Remarkably Original So-Cal Ford: 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe

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While widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cars ever built, the 1940 Ford coupe’s legacy is forever intertwined with moonshine hauling in the early postwar period.  These sleek coupes with spacious trunks were often treated to engine transplants from, preferably, later model ambulances because their engines were typically bigger than the standard engine available to the public.  With heavy springs, shocks, and little tricks here and there to give haulers an edge, these Fords were the weapons of choice in the cat-and-mouse battle with Federal agents.  It may be rare to see a stock 1940 Ford coupe in the South, but this nearly all-stock stunner has popped up in the most unlikely places.  Can you believe this 1940 Ford Deluxe coupe is a Huntington Beach, California car?

Before this becomes a fish out of water story, the South did not get all of the 1940 Ford coupes built.  Fords were certainly sold in California, and there was even an enormous Ford assembly plant built in 1930 in the San Francisco Bay area that was designed by noted architect Alfred Kahn.  The 1940 Ford you see here may have been assembled at this famous plant, which later became home to a tremendous amount of World War II production.

The ad doesn’t reveal much about this neat old Ford.  The seller tells us that it “seems to be all original and complete with original drivetrain.”  The glass and the required window rubber are, however, new.  We are also told that the car has been parked for a very long time and seems pretty solid.  The trunk floor and front wheel wells exhibit some rust, but the damage doesn’t seem to be extensive.  If it was, there are reproduction pans and fenders available from the usual aftermarket Flathead-era Ford vendors.  Given their popularity, replacing anything on this car shouldn’t be too difficult.  There was even a company reproducing all of the metal needed to build a complete 1940 Ford coupe minus the frame, interior, and mechanicals a few years ago.  Sadly, production stopped when the demand for a new 1940 Ford coupe was met.

A look inside reveals that the column shifter is still in the car, and it has not been converted to a floor shift.  The iconic steering wheel is also there but cracked and in need of restoration.  Looking at the dash we see that the instrument panel is still in useable condition, but the Bakelite instrument cluster bezel has long ago fallen away.  There is also a clock in the glove box door, which is a fairly rare option.  In the center, it looks like this car is equipped with a radio.  However, the knobs you see at the top center of the dash look odd.  Can anyone tell us if this is correct?

The picture above shows the engine of the 1940 Ford, which the seller claims to be the original one the car came with.  We are told that it starts and runs and that it has been treated to a new distributor and a tune-up.  This must be a picture before the new distributor was added, as that open spot at the front of the engine is where it would sit.  Curiously, the coil seen in the picture is a new style.  The original coil sat on top of the distributor.  There were many replacement ignition setups made for Flathead Fords, as this is considered a “problem area.”  While there are still performance ignition systems made today for this engine, a proper stock setup with a rebuilt coil will function just fine.

As a restoration candidate, this car shines.  The body is in good condition, there are a lot of original parts still on the car, and the price is right.  While it is running again, the seller cautions that it will need further work to make it road ready.  If you are a fan of the 1940 Ford, then this car should be on your list.  Please don’t hotrod it though.  Finding an unmolested coupe like this one is rare.

If you are looking for a relatively solid Ford coupe at a fair price, then you might want to check out this 1940 Ford Deluxe coupe for sale on Craigslist in Huntington Beach, California.  This running coupe can be yours for $12,990 according to a confessed motivated seller.  Thanks go to T.J. for this neat So-Cal find!

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Comments

  1. HoA HoAMember

    Huntington Beach,,,the original “Surf City”. Some proclaim Malibu, or Venice Beach, but most agree it was Huntington. Tip of the hat to the author for mentioning the rum runner aspect of this car. Running illegal moonshine wasn’t confined to the east coast, and I read, there was indeed a rum running operation in California. Apparently, a monster named “Tony the Hat”, ran a shrimp boat operation as a front to smuggle booze into California, and I’m sure many others did as well. I bet this car made a couple trips to Vegas, or vice versa.
    Those little “tricks” the author mentions were extensive. Multiple carbs, sometimes a supercharger, iron bars for shocks, strengthened rims, with bigger tires, a false floor, and a Columbia 2 speed rear axle. I’m confident it’s why this car was kept, and not turned into a gasser, a common fate of business coupes. As nice an original as this is, please, keep it all Ford, eh? One of Fords most beautiful designs. Who knows, someone may have bought this car, and it was anchors aweigh, and never came back?

