Low Tow – The UK’s Ultimate Ford COE

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With Slam’d Mag’s mission of covering car cultures all across the globe, we hooked up with our friends at Superfly Mag in the UK. These guys have created a great community of passionate car enthusiasts from the UK, all across Europe, and beyond. With our partnership we’ll be swapping killer car features back and fourth and teaming up to bring you some truly unique rides every month! First up is this wild 1951 Ford COE owned by Steve Taylor. When we first stumbled across this beast online awhile back we began to dig for more info and realized it was the perfect debut vehicle for us to feature from the United Kingdom since as it turned out, our friends at Superfly already had an awesome photoshoot lined up.

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When we asked Steve Taylor about his motivation for building the ultimate COE wrecker he shared with us, “I always really liked custom cars of all sorts from an early age. My dad was an engine and motorbike mechanic, and always had nice cars. He went through a stage of motorbikes in the late ’80s, and then we started back in on cars, especially falling in love with American styles including owning every generation of Corvette from ’54 on.”

Steve went on to tell us that after the ‘Vettes they built a 1941 Cadillac Convertible, and then on to a bunch of trucks, which were all show winning vehicles. Steve was eventually so fully engulfed in building his own cars that he opened up shop as a premier custom builder in the UK. He had always wanted to build a one-of-a-kind tow rig so when he came across this Ford COE the visions began to occupy his every thought. Shortly after purchasing the Ford the game plan was a complete rebuild with intentions of slamming it flat to the floor. When we asked Steve what challenges he ran into when modifying the Ford to lay this low he casually replied, “Not a lot really, nothing stops me once I get something in my mind, right or wrong I always see it through to the end.” He went on to tell us that with this build he really just wanted to do something different, rather than the standard car / truck show builds he had been doing over the last 20 years.

“Not a lot really, nothing stops me once I get something in my mind, right or wrong I always see it through to the end.”

Slam’d Specs

Owner’s Name: Steve Taylor
Vehicle: 1951 Ford COE
Engine: Built 239 flathead
Transmission: T5 5-speed TVR
Chassis: 1996 Chevy Silverado
Country: UK

Photos: Superfly-Autos.com/iPad
Words: Mike Alexander

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Continuing to learn more about the build from Steve we asked him what his inspiration was for the overall look and he shared, “When I bought the ford there was quite a bit done to it already, but it desperately needed some major detail and character. I’ve seen lots of finished COEs but they tend to be haulers in the states, and I wanted a completly different look this time around so we went with the Texaco theme wrecker. Later on I might turn her into a functional hauler for the shop, but for now I’m pretty happy with the way she turned out.” Some of the major modifications included swapping the chassis over to a 1996 Chevy Silverado with a newer 2005 Chevy1500 rearend, which Steve mentioned was generally the most common way to update the COE to a more modern and reliable hauler.

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A believer in giving credit where credit is due, Steve let us know that if it wasn’t for friends, family, garage space, etc. it might have taken a bit longer to get her up to par. He also mentioned that some of the credit definitely goes out to Owen in Ireland who started the project and took it from a rusty shell, and has remained a good friend throughout the build. The engine/drivetrain comb is the original 239 flathead that has been rebuilt and “livened up” a bit. The flathead is coupled to a T5 5-speed TVR trans, bolted into the ’96 Silverado with an ’05 Chevy 1500 rear axle. Custom additions include adding the power steering, ididit steering column, Wilwood disc brakes, VIAIR Compressor and gauges with Firestone heavy-duty bags, No Limit Engineering one-off front clip and No Limit rear trailing arms.

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For the perfect stance Steve chose a set of 20-inch Torque Thrust wheels painted creme with Corvette spinners paying homage to the heritage. For the long hauls a pair of stainless steel 10-gallon gas tanks house the fuel, and Steve says the COE is capable of a respectable 17-19 MPG, which is nice since “petrol” is around $9/gallon in the UK. When we asked Steve if he has any more plans for his COE build his reply was awesome and very typical of a true custom car guy: “Nothing’s ever really finished right? I’d like to treat it to a re-trim over the winter and I’m still toying with the flatbed idea – but we’ll see how I feel, I’m not getting any younger!” Steve Taylor is definitely a man after our own hearts and we’re sure we haven’t seen the last of him! Click on the photos below to scroll through the full-size image gallery.


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