Michael and Cathy Loudermilk, of Troy, stand with their custom- built 1940 International cab pickup truck and 1966 Ford Mustang convertible.

Michael and Cathy Loudermilk, of Troy, stand with their custom- built 1940 International cab pickup truck and 1966 Ford Mustang convertible.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Custom-made pickup truck is built to last

By: Maria Allard | Metro | Published August 24, 2021

 Michael Loudermilk stands behind the open hood and engine of the 1940 International cab pickup truck.

Michael Loudermilk stands behind the open hood and engine of the 1940 International cab pickup truck.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

 Cathy Loudermilk, seated in her 1966 Ford Mustang convertible, has always been a fan of the Mustang model.

Cathy Loudermilk, seated in her 1966 Ford Mustang convertible, has always been a fan of the Mustang model.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

METRO DETROIT — What started out as “a big, old, ugly truck” was transformed into a shiny, custom-built vehicle when Michael Loudermilk flexed his mechanical skills.

With help from his son, Jason Loudermilk, Michael combined a 1940 International cab with parts of a 1993 Ford Explorer — including a chassis and drivetrain — to build his own pickup truck. The project began several years ago when Michael’s father, Charles Loudermilk, found the front cab, minus the truck’s body, via a neighbor in Commerce Township.

“It just had the cab,” Michael said. “It was pretty rough.”

When Jason decided to sell his “really rusty” 1993 Explorer, he didn’t get a good financial offer. So instead, Michael took the frame from underneath the Explorer to assemble his custom model pickup truck. The truck’s back fenders are from a 1923 Chevy pickup. Michael also found a Chevy bed on Craigslist and got to work.

“I brought it home and modified it to fit the truck,” Michael said. “We pulled the body off of the Explorer and just made the thing fit. It took about five years to make things complete. Everything in front is the original truck.”

Michael gave the vehicle two paint jobs to get just the right burgundy hue. Michael said he takes the vehicle out “whenever I can.” The Troy resident gets plenty of thumbs-up while out on the road. He’s won several awards for the custom truck at local car shows, as well.

“Two years ago, I had it in the Clawson (Lions Club) car show,” Michael said. “It did very well. It won a lot of trophies. I was glowing that day.”

At the same event, Michael’s wife Cathy Loudermilk’s classic 1966 Ford Mustang won a trophy.

“I do like getting trophies at the car shows, although I’m running out of room for trophies,” Michael joked.

The car shows have proved a great way to make friends.

“Anybody that goes to a car show is pretty friendly and likes to talk,” Michael said.

Cathy’s convertible Mustang was another find that needed some work.

“There was no engine in it. No floorboards,” Michael said. “I bought it for $800 and trailered it home. It’s a nice little car. It’s more comfortable to drive.”

With Michael’s help, Cathy made the two front bucket seats and a Mustang-themed quilt that is displayed in the back seat. Fuzzy black-and-white dice hanging from the rearview mirror give it the right vibe. Cathy has always been a Mustang fan.

“That was my favorite car,” she said. “When he found it, it was in pieces. He brought it home and totally redid it.”

One spot to always find Michael and Cathy is the annual Woodward Dream Cruise. Every year, the couple drives around a bit and buys event T-shirts, some of which Cathy has made into a quilt.

“I had one guy during the Woodward Dream Cruise pull alongside me and asked me to slow down so he could take a bunch of pictures,” Michael said.

Michael also owns a 1969 Ford Mustang that will become Jason’s. Michael and his other son, Chris, are working on another car: a 1950 Ford coupe. Once that is restored, Chris will own the car.

Michael not only works on cars, but created a backyard space that pays tribute to the American automobile. His sheds are decorated with various wall art reminiscent of a mechanic’s garage, car museum or the open road. There’s even an old-fashioned gas pump and a working traffic light.


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Do you own a vehicle that has an interesting history? Contact Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of Behind the Wheel.