Original Paint? 1940 Ford DeLuxe Convertible

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This 1940 Ford DeLuxe Convertible still wears all of its original paint and is a rust free car that is in impressive condition. All is not what it seems though, because it does hide one big secret. We’ll get to the secret in due course, but let’s look at the rest of the car first. The Ford is located in Templeton, Massachusetts, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $55,000 for the DeLuxe, but the option is available to make an offer. Judging by the text in the listing, that might be an option that is worth investigating if this just happens to be a car that ticks all of the boxes for you.

If the owner’s claim that the Ford is wearing its original paint is correct, then it has certainly held up well over the past 79-years. It has rubbed through to the original undercoat on the hood and trunk, but it still has an impressive shine to it. The car has recently received a new soft-top, while the chrome and trim look nearly as good as it did when the car first rolled off the production line. There are a few shots of the underside of the old Ford, and it looks to be solid as a rock. The body is so original that even the rubber on the running boards is the stuff that was fitted at the factory.

The interior of the DeLuxe is impressive, but it isn’t perfect. The front floor mat and rear carpet are said to be original, as are the door trims and rear panels. Those panels are starting to show some age, and they have had a few small tears covered with duct tape. I think that if the new owner was inclined to try and retain these items, then it might well be worth the effort to locate an upholsterer who could repair them with blind patches because this does appear to be a possibility. The seats have recently received new covers, while the dash and wheel are original and in good condition. There are a pair of aftermarket gauges hanging under the dash to monitor the temperature and oil pressure under the hood.

Speaking of under the hood, that’s where the secret is that I referred to earlier. The original flathead engine has gone the way of the Dodo, and in its place is a 327ci Chevrolet V8. The conversion seems to have been done quite professionally, with a bell-housing designed specifically to adapt that 327 to the original Ford 3-speed manual transmission. The original owner could only have dreamed of finding themselves with 300hp on tap, and that should make this a car that gets up and goes. The engine has undergone a recent rebuild and has only clocked 1,500 miles since this occurred. The electrical system has been upgraded to 12-volts, while the car has also been fitted with a new clutch, among other items. The owner says that the car will happily cruise all day at 70mph, with no signs of overheating, or any odd squeaks, groans, or rattles. He also says that the brakes are strong, and stop the car straight and true.

I’m not a fan of swapping engines of different manufacturers in a classic car, and I would probably love this car if the original flathead was under the hood. Having said that, I do still like it a lot, and the conversion that has been performed on this car does make some sense to me. It strikes a pretty fair compromise between classic looks, and what should be a reliable mechanical configuration. I suspect that this is a car that will divide opinions amongst our readers, but it will be interesting to see if any of you are interested in this car enough to make an offer.

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  1. NotSure

    Great car! Shame about losing the flathead though. Could’ve been worse. He might have sourced an early 80’s Jaguar V6 for it…

    Like 12
  2. David P. Reeves

    A Chevy engine?! Blasphemy! At least put a FoMoCo engine in it, something along the lines of a 289 or 302. Other than that, I’d love to have this car, my uncle has a coupe of the same year and it was the first classic/antique car I ever rode in as a child.

    Like 29
    • Chris M.

      I agree. This is the traditional 50s-60s way of building a hot rod. But it would really cost the exact same to drop in a 289/302/351 Windsor block. Nothing more disappointing to find a SBC in a vintage car or truck.

      Like 3
  3. the one

    I don’t understand why you would not put a Ford engine, in a Ford!?? First of all, the distributor is in the front! No fire wall mods. Make sense? A 302 will move this car right along. As will a 351..And you can pick one up (351) from summit for $3300.00 fully dressed!
    Fordgetaboutit!!! Ha!

    Like 27
  4. bobhess bobhessMember

    You’d think the early 289 would be a good way to keep a Ford a Ford. Not brute power but a very good engine.

    Like 16
    • the one

      We just replaced the 260 in our ’65 Tiger with a 302!

      Like 8
  5. Kenneth Carney

    Looks to be a very good late ’60’s, early
    ’70’s build to me. Back then, the stock
    look was all the rage. Guys like Mel
    Taormino, Ron Weeks, and Jerry Crabtree
    were masters of this style of building
    along with a few more folks whose names escape me now. As for Ford in
    Ford, that trend was taking hold as well.
    I recall a gentleman in my hometown
    had a ’40 DeLuxe sedan that was bone
    stock outside running a ’67 289 V-8 and
    a C-4 auto tranny. That car looked so
    original that you wouldn’t even know
    about the V-8 unless you popped the
    hood! To a 16 year old boy growing up
    back then, that car was really something!
    To me, this car is a piece of hot rod history that needs to be preserved in this
    state to show future car guys and gals
    how we built things back then. I sure
    would like to be the guy preserving this
    gem, it’s drop-dead gorgeous!

