Heather Holler wasn’t born a gearhead. As a child, the closest she got to a high performance car was sitting in her father Jeff’s lap while he let her “steer” his 1970 Corvette convertible down the driveway (“It was more like letting it slowly drift into the ditch,” she explained).

Heather’s childhood and teen years were occupied with ski-racing, snowboarding, and soccer. Cars were just a way to get to practice and games.

But a day at the autocross track changed everything.

“My boyfriend was into American muscle cars. He took me to an autocross event and I ended up beating him driving his own car,” Heather said. “I had the goosebumps the whole time, I was so excited!”

Heather sold her SUV two weeks later and bought a 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS to build into an autocross terror. Unbeknownst to her, the car had a blown engine, so her introduction to wrenching was doing an engine swap and turbo upgrade. That experience lit a fire to become a mechanic. Heather went to tech school and got a job as a certified Subaru mechanic after graduation.

During those six years wrenching on Outbacks and Legacys, Heather became interested in rally racing. In 2016 she filled out an application to join the Subaru Red Bull Global Rallycross Series team, was accepted, and began a career in motorsports.

Heather Holler working on suspension of a Hyundai Rally Car
Now that’s someone who enjoys their job. (Image/Heather Holler)

Long story short, Heather is now an in-demand mechanic. Her resume includes gigs on DirtFish Racing’s Red Bull Global and America’s Rally Cross team, Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s Formula Drift team, and Hyundai’s World Rallycross (WRC) team. Most recently Heather was a crew member on X-Raid’s 2023 Dakar team, working on Yamaha YXZ1000Rs running in the Lightweight UTV T3 class.

Yeah, she has chops.

vintage photograph of a white 1970 corvette stingray
This is how Heather Holler remembers her dad Jeff’s 1970 Corvette roadster. One of only 6,648 convertible Vettes sold in 1970, the car rocked a 300 horsepower 350 cubic inch small block backed by a M22 close-ratio four-speed transmission. At some point in its life the Corvette’s factory rallye wheels were replaced with Cragar Super Trick wheels (or equivalent knockoff) on BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires. Heather also remembers the black sheepskin seat covers—and the bubble gum fight with her brother that ruined them. “Boy, was Mom PO-ed with us!” she explained. (Image/Heather Holler)

Which brings us back to dad’s Corvette. Over the years the car was in and out of shops for restoration work, but it always came back in worse condition than it was before. Her father also attempted a driveway restoration in the late 1990s that did not go so well. The car sat in storage until 2019 when Heather and her husband Garrett trailered it from Nevada to their shop in Mooresville, North Carolina for a full restoration.

What they found was not pretty.

1970 chevy corvette during restoration as project car
The Corvette was in and out of shops for restoration work, but each time it came back in worse shape than before. Jeff took matters into his own hands and attempted a driveway restoration in the late 1990s that included an engine swap, body repairs, and a pearl white paint job. “I was about three watching my dad paint it,” Heather told us. “I’ll never forget how mad the carpenter ants were making him because they kept landing in the paint.” (Image/Heather Holler)

“My father was not really a hands-on car guy, he built houses,” Heather explained. “As we took the thing apart I shook my head and said, ‘what were you thinking, dad?’ There were cracks and gouges in the front fenders. The rear valance panel was patched with pop-riveted steel and fiberglassed over. I went to take out a bumper bolt and it was slathered with fiberglass. After we removed the front clip, we found a couple of parking citations in the fresh air intake behind the passenger side fender vent.”

man repairing tail panel on a 1970 chevy corvette
Heather and husband Garrett rescued the Corvette from storage jail in 2019 and brought it back to their shop in Mooresville, North Carolina to return it to its former glory. As they began stripping the paint all sorts of bodywork shenanigans were uncovered. For example, the rear valance panel was patched with pop-riveted steel and fiberglassed over. Being a paint and body man who restores concours-class cars, Garrett will be repairing it and all of the other boo-boos the proper way. (Image/Heather Holler)

In addition to the bodywork shenanigans, most of the interior was ruined by rodents, every hose, seal, wire, and weatherstrip was rotted out, and the only salvageable part of the convertible top was the frame. You can view the carnage on Heather’s YouTube Channel.

man repairing front fiberglass on a 1970 chevy corvette
Removing the driver side front fender grille revealed what can be best described as a blob of dried-out gum. No, Chevy did not put that there. (Image/Heather Holler)

As of this writing, the car is disassembled and stripped, ready for bodywork. The plan is to have the car finished by early 2024, with Heather and her dog, Sir Emmett von Brownsagger (don’t ask), roadtripping back to Nevada to hand the Corvette over to her dad. There are special plans for that which we are not at liberty to divulge.

person holding vintage parking tickets found in an old car
Heather and Garrett decided it would be easier to pull the entire front clip than trying to pull it apart. That’s when they found a couple of parking tickets from the Phoenix, Arizona airport sitting in the fresh air duct. As we write this the Corvette is completely disassembled and stripped of paint, ready for fiberglass repair. (Image/Heather Holler)

The Summit Racing folks are documenting the project as it rolls along, so check back to see what other surprises Heather and Garrett uncover.

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Author: Alan Rebescher

Editor, author, PR man—Alan Rebescher has done it all in a 25 year career in the high performance industry. He has written and photographed many feature stories and tech articles for Summit Racing and various magazines including Hot Rod, Car Craft, and Popular Hot Rodding, and edited Summit Racing’s Street & Strip magazine in the 1990s. His garage is currently occupied by a 1965 Ford Mustang.