Almost Ready to Rumble: 1940 Ford Coupe

The 1940 Ford Deluxe marked an end to Ford’s first effort to modernize its styling. Oval headlights were incorporated in the fenders and the sharp prow of the nose carried a vertical grille. Starting in 1941, Fords became longer by six inches, heavier by 150 lbs on average, and more bulbous looking. This demarcation leaves many Ford fans favoring pre-1941 cars. Here on eBay is what may be the quintessential example of Ford styling, a 1940 Ford coupe. Decked in black paint that the seller says could use a refresh, this driver is bid to $20,300 with reserve not met. A buy-it-now price of $28,000 is an option. The car is located in Bridgewater, Massachusettes and we have Larry D. to thank for the tip!

The venerable 221 cu. in. flathead V8 produces 85 bhp and is coupled to a three-speed manual transmission. Ford’s early DNA was a product of Henry’s stubborn theory that he was already offering what was best for customers, so it took some two years after other makers incorporated column shift for Ford to finally follow with its “Finger-Tip Shift”. Customers liked this arrangement because it left room for three adults to sit abreast on the front bench seat. The seller has had this car for over five years, much of that time in storage; he got it running last year but says it still needs TLC. He notes that the odometer reading of about 55,000 miles is original.

The interior photo is truncated so we cannot see the seats, but the seller notes that he has new seat upholstery that needs to be installed. The door panels have been renewed. The tan and maroon color scheme of the dash was common to all Deluxe models. The rectangular gauges were also an update for the Deluxe, viewed as more modern than the round versions of earlier years. Two ashtrays – one on each end of the dash – were yet another new feature. There should be a clock inset into the glovebox door, which we can’t quite see.

There’s nothing quite like a ’40 Ford coupe; this rear photo emphasizes its long sloping back, twin rear windshields, and chevron tail lights. The seller notes that all the body panels are original and there’s no rot on the car. This car might be a great foundation for a hot rod, but I’d rather see it remain stock. What do you think – what’s the best strategy for this one?

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice car but l would feel much better driving it around with two taillights, not just one. Beautiful design work on these old cars.

    Like 10
    • RH FACTOR

      I think you could get it with two, but it was an option?

      Like 1
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      In all these years, all of the ’40’ (or at least what I thought were 40’s) Fords that I saw growing up (which wasn’t a whole lot, in fact it was one guy that owned them all) had 2 taillights. I knew older cars only had 1 taillight but never a 40 I knew about.

  2. Tooyoung4heyday Tooyoung4heyday Member

    Agreed, two taillights would be better not only functionality wise but for proper symmetry. Ive always been a huge fan of these. How can you not love these lines?!? Stock or hot rod? Still undecided but I’d just love to have it period.

    Like 7
    • Paul

      So this model originally only had tail lights on left rear fender?

      Like 1
      • Wayne

        Yes , standard had one tail light , deluxe two … FYI the 1939 deluxe, has a diffrent grille from 39 standard The 40 standard had the the deluxe grilke from 39 , the 40 deluxe had a fancier grille . 39 taillights tear drop . 40 sergeant stripes

        Like 11
      • Bellingham Fred

        The ’39 Deluxe grille is similar to, but not the same as a ’40 Standard. Just as the ’39 Standard is similar too but not the same as a ’38 Deluxe, also applies to ’38s and ’37s. The ’40 Standard grille was body color from the factory, many were replaced with a chrome version. (After market?) Lots of ’40 Standards have 2 taillights, either by swapping out for a Deluxe fender, or by adding a taillight assembly to the original.

        Like 4
  3. Clay Harvey

    This is a nice old Ford, very tempting

    Like 3
  4. Norman davis

    not one person noted that this is a stand 1940 Ford if it a deluxe it would have had two tail lights

    Like 6
    • junkman Member

      You are correct Norman, this is a “standard coupe”, someone changed the headlight bezels to chrome to pass it off as a Deluxe.

      Like 3
    • Tooyoung4heyday Tooyoung4heyday Member

      Grille would be chrome and have more chrome trim as well.

      Like 2
      • frank

        This is a Standard. The Deluxe grille had a smaller chrome center grille with a louvered panel on each side, two taillights, chrome headlight rings, etc. I much prefer this grill and the teardrop taillights. The twin to this car was in the town next to ours about 20 years ago. It got traded in at the Ford dealer by the original little old lady owner on a Tempo I recall the saleman saying. It had under 30,000 miles on it and looked like it just came off the assembly line.

  5. Howard A Member

    Sometimes I tire of repeating myself, but its for the greater good, and I like the authors descriptions, but authors when presenting these always seem to miss, perhaps because of their age, this, I believe, is called a “business coupe”, and was #1 with illegal booze runners. Someone may correct me, but initially created for salespeople, that had product examples or literature, before TV, one had to physically get “out there”, to sell anything. Junior Johnson claims he got his race car skills running moonshine in a modified 1940 Ford business coupe. Modifications included, 3, 2 barrels, better cam, false back floor, a Columbia O/D, bigger tires and steel bars for shocks. They easily outpaced police cars of the time, and that’s what I’d do with this, even though I don’t drink, a tribute to our scofflaw predecessors that had a heavy foot. I think I could’ve done that. It was unquestionably, a beautiful design.

    Like 6
    • Cadmanls Member

      Howard I’ve got a Columbia rear axle. Three carbs look nice but you forgot you have to relieve the block and run a pretty stout cam to use them, those flatties don’t breathe too well. Two carbs work quite well with what they called a 3/4 race back in the day duals and those Smitty mufflers and some better heads to up the compression. Your not the only old guy here!