    Like 9
  6. Chas358 Chasman358

    Lose the Chevy and put a correct Flat Head back in this beautiful old FORD.

    If the new owner wants to drive it more, put a modern Ford (a 302 or 351 Windsor would be good) drivetrain in it with an 8.8 rear axle from a Fox body Mustang.

    Like 13
  7. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I have to say I like the car, maybe even love it. I know a lot of people will fault the sbc in it, but that’s a personal choice. It’s already in place and if the sellers info is correct in that it runs great, why not enjoy it as it is? I don’t know if there is a bellhousing to put in a Ford engine or not, or even some other brands engine. I admit I wish it still had a flathead in it, but what’s done is done.
    About the only way I’d see putting in a complete new drivetrain would be getting a full replacement frame set up for modern drivetrain so you could swap over the body without hacking it up and return it back to original if wanted in the future.
    Personally if I had this one I’d drive the wheels off it and enjoy the heck out of it.

    Like 9
  8. Solosolo UK ken tillyMember

    One way to really screw up a 79 year old Ford convertible is to put ANY other engine than an original flathead into it. If it ever became my car the current motor would become a boat anchor in about ten minutes flat. I bet the original owner is spinning in his grave at what has been done to his car.

    Like 9
    • Jon

      Purists. You really need to get over it. Its what was done in the early to mid 60’s, hense the 327. There was more speed equipment to do such a swap using SBC versus Ford. Of course, it happened more in the late 50’s when a lot of 283’s were swapped in behind stock trannies.

      Like 5
      • r s

        It deserves to have a flathead V8 put into it and make it back into the classic it originally was. I don’t care whether it’s what they did back in the 60’s or 50’s, it can easily be undone. There’s no way this car is worth as much with the 327 as with the flathead despite that the Chev motor is stronger etc.

        Like 1
    • norm bissonnette

      You should buy it then …

      Like 1
  9. geomechs geomechsMember

    I have to say that I was a little disappointed to see the SBC. However, I have to admit that the SBC is adaptable, even a bit more adaptable than a small block Ford. But saying that, the LAST thing I would do would be to drop in an SBC. If this came my way, it would have a flathead back in faster than the IRS could say ‘Attached.’ But that’s me.

    Like 7
    • r s

      “However, I have to admit that the SBC is adaptable, even a bit more adaptable than a small block Ford.”

      Does that hold true even if you have to deform the firewall to make that infernal rear distributor Chev motor fit?

      Like 0
  10. Barney

    Boy would I love to own this car but alas I lack the needed bank account. That said it is a shame the car has motor that it does. I’m assuming that the engine still runs points. What a joy it would be to set them

    Like 3
  11. Joe Haska

    WOW! Couldn’t be any worse for you people who go crazy over SBC in a Fords! Get a life, I would take it in a heart beat ( pun intended) drive it like I stole it. And it would’t even be close to my first old Ford with a SBC, in fact it would have a 34 Ford, as a stable mate in the garage with a SBC. I will say this , Its way over price at 55K for a 40 convertiable ii this market, it’s too much,no matter what the engine is!

    Like 0
  12. jcs

    Since the original flathead appears to be long gone, I’d replace what’s in there now with a late Ford 239 flathead or a late Mercury 255 flathead. To that I would add a couple of high compression finned heads, triple deuces and a couple of nice headers with Smitty steel packs backing them up. That would be enough to give the car a little umph and a little noise.

    Like 15
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Yes a warmed over flattie is always a good choice for one of these…

      Like 9
    • 427Turbojet 427TurbojetMember

      As a kid in the 60’s-early 70’s I absorbed Rod & Custom magazine. Even then it was way easier to put a Chevy in a Ford, largely because of the oil pan clearance. Most Ford engines had a front sump the was squarely in the way of the front crossmember. Magazines had many articles on how to put a 289 in an early Ford, just reading the work involved took longer than actually putting a 283 or 327 in. A second issue was lack of interchangeably in Ford’s. Nothing from a Y block worked on a small block or a FE engine. We dirt track raced a 57 Ford 2 dr for several years, working our way though Y blocks, FEs ( including a 427 side oiler!) and back to a Boss 302. Every engine series change meant different headers, engine mounts, bell housings, etc. Ran a 55 Chevy in later years, way easier (and cheaper) to produce power and could change to almost any other Chevy engine overnight. I would take this 40 any day as is before I’d take one with a 289-302-351!

      Like 1
  13. bobhess bobhessMember

    Agree with Kenneth. Love the flat heads but the car is what it is.Put gas in it and enjoy it.

    Like 7
  14. Jerry Long

    Small lock Ford Windors are too long to fit in 1940 Fords. To do so requires tearing out the firewall. I prefer Ford motors in Ford cars. Having said that, I have a 350 Chevy in a 1940 Ford pickup. Tearing out the firewall ruins the look of the engine compartment.

