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One Problem: 1940 Chevrolet Special Deluxe

1940 Chevrolet Business Coupe

This 1940 Chevrolet Business Coupe is offered for sale on the St. Louis, Missouri craigslist. While these shiny cars don’t normally attract my attention quite as readily as the true ‘barn finds’ do, this car looks good because it’s a little different than the standard 1940s cars that appear for sale all the time. First and foremost, it looks like the to-do list would be fairly short with this one. Plus the color is unusual, looks like it could be original and somehow works well with the body style.

stove bolt six

Under hood is a very original looking engine, the second generation “stove bolt six”. As V8 engines came into vogue, it seemed the six cylinders were looked upon somewhat derisively, but in recent years they are finally beginning to regain the respect they deserve.

Clean Interior

The ad doesn’t say so I’m going to guess it has the standard three-on-the-tree manual transmission. The body looks great and so does the interior. The trunk treatment, although not original, is very tastefully done and is probably quite functional. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Terrible Rims

Well, all except for one thing. The wheels on this car are nearly a blight on humanity. I’ve seldom seen a more incorrect wheel choice. They probably made the guys down at the discount boat trailer parts store very happy though. Since the rest of this car is so right on and wheels are the easiest mistake to correct, I still have to give this car a thumbs up. I agree with what the seller says, you couldn’t build it for the price. My own preference for this particular car would probably be Coker wide whites and hubcaps. Diversity is what makes the world go ’round though so what wheels would you put on it?


  1. Avatar photo RayT

    Stock wheels/hubcaps wrapped in Wide Whites would do it for me. Everything else looks okay. I’d also have to find out if these suffered from the later Chevy issue of a shift linkage that regularly stuck in second gear; my ’50 did that, and it was a real nuisance!

    I’m not sure if it’s really worth $15K, but I could be convinced!

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    • Avatar photo Clay Bryant

      I remember when I was a kid back in the 50s I saw one like this in a Butterscotch color but of course it wasn’t prepped out and reshot like this one. The seller is right on for throwing out that price. If you ever price any body or interior work let alone mechanical you wouldn’t hesitate a moment. I used to always tell people “It’s not what you give for something but what you get out of it when the funs all done”. The wheels can be “fixed” in an hour…………………….and to ray T. Sometimes on those linkages a simple washer next to the arm would tighten it up and kill the “slap”.

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      • Avatar photo Mark S

        My 70 Chevy half ton jammed up once in awhile too on the one two shift even had to teach my wife how to unjam it by shaking the shirt rod under the hood never did get to the root cause. As for the car what an old beauty but the wheels have got to go, maybe the seller still has the originals. You would not buy and restore a car like this for $15K this is a fair price and all the next owner has to do is maintain it and drive it nicely.

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  2. Avatar photo Gary

    or this?

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    • Avatar photo Jason Houston

      Excuse me while I find a place to …

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      • Avatar photo Al8apex


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  3. Avatar photo Vince Habel

    I remember seeing these made into a hardtop.

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  4. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    If that color isn’t factory, it sure must come close. Light colors of this era were rare and usually appeared only on convertibles. But you’re right, it’s definitely a stunning color!

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  5. Avatar photo 64 bonneville

    I would go with stock steelies and a standard (dog dish) hub cap, maybe, maybe not on the whitewalls. Back in the 20s’ thru the 40s’ seldom were whitewall tires seen, except on the really upscale cars, think Duesenberg or Aurburn or Cadillac.

    As a side note if the cover only covers over the lug nuts and wheel bearing hub it is a hub cap, if it covers the entire wheel it is a wheel cover. Not nit picking on terminology, just thought I would throw in some car trivia.

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  6. Avatar photo TBall

    Tires/wheels can definitely make a vehicle. Not a bowtie guy, but this is a great vehicle. Would make a great hotrod!

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    • Avatar photo Mark S

      Why would you hot rod this beautifully restored complete car. There are plenty of incomplete unrestored cars out there that would make better blank canvases. Where cutting and customizing wouldn’t matter. Please don’t buy this car.

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  7. Avatar photo Gary

    Wow, This one brings back some good memories, my first car in 1964 and the one I learned to drive with a 3 on the tree, darn old vacuum shift… My Father and I would drive on Sunday afternoon’s around town, he had it painted a medium blue color, I think it was tan originally. That little ’40 was nearly as clean as this one, sure wish I had it today!

