Tony Nancy is a world-famous automobile upholsterer, designer and builder of hotrods, and automobile racer. He did most of his work in the 1960s and 1970s, though he remains famous today through his judging of custom car contests and the seemingly omnipresent die-cast reproductions of his most famous creations.
In addition to producing cars that were beautiful and formidable on the track, Nancy was known for running a one-man show. He built, maintained, and drove his own cars, earning himself the respectful nickname "The Loner." He won many racing titles and set a number of records in his heyday, though I do not think any of his speed records still stand.
Nancy's client list for his custom interior work included Clark Gable, John Wayne, Steve McQueen and Gary Cooper. In some of these cases he worked on only the car's upholstery, but even at such a minor level, his name increases the value of the cars today.
Apparently, his entire drag racing operation was run out of the back of his upholstery shop.
He was backed at various times by Pontiac and Oldsmobile, and many of his most famous cars are based on chasses by those companies. Among his best-remembered cars are "The Wedge" and "The (Superior) Sizzler".
Nancy raced around the world, including tours of England in 1964, Australia in 1966, and of Japan and England (again) in 1973.
Dick Dale (of the Del-Tones fame) dedicated the title track of his 1964 album "Mr. Eliminator" to Nancy. This song has been used as a theme for MTV in England. He also appears as a mechanic in the 1980 Tony Danza film "Hollywood Knights".
Probably the best way to build familiarity with his work is to do a websearch for his name and to look at the pictures of the cars he designed. They are easily found on the web and serve as his best legacy.
Hot News, January 8 2003
Description of die-cast "Superior Sizzler"
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