    Like 3
  15. Barney

    Not true Jerry. I’m putting a motor sport 302 in my 41 pickup (virtually identical to your 40). Using Chassis Engineering motor mounts the motor fit in perfectly with no mods to the fire wall or core support location. As a matter of fact I have a two and a half inch clearance between the drivers side valve cover and the firewall.

    Like 6
  16. David

    Memories!! My Father did an early 1950s swap in virtually the same car using an Oldsmobile V-8. Quite a sleeper in it’s day.

    Like 0
  17. John Cargill

    yank the bow tie boat anchor and drop in an fe

    Like 0
  18. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    A friend of mine had a shop where he made fiberglass reproduction bodies of certain model cars. He also built rolling chassis for them. He even built turn key versions, but all were designed to have sbc’s in them. One customer insisted on having a Ford drivetrain in his 32 Ford coupe. My friend built the car but said it was a wiring nightmare since all their harnesses were preformed for Chevy setups. Therein lies the rub. These builders use abc because they’re plentiful, relatively cheap and you can buy everything you need to make the swap from aftermarket vendors.
    I love this car, would not pay $55k for any car, but that’s just me.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  19. Jerry Long

    Barney, Is this something new? I could not find a 40 or 41 with a 289 or 302 that did not have the firewall butchered.

    Like 3
    • Barney

      The only thing that I can figure out that is different is that I have a bolt in Chassis Engineering Mustang II front suspension in the truck

      Like 0
  20. skibum2

    To those that were there, Chevy was the engine of choice for street light drag racing… Fords not so much…

    Like 2
  21. Leman

    That original 3-speed transmission will not hold up behind that 327 engine I know I had one and even starting off in 3rd gear it still broke the gearbox casing 3 times so I dumped the whole thing. It was a 48 FORD F-1 Pickup and the gearbox was rated for 60 HP and the Chevy Engine was rated at 301 HP.

    Like 0
    • TortMember

      I had a 38 Ford coupe with a stock 265 Chevy with a four barrel for power with the original trans and did the same as yourself.

      Like 1
    • Ted

      Hey, skibum, you’re right, SBC’s were the engine of choice back then. From the 50’s onward, rodders automatically gravitated toward the Chevy engines for many very good reasons. This 40 is no surprise and I would keep this engine over an anemic, overheating flathead.

      Like 2
  22. Del

    Nada has 3 prices. 33 low 55 mid and 87 high.

    This car is perfect in my eyes.

    Very rare and wonderfull cindition of a rare beast.

    Love the 327 and work done to keep original tranny.

    Does not get much better than this. Beauty is in the eye if the beer holder. 😁🤣😂

    Like 8
  23. moosie moosie

    Nice old Ford, I’m kinda in a quandary about the drive train, not so much the SBC as maybe the original transmission with it ? I understand the originality aspect of the car but parts of the interior are screaming to be addressed . For all the people that make it a point to tout (faux) patina on their rides this old Ford is what patina is all about. I like it, I’d rock it if situations were different.

    Like 1
  24. cmarvMember

    I have attended the NRSA show in York , PA . for the last 27 years . I have seen more old Fords with Chevrolet motors than old Fords with Ford motors . There are many reasons that happens . IMO it is because Chevy motors make way more power for way less money , again JMO . That is a great car no matter what sits under the hood .

    Like 2
    • Barney

      Putting a Chevy in a Ford? Guess your building a kit car. Head on down to the circle K and get your slushy and a 350.
      I have two projects going together. The 41 pickup I previously mentioned and a 351W going in my 40 delivery. I do have to indent my fire wall on the 40 but no more than if I were to put a Chevy in it and I want to be able to access the distributor. I too have been attending car shows for years and what I see is a lot of Fords with Chevys in them that have indented or custom firewalls.

      Like 0
  25. TimM

    Put a ford motor in a Chevy and you will see a bunch of people that hate you did it!! But putting a Chevy in a ford is ok!!! NOT!!!!

    Like 0
  26. Bert

    Whoever originally did this was free to please himself by spending his money however he pleased. All of us are free to like or hate. It’s now a rod, and the job was nicely done. I like it.

    Like 3
  27. Bern

    Where is Lumpy Rutherford’s ’40 FORD DeLuxe Convertible from the ‘Leave It To Beaver” television series?

    Like 2
    • TJP440

      I wondered if that was you :)

      Like 1
  28. Bern

    Back in the late 1980’s my brother Tim and I built a ’48 FORD Sedan, and we did things a little different… we installed a Chrysler Corporation 360 ‘LA’ engine, a Chrysler Corporation 727 Torque-Flight transmission, and a Chrysler Corporation 8-3/4 rear axle in the car. thirty years later, the car is still on the road with its current owner.

    Like 4

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