Tony Nancy, whose beautiful cars
and famed upholstery work on machines for street and strip made
him a revered name in the motorsports world, passed away November
11, 2005 after a long illness. It was a huge loss for friends,
family and the sport of drag racing. With the help of Harry Hibler
and Bill Carter, one of Tony's last projects came to fruition
at the 2003 California Hot Rod Reunion when his immaculately
restored first, last and only front engine Top Fuel dragster
led the way for Cacklefest IV.
Nancy, whose nickname was "The
Loner" based on his ability to practically field a car by
himself, entered the Top Fuel ranks with this car in 1970 and
was runner-up to Larry Dixon at that year's Winternationals.
Two months later, he defeated a strong 32-car field to win the
prestigious Bakersfield March Meet. He would go on to have success
with this car until he retired it in early 1972 and switched
to the rear engine configuration.
Nancy set at least one NHRA record
or Drag News 1320 mark in every class in which he competed, which
encompassed cars such as a V/Fuel Dragster in 1957 through Top
Fuel, where he held the national speed record at 236.22 in 1971
with this car.
Nancy retired from racing after
the 1976 March Meet to concentrate on Tony Nancy Enterprises,
his famed Sherman Oaks, Calif., upholstery business that beautified
the interiors of everything from Ferraris to Top Fuel dragsters
and the cars of many Hollywood stars, including Clark Gable,
James Garner, Steve McQueen, and Burt Reynolds.He was honored
with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 California Hot
There is no doubt
that Tony had several reasons for wanting this car restored...
Cacklefest was established and in full bloom and he knew he was
living on borrowed time. In 2002 Tony found the car in Alaska
in pretty good condition. Still having most of the parts needed
up in the rafters, Nancy did most of the restoration himself
with help from Harry Hibler, Bill Carter (matched the original
paint job he did in 1970), Ed Pink and other friends set out
in earnest to restore the 1970 Woody car to its original beauty.
The only part that he did not have was the rear winglet for the
back of the cage (the most famous part in by many opinions) and
that was recreated by Steve Moal. Unfortunately there was no
photographic record kept of the process but the end result is