Black Beauty: 1940 Ford Coupe

The 1940 Ford is one of the most iconic designs of all time. Whether it’s a coupe, convertible or a pickup, their swooping lines and great styling make them some of the most desirable collector vehicles. This particular car is said to have been stored in a barn since 1970 and can be found here on eBay with bids going up rapidly as of this writing. The car resides in Red Oak, Iowa and definitely needs some TLC but should make a great project.

The driver’s door may be the worst part of this project.  The ad states that the door was left open while in storage and the barn roof leaked onto that spot rotting away the whole bottom of the door and most of the running board.  It’s a shame because the rest of the outside is fairly rust free.  This car appears to be very original and would make a great candidate for a restoration or a hot rod.

The engine is probably the stock flathead and is pretty rusty and crusty.  The ad doesn’t indicate whether it is free or when it last ran.  The new owner should likely plan on an engine swap or a very expensive rebuild of the current power plant.  There is no title included with the sale, so that may be a factor depending on how easy it is to transfer ownership in your state.

The interior looks very original with about twenty pounds of barn dust inside. Can’t you smell this car just by looking at the photo?  The upholstery probably isn’t salvageable, but the rest of the parts look like they can be cleaned up and reused.  The two-spoke steering wheel from these cars has been used on hot rods since the early days of hot rodding.  The gauges and trim look like they have never been touched along with everything else right down to the window cranks.  For someone who isn’t afraid to get a little dirty, this looks like a really good starting point for a fun project.


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  1. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Seems a steal, not many still barn “fresh” like this in coupe form. As long as it stays in the sub-$10k range it will make the new owner right proud!

    • steve

      I’m looking at about $2500 TOPS unless you have lots of time or lots of money to pay to make this girl ROAD READY cause it’s a long way from that

  2. Classic Steel

    Charge the battery and drive it home 😮

    It will look great when restored.

  3. Jay E.

    Thank goodness for the barn find movement, it wasn’t that long ago that a car like this would have gone straight to the crusher. Now it’s bid to nearly $5000.00!
    I’m guessing the door and running board probably looked pretty much like that when it was parked. Looks like something out of a period movie.

  4. John M.

    The 40 Ford Couple have long been a favorite for people in both the hot rod and drag communities right up there with the 40-41 Willys coupe and I believe that it was the car of choice for those running moonshine in the South back in the day.

    The tax man had a heck of a time keeping up with Henry’s coupe due to the mods made to the car’s Flathead V8 that kept the moonshiners one step ahead.

  5. PatrickM

    All that work plus no title??? $1,000.00 tops. I don’t care if it is a ’40 Ford Coupe.
    They are beautiful, but… Title searches are exhausting.

    • ChrisS

      What are some of the steps needed for a title search?

    • Richard Ochoa

      In Some states, nearly impossible!

  6. Jeff

    Did anyone notice it still has all four hubcaps, that is amazing considering its current condition!

    • Richard Ochoa

      It’s not a ’55 Olds with Accessory Spinners!!!!

  7. Rube Goldberg Member

    These were also the cars of choice for “Rum Runners”. I read, some of them good ol’ boys ran superchargers, and were pushing over 300 hp. ( when the cops had 85) Radio’s were a ways off, and they usually got away. Very cool find, wonder if this car ever “ran any ‘shine”.

  8. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’m seeing a major restoration project, there, but for someone with the skills, scratch and time, it would be well worth it.

    Rube, a well set up ‘3/8×3/8’ (271 inch) Flatmotor could produce around 300 HP with a S.C.O.T. blower installed. I had a buddy in SoCal who owned a ’38 Standard Coupe with that set up (ported and relieved, Offie heads, N-O-S Potvin cam, Kong Jackson ignition, a couple of leaky 97s, etc.) and it was both surprisingly quick and reliable. I spent a lot of happy times behind the wheel of that car, so I know first-hand.

  9. Del

    Where are the mice.

    A perfect Hanta Virus carrier.

  10. olddavidp

    Unicorn. I thought every one was long ago chopped and channeled with a 6-71 sticking up over the grille.

    • Bellingham Fred

      Very few 40’s were ever chopped, too many curves and the results were ugly, and few if any were channeled. I’ve owned my ’40 standard coupe for over 41 years now. This one needs a lot of work and a lot of parts. The parts are all available including a door. They aren’t cheap and they would add up to a hefty sum.

      • Wrong Way

        I would like to know if you put a 350 create motor in yours?

      • Bellingham Fred

        Wrong way, I bought the car with a 265 Chevy in it, 3 spd and a ’55 Pontiac rear. It got about 13 mpg. I put in a 327 with a turbo 350 and a 10 bolt with really high gears (2.56:1). It now gets 20 mpg. It has run 15.40 in the quarter and it has over 120,000 trouble free miles. I’m not into butchering firewalls or hunting down the right combination of oil pans, bell housings trans etc just to mount a Ford motor. A SBC fits like it was made for it, and mounts lower which means a lower center of gravity. That means better handling. I did use some Ford parts as it has a Mustang II front suspension. My philosophy is use what fits, what works. Don’t limit yourself to the same manufacturer as the car. If you were trying to put together a championship pro sports team would you limit yourself only to players who were born in your city or state?