      Like 5
    • Archie

      Over my ‘puter monitor is a print of a painting of Junior Johnson and his friends in the “Licker Business”. It features his 40 Coupe, that I believe he still had when he passed away and they were working the still.
      For a time the car was in the Richard Childress museum in Welcome NC.
      The car was like new when I saw it and was said to have not been restored.

      Like 2
  6. Joe Haska

    This is a very nice 40 Coupe. Obviously, in its 80 year life it has survived a lot, and people’s memories, have too. It is a standard grill ,one taillight, probably one sun-visor, also various interior trim pieces, such as the clock in the glove box door and radio, are considered standard pieces. Of course many of the items are interchangeable and were done a lot, such as Deluxe Headlights Doors with sealed beams . The price on this car seems very fair. I would do just what I did to my 40 2-door standard a few years ago. Dropped axle, stock small Chev V-8 ,ahead of stock running gear and appearing totally original, 16″ tires , small caps and rings. No bells and whistles, no radio, no heater, no A/C, and I drove it everywhere everyday ,including from Colo. to Cal. and back. Loved that car. Now, you can attack me for destroying a classic and topping it off by putting a Chevrolet in a Ford, and driving it like I stole it. While you’re at it tell me what you have driven, in the past 65 plus years and we can compare notes.

    Like 3
  7. Joe Haska

    This is a very nice 40 Coupe. Obviously, in its 80 year life it has survived a lot, and people’s memories, have too. It is a standard grill ,one taillight, probably one sun-visor, also various interior trim pieces, such as the clock in the glove box door and radio, are considered standard pieces. Of course many of the items are interchangeable and were done a lot, such as Deluxe Headlights Doors with sealed beams . The price on this car seems very fair. I would do just what I did to my 40 2-door standard a few years ago. Dropped axle, stock small Chev V-8 ,ahead of stock running gear and appearing totally original, 16″ tires , small caps and rings. No bells and whistles, no radio, no heater, no A/C, and I drove it everywhere everyday ,including from Colo. to Cal. and back. Loved that car. Now, you can attack me for destroying a classic and topping it off by putting a Chevrolet in a Ford, and driving it like I stole it. While you’re at it tell me what you have driven, in the past 65 plus years and we can compare notes. P.S. The ill fitting hood is a stock Ford item.

    Like 1
  8. John

    Looks like a great example of a great car.
    I hope it gets restored, not hot rodded.
    I genuine piece of American automotive history.

    Like 6
  9. OldCarGuy

    Nice to see the 1940 Mass license plate on the passenger floor.

    Like 1
  10. moosie moosie

    A lot of people have noted the differences between a ’40 Standard & a ‘ 40 Deluxe. No one ( except for Michelles erroneous description) has mentioned that the instrument cluster is different between the two models speedometers , the Deluxe being linear as opposed to the Standards half moon shape. The ancillary gauges are positioned the same for both models. Deluxe has a small window for the odometer making the cluster bezel different. I had the pleasure of owning a ’40 Deluxe Tudor Sedan from 1994 to 2017, and absolutely loved every mile driven in it.

    Like 2
    • Bellingham Fred

      All Standard’s dashes were painted the color seen in the photo Briar-wood brown. A deluxe would have a 2 tone dash. The Standard didn’t have a clock in the glove box door. The Deluxe also would have chrome strips above and below the clock, and above and below the ash trays.

      Like 2
  11. moosie moosie

    July 4th Parade in Narrowsburg N.Y.

    Like 2
  12. Norman Young

    Howard, you are correct. This is a “business coupe”. The extra long trunk give-away IS for the purpose of carrying product/samples whether legit or moonshine. The standard coupes were much shorter, at least a foot.Judging by the asking price here, I should’ve bought that good ’36 Chrysler bus coupe for $75 when I had the
    chance back in the day. Norm

    Like 1
  13. Joe Haska

    The 40 Coupes were the Standard no back seat and the Opera that had 2 side fold down seats ,very small and not comfortable. The 42 to 48 Coupes, had a business coupe no back seat and deluxe with a back seat, they were also called long doors and short doors. they had a very different looking profile.

    Like 1
  14. gaspumpchas

    IMHO one of the most beautiful cars ever. So many of these beauties were turned into stock cars. Have a friend who recenly purchased a 40 or 41 coupe with a 265 chevy and factory column shift. It was such a sanitary installation that you would swear it was factory, used the early manifolds to clear the original column. Car was a 50’s build. even though its a bowtie Mill, its a beautiful AMERICAN hot rod. Good luck

    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 1
  15. George Birth

    Nice car, would look great if restored and add a second tail light.

  16. John C.

    Fred is correct in his descriptions, I had a 40 Standard opera coupe, very rare combination, it had painted headlight rings which were correct. I paid $400.00 for a restored heater like this one has 25+ years ago, they were very hard to find, mine had a heater in it but someone took it out and I wanted to make it correct again. This is a nice find.

    Like 1
  17. Larry Ashcraft

    This is a standard coupe. The deluxes had a horizontal grill, two taillights, wipers, and sunvisors. My ’40 coupe is a deluxe business coupe, with a 1953 Mercury flathead V8 and the Columbia overdrive. Yes, Ford advertising said you could get three adults in the front seat. That was pretty optimistic. I suppose you COULD, but the would have to be skinny people who liked each other.

    Also, just a minor nitpick, Michelle. I enjoy your writing and knowledge, but there is no such thing as a “rear windshield”. Windshields are in the front, and the rear window is referred to as “rear wondow” or “backlight”.

    Like 1
    • Larry Ashcraft

      Oops, “window” not “wondow”.

      • Michelle Rand Staff

        Thanks, Larry, I will try to remember the windshield/window thing.

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