and 2 1/2-inch diameter exhaust pipes
Horsepower: 450 @ 4,800 rpm
Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
Modified GM TurboHydraMatic 350 three-speed automatic
Built By: The Gear Box, Taylor, Michigan
Modifications: B&M shift kit, TCI 11-inch, 2,500-stall torque converter
Shifter: Modified OEM '67 Corvette Sting Ray automatic transmission shifter
Rearend: OEM C2 Corvette with RPO G80 Positraction and 3.36:1 rear gears
Restored production '67 Sting Ray interior
Seats: Restored production C2 Corvette Sting Ray
Upholstery: Red leather (Al Knoch reproduction)
Carpets: Reproduction Corvette loop-pile
Instrumentation: OEM Corvette (0- to 160-mph speedometer, 0- to 8,000-rpm tachometer, plus voltmeter and oil pressure, coolant temperature and fuel level gauges)
Sound System: Custom Autosound AM/FM/Cassette
Heater/defroster: OEM Corvette
Air conditioning: Lower top and windows, then drive briskly
Frame: Hand-crafted stainless steel
Body: What was left of a '61 Corvette rear body section, refinished to match Mike's '67
Suspension: Solid axle mounted in heavy rubber bushings
Features Include: Two trunks (one in former convertible top well); teak wood inserts in seatback openings and front "deck," original Coca-Cola cooler and bottle opener