Cool Plate Special As soon...
Cool Plate Special As soon as he heard that Michigan was instituting a personalized-license-plate program, Mike was down at the DMV applying for 40FORD. That was several years ago, but he has managed to register the number ever since.
Heres the coupe indoors...
Heres the coupe indoors at Cobo Hall for the 66 Detroit Autorama. At that time, Mike was running wide whites on Chrysler Imperial wire wheels, which had the same 5-1/2-inch bolt pattern as the Ford studs. Note the front bumper overrider bar.
This is the 40 at an...
This is the 40 at an outdoor show in 1988, now with blackwall radials and steelies.
After searching for months, 20-year-old Mike Stowe found this 40 Ford coupe in a Michigan junkyard and drove it home. This morning, he drove it to work. Although hes in his early sixties now, Mike still gets the same kicks driving the coupe now as he did when he was a young hot rodder.
Youd expect a car that has participated in practically every chapter in the history of street rodding to have gone through a lot of styling changes. In this case, Mike built the car right the first time and never felt tempted to goof it up with every new trend that came along. He has modified it a little, but Stowes 40 looks the same now as it did in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Next to a 32 roadster, a 40 coupe was the rod to have in the late 50s.
Mikes dad, Percy Stowe, already had a sectioned and channeled fendered Deuce roadster, so Mikes choice was easy. For $150 he got a running 40 with a salvageable stock chassis and a seven-pistoned flathead. He immediately junked the flattie and dropped in a 55 Chevy 265 small-block. Mikes plan was to keep the project as original in appearance as possible. Many of the parts he needed, including the fenders, hood ornament, grille center bar, hood latch, and other trim pieces, were still available as NOS parts. * Most of those parts are still on the coupe. Mikes dad Percy sprayed the Sierra Gold paint, a 57 Chevy color. They entered the car in the 61 Detroit Autorama and earned a First Place award.
In 1963, Mike swapped the 265 motor for a 283 Chevy that he found in a hot-rodded Studebaker. In the years that followed, he put a lot of miles on the coupe, but, as numerous other hot rod and business projects competed for his time in the 70s and 80s, the coupe received less attention. Even so, he never sold it, and eventually reached the point when he knew he never could. In 1988, Mike became interested in his faithful old driver again, and after some fresh paint, the coupe started reappearing in public at shows in the area.
The coupes most recent revival began early last year at Mikes business, Great Lakes Motor Works in Boyne City, Michigan. The worn-out 283 was replaced with a new out-of-the-crate aluminum-head Chevy 350 and a TCI chassis was built to replace the stocker. The rejuvenated coupe, a mix of good-as-new condition and good-as-old tradition, has become Mikes daily transportation during the warm months. In May, he took the car on the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour, letting it off the leash for the long haul from Detroit to Southern California.
This gorgeous 40 is a bona fide ride back through street rod history. After 43 years of steadfast service, the old coupe isnt slowing downits picking up speed.