Hidden Restoration: 1940 Ford DeLuxe Convertible

It would seem that this 1940 Ford DeLuxe Convertible underwent a full, high-quality restoration some years ago. It was then used pretty sparingly by the owner before being parked around 5-years ago. That owner has recently passed away, and it has taken this sad event for the Ford to see the light of day once again. The Convertible is now being offered for sale in “as found” condition in a bid to settle the estate. Below the layer of dust lurks what appears to be a very nice car, and it looks like it won’t take a lot of effort to return it to a roadworthy state once again. The DeLuxe is located in Corona, California, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding initially opened at $100 but has now pushed on to $14,600. However, the reserve has not been met at this stage.

Below the layer of dust, the Black paint on the Ford looks to be in really nice order. It appears as though the car has remained under some form of cover during its 5-year hiatus, and this would help to explain why the dust coating remains relatively light. The seller says that there are no signs of any previous rust or accident repairs with the car, and it remains rust-free now. He supplies some photos of the vehicle’s underside, and it is spotlessly clean, with no signs of even a hint of surface corrosion. All of the external trim and chrome is present, and as is the case with the panels and paint, it all appears to be in great condition. One interesting deviation from standard is the soft-top. The late owner chose to fit the car with a LeBaron Bonney top, and the combination of black material and red piping really sets the rest of the car off nicely. Once again, the impressive condition continues here, with the top fitting nicely, with no signs of any damage or issues.

Powering the convertible is a 221ci flathead V8 while shifting duties fall to a 3-speed manual transmission. In original form, this engine would have been good for 85hp, but a few upgrades, all of which could be reversed with little effort, would have seen the engine breathing a bit better. These upgrades include a set of headers and a dual exhaust equipped with Smitty’s mufflers. This wouldn’t have resulted in a huge increase in engine power, but not only would it potentially be noticeable, but there is little doubt that the flathead eight would have sounded pretty nice into the bargain. The seller has made no attempt to fire the Ford back into life, because not only does he raise some questions over the state of the fuel in the tank at present, but he does feel that the motor should be treated to some proper lubrication before any restart is attempted. That sounds like a pretty wise seller to me, and I’m sure that the next owner will probably appreciate this cautious approach. Given the robust nature of the Ford flathead V8s, I suspect that it won’t take a lot of effort to have this one singing happily once again. However, a thorough check and inspection will be required before the vehicle could be considered to be in a fit state to hit the road.

The next owner certainly shouldn’t need to spend any money inside the DeLuxe, as all that would seem to be required is some detailed cleaning work. Apparently, when the rest of the restoration work was performed, the interior was treated to a full retrim. This was completed in burgundy leather, and it remains in great order today. In fact, the seller describes the interior leather as having a “new” smell to it. The dash looks really nice, as do the timber caps on the doors. The wheel is free of wear and cracks while looking around inside the car reveals that it is fitted with a clock and a factory radio.

I always feel a certain twinge of sadness when I see a car like this 1940 Ford DeLuxe Convertible, and I know that the owner has put so much time and effort into the restoration process, only to finally get limited opportunities to savor the fruit of their labor. This would have been a stunning looking car on the day that the restoration was completed, and there is no reason why it couldn’t be once again with a bit of time and effort. I hope that the next owner really appreciates and enjoys this car because it is something pretty special. Enjoyment. Isn’t that what classic car ownership is supposed to be all about? I think so.


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  1. Sherminator

    It looks showroom new! What a great find and I hope the person who ends up with it gets many years of enjoyment out of this beauty.

    Like 8
  2. JohnfromSC

    I think the seller is a bit uninformed about selling a car like this. Spend $500 to flush the fuel system and lube it, then detail it and now you have a running driving beautiful car that will bring top dollar versus something with questions.

    Like 13
    • Little_Cars

      Judging by the other cars this dealer has for sale, (Shelby, Lancia, Thunderbird) they should have the resources to do just that. They are taking an overtly frugal approach to selling this well-sorted older resto.

      Like 10
      • fjcappy Member

        Little_Cars I do in fact have the resources as you suggest. I deal mostly in estates, and some need to move at a faster pace then others. We have a plan to recommission the 40 Ford if we do not find a buyer in the next few days, but I have also found some buyers like to do the work including pulling a car out of the “Barn” themselves. This is why I put it out there.

