Larry Way’s 1940 Chevrolet Coupe Street Rod

Larry Way's 1944 Chevrolet Coupe Street Rod

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I don’t believe Larry Way has ever experienced middle-age. He is too happy. He has a youthful insouciance that radiates from his boyish looks, contagious enthusiasm and buoyant gait (he walks six miles a day). He is content with his life spurred on by his love for his career as a professional event producer with his company, Way Productions, or-ganizing major events, usually car shows, across North America. In his golden years, it is only the number of arteries left that prevents Larry from working 7-days a week, but he’ll fit in a remarkable nine shows this winter trekking from Ottawa to Houston. “I do a lot for different charities. I am just Larry Way, a guy from Rockland. I live a blessed life and I am thankful each and every day. I still judge a few shows, I produce car shows, I do public relations at shows, set up promotions, book celebrities, and work as a celebrity handler. There is never a dull moment in my life,” declares Larry with a confident nod.


He practically knows every TV and sport personality since the 1970s (the cast from Hap-py Days, The Dukes of Hazzard, American Graffiti should give you an idea) to the pre-sent, most of whom have signed the dashboards of his cars, not to mention, his guitars and other paraphernalia that adorn the walls inside his house. It isn’t uncommon to see autographs from Henry Winkler, Catherine Bach, Chip Foose, George Barris, John Schneider, Tom Wopat, Linda Vaughn, Paul LeMat, Candy Clark, Cindy Williams, Danny Koker, and Ashley Force, just to name a few, scribbled on their photographs with some sort of endearment to Larry. “Every signature brings back a memory,” Larry fondly re-calls. “I’ve developed great friendships with these people. How many people can claim that?”  


He owns nine other vehicles and not a minivan in sight. Stabled in his garage is a 1928 Ford Roadster, a 1929 Ford pickup, a 1953 Hudson Hornet, a 1960 VW Beetle, a 1967 Chevelle, a 1971 Ford Maverick, a 1992 Camaro Z/28 convertible, and a 2006 Mazda Miata. One of the vehicles is a customized Mustang show car that only George Barris could have designed, housing a dual turbo welded together, requiring an extended hood and finished off with a Corvette rear. But his pride and joy is a street rod that he has had for over 46 years clocking over 202,000 miles — a buxom 1940 Chevy Coupe with more curves than the Nurburgring circuit. Turn the ignition on and the primordial rumble of the 355 cu. in. Chevy V8 engine alone will offend the politically-correct. It has taken Larry across North America trouble-free. “There are no cons. It is a great car,” states Larry. “Three years ago I took Joe and Amanda Martin for ice cream in this car. Joe has been building cars and motorcycles his entire life. They have a TV show, Iron Resurrection. Joe kept saying what a great car this is. It goes down the road fantastic.”


“I wanted a street rod. I really wanted a coupe,” remembers Larry. “I sold my first street rod, a 1935 Ford coupe in 1975. The summer of 1976 I did not have a street rod and I craved for one.” Considering this Chevy was used as a street and drag car, the car was in remarkably solid shape probably because the previous owner lived in the mild-climate of British Columbia. It only required some TLC and mechanical work. When Larry wants something, he usually buys it immediately. In this case, Larry traded in a 1973 GMC Sprint and some molah and drove the Chevy home. And drive it he did, adding 152,000 miles since its purchase. “It is me. I have had it for so long. Everything        mechanical has been either replaced or updated at least once. It has been painted several times (from yellow to burgundy to its present Black Rose), three engine changes and several mechanical upgrades over the years. It has a Camaro front sub frame. It has power steering, power disc brakes, power trunk, power seat, tilt wheel, cruise control, electric wipers and a killer Clarion stereo system. It’s basically power to the max.” And thank goodness for power steering. Can you imagine travelling cross country without it?” Driv-ing a car without power steering is like trying to turn the radical Left’s obnoxious opinions. “It’s like trying to turn a 2-ton anvil,” says Larry emphatically. “You have to wrestle with it as the steering wheel spins around endlessly like it’s not attached.”


As for the original 1940 Chevy Coupe, its long sloping rear end, long flowing rear fend-ers, longer wheelbase, and tiny rear windows accentuated the Coupe’s more seductive and powerful stance than the sedan, reaching speeds of 125 mph. In fact, racing legend, Juan-Manuel Fangio won the epic 6,000-mile marathon in 1940 behind the wheel of a Chevy Coupe. “You can drive it with two fingers at 70mph,” articulates  Larry. “There are 30 celebrity autographs on the dash, glove box door and sun visors. This car is so much fun to drive. I play 60’s and 70’s music, sing along and cruise down the highway. When I consider how many hours I spend in my car for business, I’m sure it has taken up half my life.” It is estimated by Road & Track magazine that by 2741 people will be spending 24 hours a day in traffic. I’m dubious. By 2741, either there won’t be any cars or they’ll be too expensive to purchase. As the late writer, J.P. O’Rourke said, “This is the kind of thing that men used to do for a living before computers began simulating all the enjoy-ment in life.” 


Apparently, the average age of a car on the road is roughly 12 years, but as electric cars increase in popularity, the median expiry time will decrease. Miles Collier, founder of the Revs Institute and renown car collector, believes that “the automobile is the single fast-est-growing platform for computing power. So like the iPhone, it’s capable of fantastic feats of technological virtuosity. But it’s unfixable and unmodifiable. The only way we can advance is to junk the one we have and get a new one, like we do with our phones. So it’s going to be hard for most cars of today to occupy that place in our hearts and minds that older cars have for many people.” The other problem is who from the Gen Z and af-ter, will be able to repair an old engine? Convenience is the mantra. “I’ll just replace it” seems to be the right of passage. “What this car gives me is pride,” confirms Larry. “I see a lot of people smiling and giving me the thumbs up salute. They often ask me about the history of the car. I’ve met more good friends through this car, then from anything else. That’s quite a testament and I intend to drive it forever.”
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Larry Way's 1944 Chevrolet Coupe Street Rod

Larry Way's 1944 Chevrolet Coupe Street Rod

Larry Way's 1944 Chevrolet Coupe Street Rod

Larry Way's 1944 Chevrolet Coupe Street Rod

Larry Way's 1944 Chevrolet Coupe Street Rod

Larry Way's 1944 Chevrolet Coupe Street Rod

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About Clive Branson 49 Articles
Clive Branson is a photography graduate from Parsons School of Design in New York City and has since divided his career as an advertising creative director/copywriter and as a freelance writer/photographer. He is the author of Focus On Close-Up and Macro Photography and numerous articles for magazines and newspapers throughout North America and Britain. Clive lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario.

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