    Like 18
    • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

      Lets talk about this great find car and not about what if’s. Just goes to show they are out there – it would have been nice to see the trunk floor but they do get a little rusty back there under the windows and if not there in that did of a space between the floor and rear trunk lip. Two of my 1939’s are not bad back there but onne does have the leaky under the window, My 1940 is pretty good – it had to be inside for a spell. Hope someone can do a in-person and get this back on the road !

      Like 4
  2. bobhess bobhessMember

    Nice old car. Don’t know if the radio is factory or not but I’ve seen that same piece on several ’30s cars over the years. Restoration candidate of the highest order.

    Like 10
    • james sartor

      Not a 40 radio but not sure what it really is. Sorry

      Like 3
  3. Steve R

    Doesn’t look like any part of Huntington Beach I’ve been through. Five days in an urban center with a 10,000,000+ population, has a thriving car culture a lots of money floating around at what appears to be a good deal should raise a few red flags, hopefully the seller isn’t asking for for potential buyers for deposits to hold the car. Something seems a bit off, either the car is a lot rougher than the pictures suggest or there might be something else going on. Good deals for good cars don’t last, they sell quickly.

    Steve R

    Like 8
  4. Joe Haska

    I have had several 40 Fords, non of them restoration’s and I loved them and drove them everywhere. This coupe gets my imagination working overtime. In my dreamland I would be many years younger and I would attack this car with a passion. My goal would be to scrub it and give it a deep clean and I mean deep. The idea would be to refresh and rebuild ,but only what is necessary and only what I can do ,no professional help, except for an emergency. I would address the engine and suspension, electrical, but only to make what I have work. I would tweek the suspension ,shocks, shackles, tie rods etc. Again just to make sure it works. However, it would get a dropped axle and a rubber rake. If I didn’t do that no one would believe it was my car.The interior would be a challenge ,but it would be do it yourself on the cheap. The out side the same clean it up, no paint. Wax on wax off. I think all of this could be achieved for about 10 to 15 thousand dollars. A running driving cool 40 Coupe for under 25 K. Is that cheap I don’t know I think it is realistic , if you factor in the ratio of fun to dollars

    Like 10
  5. Ken Smith

    Something funny here – that price is way too low for a running ’40 coupe!

    Like 5
  6. HCMember

    1940 Ford coupes weren’t easy to find even 10 or 15 years ago, and to find an unmolested, running car at this price is unheard of. Again, I’m glad it’s all the way out in California. Just love it.

    Like 3
  7. al

    1940 I believe was the first year for both Ford and Mercury to get column shifts 1939 where still floor shift how times change in 1940 column shift was more modern than the old floor shift

    Like 2
  8. David E Falter

    The factory was designed by Albert Kahn who died in 1942.

    Like 4
  9. Mountainwoodie

    I’d say calling this a running ’40 is a bit of a stretch. Where did the distributor go? Why was it taken out? Having recently taken a starter out of a ’47 I’d say you need to go over ever single part of the block before you do anything.This baby is pretty toasty. C & G Ford in Escondido or Vista Cali has every part you’d need to get this on the road.. the seller seems to know very little, Maybe he inherited it. No way to sell a car in this condition.

    Like 3
  10. CarbobMember

    I agree with Jeff that the 1940 Ford coupe was one of the prettiest cars ever. This particular car has a lot going for it especially with the asking price. I also agree with the author that keeping it stock is practically mandatory. That being said, I think it would also be neat to add some hop up changes to the engine like many did back in the day with Ford Flathead V8’s. I think someone will be getting a really fun project. I wish it could be me.

    Like 3
  11. John C.

    I agree with Mountainwoodie, I would like to see how it is in “running condition” with the Distributor missing, I do see a coil, yes it is a good candidate for restoration/hotrod, you won’t find many left that were not already modified, these old boys are 84 years old now.

    Like 1
  12. HCMember

    Oh yeah, with the distributor out in what picture I saw, it’s definitely not running without it. When they do put it back in it will need its timing reset. Still drooling over this 40 coupe.

    Like 2
  13. Charles Jenkins

    In case some folks missed it, the author clearly stated that the owner said that he had changed the distributor and plugs and that the picture was probably taken before the new distributor was installed. None the less, it seems like a smoking deal.

    Like 1

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