Restored in ’81? 1940 Pontiac Business Coupe

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We are experiencing a bounty of business coupes! First, there was this 1952 Dodge Wayfarer, following, was a 1938 Chevrolet Master DeLuxe, and now, we have a 1940 Pontiac Special Six. We’re told that it was completely restored in 1981 but it’s starting to look a bit tired, so another redo will likely be in its future. Located in Tulia, Texas, this Pontiac, which could pass for a Fire Chief’s coupe, is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $1,035 with the reserve not yet met.

Pontiac produced about 77K copies of their “Six” series, both Special and DeLuxe, but as to how many were Business Coupes, I’m not certain. The seller tells us that this coupe is in “excellent condition for its age” and I’ll admit that it looks sound but the finish is really shot for a car restored 42 years ago – it looks more like the original paint job. We know it was tarped as we’re told that the paint scrape on the deck lid is due to said tarp. All of the trim is in place though it, like the bumpers, shows as dull. The prominent grille is sound, except for one small tooth missing from the lower passenger side. The surprise for me was realizing that the black-painted wheels are actually wires – it’s a good look!

Under the hood is a non-running 87 HP, 222 CI, in-line flat, six-cylinder engine that looks complete but untouched in recent memory. The seller states, “Engine oil level still at full and clean. The radiator and fuel tank were drained years ago when placed in storage. I did not try to start the engine. All the original vehicle parts that were replaced during the complete 1981 restoration were found in the trunk with many looking of sufficient quality to be resold for reuse today“. OK, that’s what he claims so I’ll leave it at that.

The interior is stated as being in “very good condition“, I’d say it’s fair. It looks a bit worn and spotted/stained, but it’s definitely workable. The headliner is going to need some attention, and of course, the area behind the seat has the obligatory box of something parked there, helping to obscure the view. The instrument panel is typical for the era, it’s attractive and purposefully arranged, but I have to imagine that it is untouched from 83 years ago.

There are definitely good bones here, I’m just doubtful as to what the earlier restoration entailed. Regardless, This Poncho is a solid project base and the seller suggests, “A good paint job is all this beautiful coupe needs“. I’d agree with that, but would probably angle for an engine transplant too. What do you think, if this Business Coupe were to become yours, what would your plans entail?

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  1. TheOldRanger

    I know, I know, I’ve said it a lot…. but I do love these old cars..

    Like 22
    • floyd summers

      I would restore it and keep as original as I could, I would rebuild the engine if it needed it but I wouldn’t replace it. It looks like it’s got something to work with a clear coat make a beautiful driver, I would make this my daily driver. The powder man.

      Like 4
  2. Maggy

    Get it running and driving dependably and safely and cruise it.I really don’t like the red paint though and ww’s. I’d paint it black with black wall tires.Thats just me.glwts.

    Like 14
    • Arfeeto

      Hear, hear, Maggy!

      Like 6
  3. OldNSlo

    This one deserves a complete GTO drive train. 400, 4 spd or TH400, and a set of 3.55 gears.

    Like 16
    • Jimmy Novak

      Thanks for reminding me why I don’t get excited over car shows anymore.

      Like 23
      • Richard Helmutt

        Yep, I’d clean it up and drive it as is, Maybe with some upgraded brakes But I bet a serious Buck that the Motor and drive train Is still Good to go.

        Like 2
    • RKS

      That would definitely be a good start for this car.

      Like 8
    • Dave

      I like where you’re going.

      Like 3
    • RSparks

      Yeah maybe a straight axle up front too. You pickin up what I’m puttin down?

      Like 1
      • Gary


        Like 0
    • Alan

      3.55 is a good all-around gear for the 4 speed. A good compromise between decent mileage and acceleration. A better drag gear (at the compromise of economy and top speed) would be 4.11. The turbo 400 is better matched to a 2.73.

      Like 0
    • G-Man

      I totally agree, may a 389 tri-power! Just sayin! My 69 Z-28 would love some company!!!

      Like 0
  4. Kenneth Carney

    A 250 straight 6 or a 3800 GM V-6 and automatic transmission would fill
    the bill quite nicely for drivetrain as far as I’m concerned. Not all restomods need to musclebound monsters. A 6 cylinder engine just makes more sense in these days of
    sky high gas prices. That’s the way we did it 50 years ago when the hobby was young and you used whatever you could find to get your
    prize running and driving again. Great
    start for someone out there looking
    for a great project. To me, it’s just
    another car for my photo collection
    to make auto prints.

    Like 12
    • RSparks

      I’m not against that but going that route, I’d set it on a late 80s S10 frame with a fuel injected 4.3 vortec and 700R4.

      Like 1
  5. Norman K Wrensch

    Of course the oil would be clean, after sitting for 42 years all of the crud has settled to the bottom. Don’t be surprised if nothing comes out when you pull the drain plug.

