When you step into Doo Wop Rods, it’s like stepping back in time. Sock-hop music plays on the radio, black and white photos and old gasoline signs blanket the wall and a few old cars lay about Ardmore resident Mike Stearn’s shop.


When you step into Doo Wop Rods, it’s like stepping back in time. Sock-hop music plays on the radio, black and white photos and old gasoline signs blanket the wall and a few old cars lay about Ardmore resident Mike Stearn’s shop.


Stearn has been interested in cars, specifically hot rods, since he was a young boy growing up in Tulsa. He said his father owned a service station in Tulsa, and from a young age he was working on cars. At the age of 16 he got his first car, a 1950 Ford Club Coupe.


“I hot rodded that, and that’s what started it all,” he said. “I just grew up around cars and had a strong mechanical aptitude, how I got into accounting is a different story.”


After serving in the Navy in the Vietnam War, Stearn made use of the GI Bill and attended University of Tulsa. He had been an accountant in the Navy, so he decided to continue along that path. With a war and an accounting degree behind him, Stearn once again began cultivating his passion for cars.


He became interested in British sports cars back in the heyday of MG, Triumph and Lotus, but building American hot rods was always in the back of his mind.


I did that (work on and own British sports cars) for years, but I didn’t take it too seriously,” Stearn said. “I got real busy in my career and I didn’t have a lot of time.”


He  and his family moved to Ardmore in 1978, where he eventually got back into hot rods. Stearn built his first hot rod since he was a kid, a 1930 Model A V8 Hi-boy, in a single-car garage next to his house. When he retired in the early 1990s he thought long and hard about his retirement. He said the best thing he could come up with was building hot rods.


“I just wanted to go back and do everything that I wanted to do as a kid,” Stearn said. “We played around with these things (hot rods) as a kid, but I never had the money to do it right, now I can.”


In preparation for retirement, Stearn purchased a 9,400-square-foot garage off of Moore. After fixing it up, he moved his tools and various car parts stashed all over Oklahoma into the newly established Doo Wop Rods.


He specializes in turning dilapidated old Model A Fords with the flathead V8 into hot rods. His collection includes numerous Model As, a sweet cherry-red MGB he built for his daughter, a couple 1930s and 1940s pickup trucks, a 1916 Dodge Brothers roadster and numerous others in various stages of restoration. His centerpiece and current project is a replica of the Model A racecar his cousin Don drove in the 1960s and 1970s.


“When I’m done building it, I’m just going to give it to him and let him drive it ‘til he’s done with it,” Stearn said “He’s always been kind of my hero and mentor. He is the guy that knows everything about this old hot rod technology.”


Stearn does not build these cars for money. He spends his free time as a retired man doing what he loves. He has built a car for himself and his daughter. His current project will be given to his cousin, and his next project is a truck for his wife.


“I just build them. I’ve already made my living,” Stearn said. “This is the way I wanted to spend my retirement.”


Stearn did say that he would build the right car for the right person at the right price, but he doesn’t have any immediate plans to sell his work. He would rather simply turn his wrenches than turn a profit.


“I always planned for this, but this is way beyond anything I dreamed,” Stearn said. “I just get to come over here and do what I have always dreamed I would do after retirement.”