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  8. Avatar photo TBall

    Having a bit of an issue getting photo uploaded, however my ’48 F1 had similar condition and wheels on it when I brought her home – tall profile tires in front, low-wide tires in the rear. She now has low profile wide-walls all the way around with chrome smoothies, looks much better. Thought about wide white walls but could not source them that were low and wide. Nice find, liking the color.

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  9. Avatar photo Dan

    Personally I kind of like the wheels on this car. I guess I go against the grain of most here but overall this is a great looking car and any “fixes” you would want to do are easy and cheap.

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  10. Avatar photo Fred

    I’m with you Dan, while I don’t think those are the ideal wheels for this car, I don’t find them offensive either.

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  11. Avatar photo ruxvette

    No wide whites, please. Either steel wheels, small caps, and original style big white trim rings or, preferably because it has been mini-hot rodded, a set of 5 spoke torque thrust wheels with black walls. Just sayin…

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    • Avatar photo Barry T

      As someone old enough to know, wide whitewall tires are a chore keeping clean. This is a very nice survivor, I would doubt it being an automatic as I don’t think Chevrolet would have had that in 1940.

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  12. Avatar photo Alan (Michigan)

    Easy to see the 3-speed on the column style shifter….

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  13. Avatar photo Ed P

    Great car. The color is very nice and I am not sure it is not period correct. The mods on this car are not extravagant and would not stop me from buying. The price seems fair.

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  14. Avatar photo charlie Member

    Ah GM, my ’69 Camaro, and my sister’s ’69 Nova, standard 3 speed, also got hung up. Since the Camaro was on the floor, you had to lie down beside the driver’s door and reach underneath to un jam it. Wife leaned how to do it, and did it several times at traffic lights when it got stuck in neutral. Nova was column shift, so you could unhang it from above. The 6, on the other hand, was called “Old Reliable” because it was.

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  15. Avatar photo rancho bella

    To shiny………..a result of clear coat mania. Next time to obtain proper shine……..use proper paint

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  16. Avatar photo racer99

    I just think it’s a neat way for someone who is not particularly mechanically inclined to get into the hobby. Wheels and tire combos are relatively cheap and easy enough to obtain to the new owners taste and what you end up with looks to be a well done driver level classic. You could spend a lot more and end up with a lot less.

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  17. Avatar photo Pete W.

    My ’74 Vega would hang up in the neutral to first shift movement all the time. A real PITA at stop lights. Even when new.

    Shimming the linkage with a few washers made it as slick as a Hurst.

    As to the car, period correctness says stick with black sidewalls (’64 Bonnie is right), dog dish caps, call it done.

    Very nice example.

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  18. Avatar photo Ed Williams

    I’m another one who likes the existing wheels on the car.

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  19. Avatar photo Wayne

    Apart from the wheels, the air cleaner looks completely out of place. If you can’t find a stock one, at least a larger one.

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  20. Avatar photo Oldstuff 1941

    Here is one of the original colors for the 41’s… I think it came for 40 also but may have been only on the Cabriolets…

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  21. Avatar photo Oldstuff 1941

    That is a very nice original 40 Coupe,… I think I read somewhere it was a ‘Businessman’s Coupe, which means no backseat from the factory…it seems to be done nicely back to original except for the trunk area,split exhaust manifold, breather and wheels.

    As for the wheels,… they are cheapies for sure,… even in the 6 lug configuration these cars came in… Probably why they are on there… the look is chrome for sure, but ‘bullet hole’ wheels are just not that attractive in my opinion also…

    Owning a 41 Cabriolet myself,… that is all original and wanting another style wheel instead of the originals,… I found out quickly,..your choices are limited by the styles available and high cost of fancy 6 lug wheels. The ‘breather’ is small and looks sort of out of place with just one carb,…they look much better on the dual carb set up. The thing is,… other than these small types there aren’t many styles available for the original 1 barrel small neck carbs unless you custom make them, or just chrome or custom paint some of the better looking original ones.

    Having owned several of these early 40’s cars, I can tell you that there isn’t a whole lot of stuff you can do if your trying to stay mostly original… with that in mind… the statement about the price… is right… you probably couldn’t buy a nice one and do what has been done to this one for that money… Bargains are out there in these cars,… but few and far between in this condition..

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  22. Avatar photo dj

    Chunk the buggy wheels and replace with steelies. And enjoy it like it is.

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