The Preservation Award is given to a vehicle and individual that showcases the heritage of the hot rod and classic car industry. These award winning vehicles may not have the most glitz and bling, but they represent the ideals, character, and history of the hot rod hobby.
Steele Rubber Products is an aftermarket manufacturer and provider with an extensive line of rubber parts and weatherstripping for classic & collector cars, trucks, and street rods. Let’s face the truth; body panels, trim pieces, and seat frames offer more forgiveness in terms of being reclaimed and restored to their former glory. When it comes to bump stops, bushings, and weatherstripping there’s only one way to go, and only one option that your rolling piece of history deserves.
Founded on a simple philosphy, Steele Rubber believes “It is less costly to ‘do it right the first time’ than to buy inferior products that won’t stand up over time or meet our customers’ high expectations.”
To carry this passion further, Steele Rubber teamed up with Detroit Autorama in 2014 to present the annual Preservation Award.
According to a release from Steele Rubber, “The Preservation Award is given to a vehicle and individual that showcases the heritage of the hot rod and classic car industry. These award winning vehicles may not have the most glitz and bling, but they represent the ideals, character, and history of the hot rod hobby. These are vehicles with amazing stories and journeys, and Steele is proud to help tell their stories to the world through [this award.]”
2014 Steele Preservation Award Recipient
Clarence “Slick” Patterson and his stunning 1939 Ford Convertible received the award in 2014. According to an excerpt from Steele Rubber’s blog, “The car was originally an award-winning show car from the 50s and 60s, but was unfortunately tucked away for decades.”
2015 Steele Preservation Award Recipient
This year’s recipient for the Steele Preservation award is a great example of the type of story and sort of car connection that resonate with Steele Rubber Products as a company.
Mike Stowe has had a long-running relationship with this 1940 Ford, no pun intended. “In April of 1958, after spending months trying to find a car to build, I was in Otisville, Michigan,” Stowe says when asked by Steele Rubber to shed light on the car’s history.
He continues, “Sitting in a yard was a 1940 Ford standard coupe for sale. With some tough negotiating I purchased the car for $125.”
Imagine negotiating your way through a $125 deal and coming out with a running and driving 1940 Ford these days. Nonetheless, there was something off about Stowe’s new acquisition. He’d noticed that it was running funny during his 50-mile cruise back home, “I decided to remove a head to check the condition of the motor. When I looked down the hole where the piston should be, I discovered one piston was missing. I was able to see the crankshaft with no rod in it.”
From 1958 to 1961 Stow wrenched hard on his ’40 Ford in an effort to bring it back to its former glory. He’d dropped a ’55 265ci V8 Chevy in place of the old mill that was missing a rod and piston. “At that time, I was driving a sierra gold 1958 Chevy Impala, so that was the color we decided on,” says Stowe.
When 1987 rolled in, Stowe gave the car’s almost-three decade old paint job an update. In 2001, that’s right, 43 years after purchasing his ’40 Ford, Mike still had the car in his possession–with no plans of getting rid of it. A TCI Engineering chassis and new aluminum-head 350ci revamped the old bones and heart of Stowe’s vehicle.
By 2012 Stowe’s vehicle had really been put through its paces. The Ford had been by Stowe’s side 54 years at this point, with two heart transplants and a rebuilt foundation, under its belt line.
“We put new quarters and a completely new paint job by Lewis Brothers. I was done with four speeds so we installed a new TREMEC five-speed along with a rebuild of an old Chevy motor that my dad gave me.”
Stowe concluded his recap of the history that he and his ’40 Ford have shared by alluding to what future plans hold. He had one simple, but simply smile-inducing response, “The goal is to wear it out again!”
From Stowe’s story we get a sense of what the preservation award truly represents. It’s not just simply about restoring a classic car–it’s about having the character to proceed through life while doing everything within your power to ensure that your vehicle is there to witness the changing of times and the evolution of the culture, right alongside.
Do you have a project that you believe exemplifies the essence of the Preservation Award? Be sure to comment with your story below, and don’t hesitate to reach out to Steele Rubber as well–you could be 2016’s Preservation Award feature, and in terms of what it represents, that is quite an honor.