  11. Canadian Mark S. Eh! Member

    I new a guy who owned a parts store back in the 80’s he built one of these into a very nice hot rod. All that he had to start with was a body shell, the rest he had to scrounge for. This will need a body off frame rotisserie restoration. This is a 10 year project for a DIY guy. It will have way more rust than your seeing here.

  12. RicK

    Unusual to see a 40 Standard model all completely original like this with its body color grille and headlite escutcheons and Standard only hubcaps (among other Standard-only features) seems like all you ever see at car shows are Deluxes. This should be restored as a Standard and not upgraded to a DeLuxe. Heck you’d save lots of $$ on plating! Be interesting to know if more Standards or DeLuxe models were sold in ’40

  13. healeydays

    Doors are out there at reasonable dollars. Found one on Ebay without much trouble for $200

  14. charlie Member

    One taillight on a Standard? I would at least add the right side. Ford had two models, Standard and Deluxe, and last year’s Deluxe became the next year’s Standard in trim unless there was a big change in the body. I had a ’40 Standard Station Wagon for a while, pretty basic car. $75 in the woods. Towed it home with my ’67 400 cubic inch Pontiac Bonneville, one would never know it was there until a wheel came off and rolled by me into the woods. Lesson 1: make sure the lug nuts are tight. Lesson 2: when you have an old wooden house, and three little kids, there is no time for a ’40 Ford with rotten wood, even if you have excellent woodworking skills. Sold it for $225 a year later with a few parts I had collected in the meantime.

    • Bellingham Fred

      I had the 1 taillight discussion just the other day with a gentleman who stopped by my place. He was of the opinion that all ’40 standards had 1, and why did mine have 2? I was of the opinion that the early models had 1 and after 1-1-1940 they had 2. I later Googled and found out we were both right, depending on the state, as this wasn’t a federal requirement.Only Washington and Missouri required 2. Fenders are interchangeable so many owners put on a deluxe fender. Other sources said the standard fender had a knockout to add a taillight. The taillight buckets on my ’40 standard are not the same left to right, it is a Washington car.

  15. B i 1 L from Dawsonville

    Found a STANDARD (thought one tail chevron was missing) at the end of a county line COAL road here in Virginia Big Valley. Driver’s door post floppy with rust, but otherwise same as you see here…all there, trunk full of jars in crates. Still (Ooooh !) where it stopped, thought of taking it as is to Dawsonville for Moonshine Festival in the fall.

  16. DavidL Member

    Can someone please explain to me the difference between the grills for 1939 and 1940? I’ve seen the grill on this one on a ’39 and now on a ’40 but a different pattern grill on another ’40 model. Personally I like the grill on this one better but that’s just me. Really appreciate an explanation.

    • Bellingham Fred

      With the ’40 Std grille all the grille bars are full length from top to bottom. To do this the grille bars are curved. With the ’39 Deluxe grille the grille bars are more or less vertical so the 1st 2 bars on the outer edges are shorter. The 40 Std grille was painted body color, but you usually see them chromed. I don’t know for sure but I think that is an aftermarket item. I can only load 1 image this is a ’39.

      • Bellingham Fred

        This is a ’40 grille

  17. Lawyer George

    The grille shown here is similar to the grille used in the 1939 Deluxe. As someone commented Henry used to take the Deluxe Grill design and apply it to the next model year’s Standard. The 40 Deluxe had a much more stylish grille that bumped out a bit. The 40 Deluxe was the best looking of the early Fords and many street rods were restored. I had a 39 Ford Standard which has an unattractive painted bulbous nose with little bright work. I never liked them, but the fellow who built mine chromed part of the nose to where it looked more like the 39 Deluxe and it complete changed the looks and made it more desirable.
    I now have a 1936 5 window Ford Coupe that doesn’t want to load tonight!

  18. charlie Member

    In the late 30’s early 40’s- and I think the ’40 was the last one, the previous year’s Deluxe trim became this year’s Standard trim, without the chrome on some of the parts.

  19. Jieinthousandoaks

    I like the 40 standard grille. Here is my sedan.

  20. geomechs geomechs Member

    Frustrating not to see these posts until they are several hours old. Must be aq glitch in the system. Anyways, for a car as complete as this one, the only thing to do is restore it, right down to the flathead. There’s a complete reproduction body for the hot rod crowd. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve seen some real nice hot rods but I really frown on someone taking a complete car like this and compromising it in any way. If you need to go faster drop in a souped up Merc. But leave this one where you can fix it up and drop it in when the time comes and you don’t want to go so fast…

  21. Andrew Gerns Member

    Personally, I would hate to see this chopped or hot-rodded. It deserves a total restoration. It is a complete car and deserves preservation. If performance is the goal, then I would follow what was typical of the time rather than make this a modern car in classic dress.

    • ctmphrs

      Every old car deserves to be improved,and a minor hot rodding is definitely an improvement. New disc brakes,greatly improved steering just makes it a better and safer car. You don’t need to make it faster.

  22. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    When I was a boy growing up on a rural farm north of Redding, California a classmate of mines older brother had a 40 mercury. They were very similar but had more chrome. Those cars were the favorite of young people for hot rodding. Cool looking cars then and now. Personally, I would shorten the rear of the car doing away with the long space between the door and the rear tire, also shorten the rear trunk by about 2 feet. Just my take.

  23. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Came close to the asking price. Ended: Mar 04, 2018 , 3:06PM
    Current bid:US $7,050.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 43 bids ]
    Price:US $7,500.00

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