The T Bird Deuce Story

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History of the T-Bird Deuce

The Mike Lowden, Belle River, Ontario. Canada

In 1955 Michael O’Byrne, of Dorchester Ontario Canada was a big stock car fan. Karlo and Hugo Rossini of Rossini’s Speed Shop in Chatham Ontario had a Chrysler powered 1932 Ford Cabriolet that they used to pace the races at Delaware Speedway. Inspired by that car, Michael decided to look for a ’32 Ford Roadster. Mike’s friend Jack Watters found one in Port Burwell Ontario, full of pine needles and delivered it to Michael’s Dad’s Ford dealership for $35.00. Mike started to build his Hot Rod, thinking he’d use a ‘47 Ford front end to get hydraulic brakes, he moved the cross member forward two inches to make up for the spring being ahead of the axle. Dad interfered though, and insisted he use a ’32 style axle with the spring on top, so Mike bought a new chrome plated dropped axle from Rossini’s for $20.00 and picked up a pair of aluminum headlight brackets while he was there. On Christmas morning, Mike’s Dad took him to the dealership where a 272 Y block engine, automatic transmission and many other parts he’d need were hanging from a chain hoist. Dad had purchased all of this from a 1300 mile wrecked ’55 Ford for Michael’s Christmas gift.

Mike got working right away, Z-ing the frame, rebuilding and installing a ’53 Ford pickup steering box. Stock car racer Al Mitchell supplied a three deuce setup for the Y block, and Mike bought a pair of leaky aluminum T Bird Valve covers from Shaw’s Auto in London Ontario. Zip Cole welded and leaded in the rear fenders and charged $35.00 for the task, exactly what Mike had paid for the car itself. Mike finished the car in Sherwood green metallic with a black interior and a custom white top.

After driving and drag racing the car for a short while, Michael decided it wasn’t fast enough and ordered a new 312 cubic inch Thunderbird engine through the dealership. An early crate motor. Mike had a great time with the car. He says... “There were no cruise nights like today, the only cruise we knew was to do the drag, Dundas Street, London, Ontario. This happened a lot, like every night if we could. There were a few others that did the drag too, looking for whatever we were looking for, girls, cars, cops on motorcycles etc. The corner of York and Talbot Streets was Ridler’s Hot Rod Shop. Guys like Keith and Doug Ridler, Al Wright and others were always there with girls and friends.

We often got bored and would drive to St. Thomas to do the drag there only to come back to Dundas (Street) to catch the girls coming out of a late movie, hoping to pick one up and take her to a restaurant for a burger and pop.