Midnight Rum Runner: 1940 Ford


Ford’s like this 2 door sedan were quite popular with moonshiners in the 1940s and even into the ’50s. They have a decent amount of room for hidden compartments and with their V8 engines, they could outrun most police cars. This example isn’t the fastest of the ’40 Fords, as it came with the 60 horsepower flathead V8 instead of the bigger 80 horse engine, but it was still faster than many of the police cars still on the road when it was new. I doubt it ever saw use as a rum runner, but you never know! It’s been parked in a barn in Indiana and looks to be in great shape. It can now be found here on eBay in Avilla, Indiana with a current bid of $5,200.


The seller doesn’t seem to know much about this Ford, they initially stated it as having the bigger engine but quickly corrected their ad. At least they corrected their error! They also pointed out that they have to pull it out of the barn with a tractor, so we can assume that means it doesn’t run or that they haven’t tried to start it. These flathead V8s are bulletproof though, so I’d bet it could be made to run fairly easily.


I can’t help but wonder if the paint isn’t newer, given how shiny it is. Most of the interior has been redone, but looks correct for a car of this era. While having the interior already done is a good thing, it makes it seem more likely that the paint was redone too. What do you think?


With a good cleaning and a full service, I think this could be a great find. The running boards need work and I’d want to make sure there isn’t any nasty rust underneath. If everything is solid and the engine isn’t stuck, I’d get this sweet Ford back on the road and add a few minor upgrades to make it faster! So what would you do with this ’40?


  1. RicK

    Pretty sure it was 85 horse not 80

  2. RicK

    And 37 was the last year for the 60 horse

  3. RicK

    make that 38 the last year for the 60 horse

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi RicK. Actually the V8-60 was introduced in 1937. It was one of Henry Ford’s ideas that he hoped would satisfy the barrage of requests for a more economical six cyl. Henry Sr. HATED 6 cyl. motors, probably due to the problems with the Model K back in the pre-teens. The V8-60 did give better economy than the V8-85 but it was also gutless. It also cost almost as much to build as the V8. It lasted until the end of the ’40 model year. Henry finally gave in and allowed the six to be developed and sold for the ’41 year but many of us think that pressure from the War Department was what really brought the six about. In a ’41 Ford truck promo film, they show the V8-85, the V8-95 and the four cylinder but conveniently left out the six.

  4. RicK

    weird how the Standard model (like this one) only had one rear taillight

  5. RicK

    your program wont let me edit my comments as I write them like it usually does, as soon as i hit post, that’s it, no 5 min grace period like typically

  6. RicK

    okay I was wrong on the 60 horse motor, the Standard model came with it, the DeLuxe had the 85 horse

  7. Crazydave

    If stroked & poked, with a port & relieve job, a hotter cam combined with multi-carbs and decent dual exhaust, the ol’ flattie could be a respectable performer. A Mercury crank could buy some additional inches, too (instead of just a stroker crank)! “Warmed over” with period performance gear (available in current aftermarket) his would be quite the car show queen (and yes, I’d install the second tail-light, plus turn signals) for a nice driver

  8. Alan Brase

    Maybe, but it is a V8-60, I think. 17 studs. That is a nice car, but won’t outrun much. Better be the decoy car.
    BTW, Rum is made from sugar, and is a main product of the West Indies. Jamaica, etc. What I think, was run in these cars was moonshine. Home distilled corn whiskey.

  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    I love this car but I hate to think about this car having a speed contest with a Plymouth or a Dodge. The V8-60 might’ve had the rpms but the larger sixes had the bottom end torque. It would take a 6% downgrade, plus a tailwind and four men pushing to get a car that size with a full payload to move. 136 cid wasn’t a good prime mover for a full-sized car….

  10. Alan Brase

    Gee, V8-95? and four cylinder? They were still using 4’s in some applications in 1941? What was it, like a Model C? or a further developed 4?

  11. grant

    This is neat! Think I’d probably put another tail light on it. And there’s parts around to make those flathead move out. Nice find if it doesn’t get too insane.

  12. Rob

    Like I’ve said before.. stuff a ‘Built’ Flattie in it, like this :)

    • grant


  13. DENIS

    I love the car, but a big-block Olds would be going tween the fenders,,,sorry, purists, but I’m a rodder…

    • moosie Craig

      I know what you mean, I’ve got a ’40 2dr. sedan deluxe and a 500″ Caddy motor along with a TH400 that I’ve been wanting to do for a coupla years now, was on the look out for a decent Ford 9″,,,,,,,,, but health issues are running my life right now, maybe for sale,,,,,,,,,, sadly :-(

  14. Arve

    Simca do Brasil “Ardun” heads maybe. ;)

    • Alan Brase

      Simca do Brasil “Ardun” heads? Tell me more. Still, the V8-60 is pretty small displacement. I was thinking they mostly found homes in Midget racers.
      They had some wierd features, like the rod bearings were double wide and the pair of rod bearings floated in the rods, between the rods and crank pin.

      • Norm Wrensch

        All of the Ford V8’s from 32 to 48 had the floating rod bearings. I thought they we kinda neat.

      • Alan Brase

        I worked as a automotive machinist in a speed shop where I ended up resizing lot and lots of rods with a Sunnen precision honing machine. the head guy, my mentor, always thought having round rods the right size was one of the keys to keeping race engines alive. Just past the time of flatheads, tho. I did not realize
        ALL the v-8 had the floating bearings. A mildly modded flat head is a sweet thing, of course ARDUNS’s are the real answer. Do you know Ardun heads were were developed for and put on big trucks, specially those sold in the UK?
        F-6, I think. They eliminated the overheating problem at high loads.

  15. VR LIVES

    My Dad owned one of these, he was working at U.S. Rubber, which became Uniroyal after the war. He told me that car would ” git after it” pretty well. He drove this car a long time, I think his next car was a 1953 Desoto Firedome. He had very fond memories of this car though.

  16. Joe Haska

    40 Standard-one tail-light, one sun-visor LS, no front arm rests, only rear, standard dash different than deluxe, no clock, no chrome rings on steering wheel , usually no radio. If 60hp was not standard, there are very few 40’s with 60’s.I have only seen one..
    I sold my 40 2-door standard last year, it was a beautiful car, black paint, stock interior,white wall 16’s big/little’s, only modification dropped axel and a stone stock 265 Chevy, looking just like it did in 1955, with stock running gear and 3:54 ring & pinion. I drove this car from Colo.to Calif. with no problem. Also,with no air, radio, cruise, PW, PS, and it was a ball, I also drove straight thru, Denver to San Bernadino, one day. I paid 24K for it and sold 11/2 years later for 25K. I really thought it was worth more, but that seemed the going price, many buyers at 25, none at 26.

  17. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Henry still didn’t put the 6 in a truck until 1942. Most would say he borrowed the improved 4 cyl from the 9N tractor he had just put on the market – and he saw the war coming so gas would get scarce – he knew. This is just talking about the 4 cyl in the truck – he had been offering that V8-60 with a stripped down car running mostly the previously years deluxe front end on the cars.

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