    Like 6
  6. Jerry Bramlett

    I like this car, but I’m not buying the “complete restoration” claim. That’s not even close to the truth.

    The outside looks more like a quickie primer job than faded red paint to me. This car’s original paint color (shown on the trim tag, code #2288) was called “Daytona” beige. You can still see some of it on the inside of the trunk lid. Pontiac didn’t offer a shade of red in 1939 or 1940.

    It’s a rare car, and if really never-rusted, probably worth $5,000 to 10,000 as a hot rod project.

    Like 7
    • KurtMember

      That color beige would look great! Or sea foam green with light beige interior. The existing paint looks awfully oxidized to be buffed out so break out the fine grit sandpaper.

      Like 7
    • James chriss

      I wondered the same thing on the faded red. Car looks solid though.

      Like 0
  7. 64 Bonneville

    Bidding is up to $3300, so somebody has a Jones for it. It is going to need more than a paint job to make it pretty, again. The beige color paint would fit with the interior color. someone mentioned a 3.8 and automatic for the driveline, changing to front wheel drive? Most likely will end up as a “rat rod” or some type of LS hot rod.

    Like 0
    • RJ

      A 3.8 V6 out of a Firebird or Camaro.

      Like 2
  8. HCMember

    Very solid Pontiac Business coupe that could go in any direction the buyer chooses. I’d go thru the engine and brakes first and yes, that Daytona beige would really pop. After that I’d enjoy driving it before making any drivetrain changes. It has the makings of a great custom build.

    Like 8
  9. Robert

    My retired schoolteacher, State Rep neighbor has one just like this. Same color and all. Currently the 350 he bought it with is going by-by and a tri-power Ponty and auto to replace it as he is a HUGE Pontiac fan as was his father. He also owns a 455 ’65 goat and 3 ’57 Pontiacs. I agree with the drivetrain choice. When I cruise I like to hear the rumble!

    Like 4
  10. Rob Jay

    I think a 389 tri-power would be the sexiest option

    Like 3
  11. Don

    1940 is my birth year and I like Pontiacs, Tulip is not to far from me. How much to buy this 1940 Pontiac Coupe now please?

    Like 1
    • HCMember

      Don, the 389 was my first choice if I were to update the drivetrain. Had one in a mid sixties Pontiac and was a great engine. Not sure what motor mount brackets would need to be welded or bolted and crossmember for an automatic trans.

      Like 1
  12. John Jasper

    Nice car but it needs a v8, all newer drive train, breaks and steering upgrade.

    Like 0
    • Gary

      How about a straight axle, a Potvin blown 302 GMC truck engine and a five speed to get it up to highway speeds? Rollcage, red metal flake vinyl interior, red tinted windows, black paint and have it lettered up like a gasser and call it “Six In a Row Will Go”

      Like 0
    • Richie

      It doesn’t NEED all that, just needs to have someone at least try to get the old flathead running first. And really think carefully about this: doesn’t the world already have more than enough half baked rods out there? Come on now, really think about it.

      Like 1
  13. jetfire88

    And just what is wrong with putting in a Pontiac OHC 6, 6-speed ???
    All the V8 options are just copouts for an excuse to just use Visa and call 1-800-hotrod instead of being creative/resourceful with an intriguing drivetrain (OK, I’ll accept a EV conversion), so that when you are at a show the folks will actually stop and talk to you about how you did it, instead of walking by and saying “nice Poncho, with just another SBC”.

    Like 4
    • RSparks

      OHC 6 and a 6 speed huh? I like it!

      Like 2
  14. Robert

    Damn! My son is at the Daytona Rod Run as we speak. Keeps sending me pictures of mouth drooling pictures as he knows which ones I like. I E> Dodge wayfarer and a 70 Jimmy with convertible top and done (55K) so I just look and wish LOL off topic I know

    Like 0
  15. HCMember

    One thing I remembered is that this car had the encapsulated tube drive shaft so going with a V8 would involve many more modifications than just dropping it in. Also many engine brackets and crossmembers as well. Maybe a spiffed up 250 6 cylinder with a dual single card setup would be one way to go. Otherwise a buyer will spend some serious money upgrading her to a V8. Just so many ways you could go.

    Like 6
  16. RSparks

    booo! lol

    Like 0
  17. Dave

    $7300 and reserve still not met. If I was young and had the money, I’d keep it as original as possible. Paint back to original color, keep drive train doing whatever is needed, and use it for a regular driver. If I wanted a restomod, I’d pick a car where the engine and trans were pulled long ago.

    Like 5
  18. Fish56

    No one seems to care the seller has zero feedback. Without at least one pic of the clear title, I’d take a pass. Very difficult, costly and time consuming, to straighten out title issues in many states, Illinois is mine.

    Like 1

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