Nick Slade: Out from the Shadows

Nick Slade: Out from the Shadows

Vintage Motorsport / Historic

Nick Slade: Out from the Shadows


He was outside the comfort zone of his own shop, tools and methodology, working under the mammoth J&L Fabricating trackside operation at the Rolex Monterey Reunion. It had been a rare free weekend for Nick Slade, who struggles to say “no” to a friend in need.

In this case, J&L Fabricating founder Louie Shefchik, with several immaculately-prepped Formula 1 cars to present at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, was the friend in need.

New Zealander Slade would barely have time to recover before a test session with the Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team, which he’d work with the following weekend at the Laguna Seca finale, and would host a relaxed pre-race evening at his race shop. Meanwhile, several current project cars were calling his name from his nearby Slade/Advanced Vehicle Systems shop, awaiting his attentions.

In a sport increasingly focused on specialization, Slade is something of a throwback—a generalist whose wide range of abilities and focus on “doing it right” has led him over more than 30 years to a spotless workshop just a few miles from Laguna Seca Raceway, a list of happy customers, and a handful of race team owners who have his number.

The shop, crowded with cars and tools, is kept immaculate — more like a museum than a busy prep shop.

“I opened [it] with Shadow’s Don Nichols in 2014, looking to help him prep and parcel off all of his Can-Am and Formula 1 cars and parts,” Slade explains. “When Don passed away [in 2017], he left me everything — all the trophies, all the photographs, driver’s helmets, all that. I have all that in a section of the shop — it’s all really nicely displayed.”

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