Old-School Custom! 1940 Ford Business Coupe

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The iconic ’40 Ford nose looks great from any angle, and many specimens, like this 1940 Ford Business Coupe in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, became hot-rods of various potency from the post-War era to today. Before fearing the worse from this rust belt classic, consider that it came to the Wolverine State from Tennessee in the ’90s, and appears fairly solid. Sometime earlier the Ford gained a Chevrolet 327 cid (5.4L) V8 and Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission. More than 15 bids here on eBay have set the market value above $8500 without meeting the reserve.

Speaking of iconic, the ’40 Ford’s Chevron Tail Lights have found their way onto a million other cars over the years. Not even lame $35 wheels from the ’80s can suck the coolness out of this Ford. The seller mentions that spacers were added to fit the GM bolt pattern. Fortunately almost any other option will represent an improvement, and you can sell these to your neighbor for his ’77 Malibu.

Later gauges stand in place of the Art Deco originals. The steering wheel appears to a ’42-’48 unit. The chrome horn ring lets you tell people what you think of their bad habits without removing your fingers from the wheel, freeing the other hand to punctuate your thoughts with a timely hand gesture.

The Edelbrock Streetmaster intake probably dates from the ’70s. Despite its modest displacement, the 327 came from the factory with up to 375 HP. One year the Corvette offered many engine choices, but all displaced 327 cubic inches. Suffice to say that power from this transplanted Mouse will be restrained only by the thickness of your wallet.

Enthusiasts of all generations can appreciate the badness of this classic from behind. The ’40 Ford made a capable moonshine runner in its time. Die-hards might appreciate the crackle of the original Flathead V8, but transplanting motors from one brand into another is as old as hot-rodding itself. A Chevrolet 10-bolt rear end and non-original leaf springs transfer the 327’s power 90 degrees to get you down the road. How would you change this custom Ford if it showed up in your garage?

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    How this car ever escaped being turned into a gasser, I’ll never know. And I’m sorry, people should go to Hades for putting a Chevy motor in a Ford. For shame,,,

    Like 34
    • David Duivesteyn

      It definitely needs a flattie back in it. If the new owner has a boat I know what he can do with the 327.

      Like 10
      • tommy

        naw 327 rocks fords in the day the sixtes

        Like 5
      • R E Holmes

        Real rods don’t have valve covers.

        Like 4
    • KurtMember

      There are many shops now advertising rebuild services for flathead V8s, so a beautifully detailed V8 with Offy heads and headers would win prizes this Chevy motor never will.

      Like 2
    • pugsy

      Nonsense….if you wanna get there, a Chevy mill is required.

      Like 2
  2. Chris in Clover

    if this were mine the drivetrain + wheels would be for sale & I’d be looking for stock replacements…..

    Like 13
  3. Mike

    Those chrome modular wheels have GOT to go! I think everyone had them back in the 80’s, including me! By the length of the tail pipes, I have to wonder if this car is/was a “flamethrower”. We used to do that by jetting the carbs super rich and running an extra coil wired to a spark plug in each pipe. Flip a switch inside the car and flames came out of the pipes. These days, I believe they use propane, but the rest of the system is basically the same.

    Like 4
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Looks a lot like the ’40 coupe the kids were driving in The Blob with Steve
    McQueen. The wheels and the gauges on the dash gotta go. Other than that,
    I’d get it sorted and use it as is. I think
    this could be a late ’60’s build by the looks of it. Saw a lot of these at the 1st
    Street Rod Nationals in peoria, Ill back
    in ’70. That’s when they built ’em right!
    BTW, I got the portrait of the ’37 Ford
    woodie finished, and I’ll send a pic along
    after my neice shows me how to do it.
    This car would look great with a set of
    American mags on it too.

    Like 3
    • Stillrunners

      39 D or 40 standard grille and 39 trunk handle so not sure it matters.

      Like 1
      • John

        40 Standard grille… 39 deck handle… 327… so what, it’s what happened through the years. Buy it & make it your own.

        Like 2
    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

      I was going to say the same thing about it looking like the car in Blob. I would sell the entire drive train, put in 90’s Lincoln town car drive train complete with a/c and 4 wheel disc brakes. Interior would be mohair as close to original as possible. Exterior color candy apple green. Wheels true spokes. Side pipe exhaust.
      God bless America

      Like 2
  5. Fred W

    It’s a Deluxe rather than a standard, but this ’40 coupe in the Muscle Car Museum near Gatlinburg TN, a former moonshine runner, purportedly has just 12,000 miles along with original paint and interior. Saw it in person a few months ago and believe the claim!

    Like 7
    • Bob

      I was always amazed how Ford must have thought that all smokers were left handed the way they placed that ashtray.

