We’ve all heard the acronym KISS, which loosely translated means “keep it simple, sir.” Oftentimes the simplest of ideas is the best. Simple can be better. Add in a touch of personalization and it’s easy to show how subtle changes can make a notable difference.

When it comes to wicked cars, Kevin Lavin of Princeton, Massachusetts, has experienced them since he was knee-high to a Deuce bumper, given that his parents always had hot rods and custom cars in the driveway. Kevin’s path in hot rodding was set and as he grew older he owned many stoke rides along the way. He often recalled what an impact the flowing lines and timeless design of Henry’s 1935 Ford coupe had on him as he was a growing up. Not wanting to lose any more years, he made the decision to start looking for one to convert.

While making late-night run searching the “information super highway,” Kevin came across a ’35 coupe that was being offered up in California. Their description of the car seemed far too familiar as he recalled having seen a very similar coupe in the New England region years ago. Sparking his interest, he immediately followed up and confirmed it was indeed the car he recalled, and that it was only a couple of hours away in the state of Maine. After contacting good friend Dave Simard, owner of East Coast Custom, the pair set out to inspect the car and unearth its past. Many times peeling back the cobwebs of time can be a haunting experience for a hot rod archeologist. Here, Kevin had stumbled on a car that was originally hopped-up in New Hampshire, close to 30 years ago, still sporting a dramatic black vibe over perfect vintage steel with a traditional business office and Flathead V-8. With its future in limbo, it languished over the last 10 years at Browns Used Auto Parts on Route 27 till it was offered up for sale. The car was straight and clean as advertised, but in dire need of some subtle changes to prepare it for the next chapter in the Book of Gow. A deal was made and the car was soon after on a trailer bound for Kevin’s shop to begin its reincarnation.

Evaluating the car from the bottom up proved that at some point along its journey, it had been treated to a ’40 Ford spine, which still possessed all of its factory underpinnings, with the exception of an updated ’42 Ford rearend and 3-inch dropped original axle. Stepping back and studying the car, Kevin noted that it wouldn’t take much to bring it from boring to bitchin’. Wanting to infuse a hint of post-war styling to the mix, the first thing to go were the red steelies and wide whites in favor of a set of vintage gloss black Kelsey-Hayes bent-spoke 16-inch wires capped with a set of Coker Classic big ’n’ little blackwalls. To inject the right attitude into the stance, Kevin mapped out some simple changes to give the car new life. He swapped out the rear ’42 Ford axles and housings with narrower ’40 Ford units, thus dialing in the required tire clearance to be able to drop the rear of the car 3 inches by adding a de-arched and reversed eye leaf spring. He then focused on the front end by removing the spacer above the front spring and was able to ditch 1 inch in ride height, completing the car’s newfound signature look. For power, a ’46 Ford Flathead capped with Weiand finned aluminum heads sucking air through an Offenhauser two-pot intake topped with a pair of Stromberg 97s has no problem making itself known. Kevin detailed the engine, adding an extra bit of dazzle with a chrome generator, oil fill, and coil, while also restoring the 97s to their original factory glory. A set of old chrome headers dumps the spent gases, while a ’40 Ford box makes gear changes a snap.