Growing up in Natick, MA, Fred Vitali was into cars long before he could drive them. “I had this Corvette thing since I was a little kid,” he said. At the same time Fred also knew he had an artistic streak.
When he was in high school, he worked at a Gulf station and Wellesley Chrysler so he could save up to buy a 1962 Corvette which needed work…and found a way to follow his interests. “I rebuilt the motor and put a new rear end in it, but I needed it painted,” he said. “My friend Bob Bell ran a body shop and painted it for me. I stripped it down for him and he liked the way I prepped the body and asked me if I wanted to work for him.”
Fried tried college, going to the Franklin Institute to study architecture and engineering, but it was not his thing. He worked for Bell for two years, learning the paint and body work craft and business, then spent a year at J&R supply where he learned about paint and mixing.
In 1976 he then went to work for another body shop in Framingham, MA, buying out the owner in 1979 and renaming the business Advanced Auto Body.
In the late seventies, Fred’s career took off. He customized a 1969 Grand Prix and took the 1976 Tulsa Nationals by storm with the Grand Prix in just primer! Fred finished the customization in 1978 and went on to win the '78 World Of Wheels first in class, fully radical custom. His work appeared in articles for Hot Rod Magazine, Custom Rodder and Street Rodder.
In the early 1980s he developed his trademark “ghost flame” design, with layer upon layer of candy and pearl paints creating the unique motif.
For the past forty years, Fred has restored, customized and/or painted hundreds of classic vehicles, including his beloved Corvettes and motorcycles, as well as producing his personal line of “Junk Yart,” creating custom art on ordinary objects such as mail boxes, baskets, pedal cars and sheet metal panels.
Fred Vitali Advanced Auto Body
171 Howard Street, Framingham, Massachusetts 01702
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