      Like 1
  6. bobhess bobhessMember

    One of the students in our college hot rod group had one of these. We talked him into putting a small block race Olds engine in it. He didn’t have the stomach for drag racing so he asked me to drive it for him. Like the old saying goes, “throw me into that briar patch!”. Still one of the prettiest auto sculpture out there. Guy down here has a convertible that he brings to the monthly show and shine that it’s hard not to drool all over.

    Like 3
  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    I was going to say the same thing about the Blob movie car. I agree sell that entire drive train, but I would put in a 90’s Lincoln town car drive train complete with a/c. And 4 wheel disc brakes. I like true spokes for wheels and candy apple green for the color. Mohair interior as close to original as possible.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  8. Fred Ray

    Does it run? Can you drive it

    Like 0

    I march to the beat of a different drummer I guess because to me this car is set up as a typical 60s hot rod and I definitely wouldn’t change anything but the wheels. I would probably go with steel wheels with baby moons. Do a little “tuning” on that 327 gear vendors overdrive and just cruze around. Can’t understand why some of my fellow posters want to put a modern Lincoln in, to me that kills the 60s vibe. To each his own as it should be.

    Like 4
  10. Rob S.

    Here is what this car should look like! (I chose to street rod it)

    Like 6
  11. John p

    Early steel wheels with appropriate caps-shorten the ugly exhaust-nose it down.. it’ll be perfect and timeless..

    Like 1
  12. bobhess bobhessMember

    Rang my bell Rob S. Beautiful!

    Like 1
  13. TortMember

    Steel wheels with Ford dog dish caps and though a Chevy guy in this case replace the 327 with a flathead with speed goodies. Like the steering wheel but not so much on the dash and gauge setup.

    Like 0
  14. Joe Haske

    It does have a mixture of parts, 40 Std grill, 40 Deluxe headligt buckets, 39 Trunk handel, and an extra tail light on the right side, if it is a real Std. 46 to 48 Ford steering wheel, dash to modified to know its orginality, but it is 40 Ford. The windshield is also 40 Ford. It is obviously a 40, just not sure if it was a deluxe or Std. all those parts will interchange. And then there’s the motor, get over it! I think there are more 40’s with SBC than flatheads, however the automatic and late rear end would be a little rare in the 60’s, for most Hot Rod’s.

    Like 1
  15. bog

    I’m of the Ford “camp” and would also ditch current drivetrain were it mine. It would be a hard thought choice to take it back to near original Flattie and running gear, but with brake upgrades, or one of many varieties of small block Fords. Having had both a stock ’50 Shoebox I rebuilt and a BOSS 351, you might see my dilemma. Perhaps a worked 289 with 3 Webers, as that’s a pretty engine and 5 speed stick. 9″ rear with traction-loc, and fairly stock appearing wheel/tire combo. And, as others have said, get rid of that dash for something close to original. Two childhood neighbors had ’40s, one like this in dark blue, the other a 4dr sedan in deep dark green. Lovely then and now !

    Like 0
  16. Kenneth Carney

    It’s a ’40 Standard. John Payne drove one
    in Miracle On 34th Street. You can tell by
    the painted window trim. It sure looked
    sharp in black! Rob, your car is gorgeous!
    Same thing I’d do, only make mine Butter
    Yellow with either the rims you have or
    a set of vintage Astro mags. Sold a print
    of this car painted Butter Yellow with a
    Black intetior. I was just putting my
    things away after sketching on my lunch
    break (the Taco Bell I worked at then
    allowed me to do that since they were
    featured along with me in a newspaper
    article in 2005 they wrote about me being
    legally blind and able to draw and sketch)
    when a customer walked up and asked
    me how much I wanted for the sketch of
    the Ford I had just finished. Sold him a
    9X12 inch print for $25 and he was happy
    to get it. Made close to $4K in print sales
    that spring and summer along with my
    regular paycheck too. What a good year
    that was!

    Like 3
  17. John

    O.K., Want a fantasy design? I.M.O., We don’t need more up-dated street rodded ’40 Fords… So let’s go old school street custom with highway gears. Put what ever you want under the hood. If you’re insecure & scared someone won’t approve of your engine of choice, leave the hood down. It’s no one’s business but yours, right? Make it safe & reliable and drive the wheels off it!

    Like 5
  18. John

    “Nuff said:

    Like 5
  19. Joe Haska

    Painted window trim, never heard that one before. What color should it be, the windshield looks like it might be chrome, side windows look like primer and the back window looks black. I do agree, if it was a bet ,I would say Standard also, my point is there are many differences ,and as far as I know, they are all interchangeable. I didn’t see the movie but I have owned three 40 Fords ,Standards and Deluxe.

    Like 0

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