Rod Or Restore? 1940 Chevrolet Master Business Coupe

Finding a likely candidate for a custom build that isn’t riddled with rust can be a battle. However, for those on the hunt for such a beast, this 1940 Chevrolet Master 85 Business Coupe could be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It is a complete classic with its original engine, which the owner has coaxed into life. That would make it a perfect restoration project. Alternatively, its lack of rust and its classic good looks would seem to make it an ideal candidate for transformation into a hot rod. Regardless of which path you may be tempted to follow, you will find the Coupe located in Santa Rosa, California, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has been subdued and has only reached $2,500. This figure remains short of the reserve, meaning that there’s still time to toss your hat into the ring if you find this to be an attractive proposition.

While this Coupe has accumulated a few dings and bruises during its life, returning the body to a pristine state should not be a complex undertaking. The marks that are present should be able to be addressed without the need to resort to panel replacement. However, the good news with this classic revolves around the subject of rust. If the car has spent most of its life in sunny California, that will help account for the overall solid state of the body. The owner admits that the floors have a couple of patches, but the rest of the vehicle seems to sport little more than some surface corrosion. The owner provides no information on the frame, but what can be seen looks encouraging. Regardless of whether the buyer is pursuing a restoration or a custom build, they will probably choose to tackle it as a frame-off process. That would afford them the chance to ensure that no problems are missed that could cause heartache down the track. The owner says that he has most of the exterior trim and lights, while he also has a replacement for the broken back window.

When the owner located this Coupe, it had been sitting in a barn for many years. Its 216.5ci six-cylinder motor didn’t run, so he set to work to see if he could revive it. After replacing the fluids, he fitted new plugs, plug wires, a coil, points, and a condenser. He then pulled and rebuilt the carburetor and dropped in a new battery. Lo-and-behold, that six roared into life. He tuned it a bit, and the engine runs nicely. It has good oil pressure and doesn’t produce any smoke or odd noises. That doesn’t mean that it’s roadworthy because a previous owner has removed the transmission. It is present, but it will need to be checked before it is slotted back in. Alternatively, the buyer might be considering this as a custom build. If that’s the case, they could sell that healthy six to help fund the build. It probably wouldn’t bring a huge price, but as anyone who has ever pursued a project like this knows, every penny counts.

While this Chevrolet’s interior is essentially complete, it will need some work if the buyer is to return it to its former glory. The owner has the original seat, but it will need refurbishing. He also holds all of the interior window trims, but he doesn’t have the floor mat or the door trims. When you look at the overall state of the painted surfaces, this area of the vehicle will need to be entirely dismantled if the buyer is seeking a high-level finish. It’s also worth noting that as this is a Business Coupe. To create additional trunk space, Chevrolet moved the fuel tank from its original location to the spot where the owner would usually find a rear seat. That meant that this vehicle would’ve been capable of seating a maximum of three people in its prime. The tank is still in situ, but relocating it would not be difficult if the buyer wants to fit a rear seat. However, I suspect that regardless of whether the next owner pursues this as a restoration or a hot rod project, this old Coupe will probably remain a two or three-seater.

I feel that once our readers have checked the details on this 1940 Chevrolet Business Coupe, the majority will believe that the car’s future will rest with being the basis for some form of custom project. What form that takes will depend on the buyer’s personal taste. If you were to park this classic in your garage, how would you build it?


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  1. nlpnt

    Master 85 = beam axle/leaf spring front suspension, making its’ final appearance under a Chevy passenger car in 1940.

    Like 2
  2. OddBallCars

    No don’t hot rod it! This is SUCH a cool car, and while a SBC will give you hundreds of horses more than that Blue Flame Six, it’s such a venerable engine, it needs to be returned to its original glory. You’ll never own a car that runs as smooth and quiet and trustworthy. And if you want more performance, rebuild the engine with some aluminum pistons, a lightened flywheel, and triple strombergs!

    Like 13
    • Kurt

      Right On. Done right this car will be a prize winner. But you will need to find the running boards with good rubber mats.

      Like 3
  3. Tom Bell

    To destroy this car by turning it into some form of custom abomination is an insult to automotive history. It needs to be properly restored or left as original as possible.

    Like 13
  4. ctmphrs

    Where did all these restorers come from.This car is worth a lot more as a hotrod than a stocker..

    Like 5
    • David D. Taylor

      You’re the kind of freakus that deserves nasty things done to your grave. I have seen an abundance of classic vehicles that have been rodded. FIRST – they never create interest except -sometimes – by7 other rodders. SECOND – Such abominations ALWAYS look like some kind of abortion. THIRD – such classics – even those modded – are always attractive and attention getters. Older people – like me – admire restored classics – even mods – for they create happy memories. Even younger viewers find them interesting and create “wondering”.

      Like 5
      • RKS

        Oh man comments like this make me laugh. Thanks for that.

        Like 7
  5. Tort Member

    My initial thought was a small block, 700R4.L4, updated front and rear suspension and brakes and leave the exterior, interior and steel wheels with hubcaps to make it look relatively stock appearing. After giving it more thought I am fairly certain there are a lot more custom and hot rodded 40 Chevy coupes out there than stock so hopefully the buyer restores it back to what it was when new.

    Like 3
    • Skorzeny

      Why do you hot Rod guys always always always always always ALWAYS want to use an automatic? God I FRICKIN HATE THAT! No imagination? Don’t know how to drive? WHY?

      Like 5
  6. Kurt

    Did running boards come with the sale?

    Like 1
  7. CaCarDude

    I would bring this back as a stock and original coupe, in 1964 I was 15 and learned to drive a manual in a ’40 Chevy business coupe like this, had the same little 6 banger and 3 on the tree, no back seat talk about a nice memory seeing this Coupe. Thanks for posting this find, made my day!

    Like 4
  8. matt

    Nice Car !!!!

    Like 3
  9. Morley Brown Member

    You guys are such nerds. Any one can restore a car, real men build hot rods. But no modern LS crap or even a SBC, lets put something old in itlike a Nailhead Buick, or a Packard!

    Like 5
    • Kurt

      A Buick 8 would shoe horn on there. And then put a Holden blower on it.

      Like 1
    • Jimmy Novak

      Anybody can run a blowtorch – but it takes guts to restore a car to original.
      It takes determination to preserve automotive history, and a genuine love and respect for the past.
      It takes a willingness to honor all the great automotive pioneers, the engineers, stylists, designers, and even line workers
      whose hearts and souls went into those early motoring classics.
      It takes long research and patience to restore a car correctly. And there’s no greater feeling than to know you’ve done it right.

      Like 6
      • Dusty Stalz

        Those people are all dead. I’d run a 454 in this thing.

        Like 2
  10. Miguelito Loveless

    I would like to make it the first EV low rider.

  11. Gary Rhodes

    Full on custom, hardtop chop, 4″ in front, 9″ in the back, full tilt 6 cylinder (GMC?) Skirts, moulded rear fenders etc. Burple paint and black tuck and roll interior.

    Like 1
  12. David D. Taylor

    Gary Rhodes – – – your comment sounds like a girl planning to abort her pregnancy and sell the baby parts for profit. The ONLY thing you suggest that makes ANY sense id adding SKIRTS.

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