        Like 2
      • fjcappy Member

        @Little_Cars You are correct I have the resources, and a plan to do just that next week. I elected to get it out to the car community prior to recommissioning. I find some buyers like pull the find out of the barn so to speak. If I do not find that buyer the car will be back up on Barn Finds in a couple of weeks shining, running, and driving. I do have a couple of local old school SoCal hot rodders coming to witness the removal. Others are welcome if they give me a call.

        Like 3
  3. Fred W

    California car, with a quality top that show the owner spared no expense, sitting only 5 years under a cover. This one is going to bring top dollar.

    Like 11
    • John Cialini

      Yes Indeed, much above the 16k that it’s at now! I had a 40 Ford Coupe.

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    Just take it over to my place and drop it on my driveway. Wishful thinking of course. The ’40 Ford Deluxe will live on to become the ultimate Mom and Pop classic. You have to give credit to Edsel Ford and ET Gregorie for coming out with this gem. The car at the right place at the right time. It would be a bigger plus to have the original engine but with Ford’s rebuilding program the vast majority of flatty’s were swapped out for reman versions. The owner/maintenance manual for my ’47 outlines how to prepare a reman engine for installation and how to prep the core engine for shipment.

    Like 5
  5. Gaspumpchas Hulsizer

    John makes great points. Of the few pics of the body, 3 of them still have the cover on the top part of the car. Take the dang cover off so the prospective buyer can see it! And spending the $$ to have someone go over the car, so you can present a running vehicle for sale. This beauty is too nice for anything less. Good luck. Nothing prettier than a 40 Ford! Stay safe.

    Like 3
    • Wayne from oz

      It seems strange that photos 4 and 5 show no cover on the car, yet there are no photos of the full uncovered car.

      Like 1
      • fjcappy Member

        @Wayne from oz There was so many parts and dirt in the garage I could not get far enough back to get good shots. I will have it cleaned up soon.

  6. Joe Haska

    Just from the photos , I would speculate, this is one of the nicest examples of a 40 convertible, you will find. The bid is now about 20K , I am anxious to see where this ends up, as it is a barameter, of what the market is at now. The last two 40 convertibles, I was involved with , about 4 years ago, were indicators of the price then. One was very close to this car ,restored, excellent condition, paint ,interior, beatuiful flathead and Columbia rear end. We traded for a 2016 Corvette rdstr , triple black. Then sold the 40 for 60K, about right for all involved.The next convertible was highly modified, LS, auto, 9inch, ac, disc brakes, mustang II, all the bells and whistles. Origial looking, needed paint and cosmetics to be outstanding. Sold for 40k, buyer still has it and hasn’t changed it much, not sure if he could get 40K for now. My point being 40 Convertibles have always been, blue chip but the market is deminishing, for the same reason, this car is for sale. Not long ago these cars were 50K and the best ones were pushing 6 figures. For guys like me these are great cars and I would love to have them, however my DOB is almost as low, as the year of these cars, do the math!

    Like 4
  7. Sam Dibitonto

    I live about 400 miles from the car, so it would be a cash sale if the Dealer would do the goodies to make it roadworthy.. I am a 90 year old car nut who has had a NUMBER of 40.s Fords and this one looks good.

    Like 6
    • fjcappy Member

      @Sam Dibitonto I will be removing the Ford from the carport Saturday. Give me a call. My number is in the eBay ad. There are are a couple of other guys coming over to see it. If you like what you see make an offer. I may take it. We will also be moving a lot of parts. My guess is at 90 you are still stronger then most of us. You can give us a hand.

      Like 1
  8. Richard Van Dyke Sr

    Bidding is over $20,000 now. This is my dream car but Unfortunately my dreams don’t have the cash.

    Like 1
  9. Capt. Doug

    One of the top blue chip collectible cars in the affordable range. Nice to see it not modified too much, if the reserve is not too bad it will sell before the current owner takes it to his shop as mentioned in his ad and gets it looking much different and way more expensive
    It will be a source of pride and joy to the next driver.

  10. 1-MAC

    Whoever gets this, please no street rod laid on the ground. Originals are hard to find and a crime to destroy.

    Like 3
  11. Stevieg

    I really like this car a lot! Sure wish I had the money for it.
    I am currently working on a 1951 Pontiac convertible. Considering I wasn’t even born until 1970, I am really into the older iron lol.
    Since I know I can’t get this one, I would love for Sam Dibitonto to get it. It sounds like he might be the right buyer for it.

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