Too Rough To Rat Rod? 1940 Ford Deluxe Tudor

The sad part of this job is seeing so many once nice cars that have deteriorated beyond the point of saving.  With the rising costs of restoration, the difficulties of finding storage, and the general decline in interest for large projects, most rough cars will eventually make that final journey to the junkyard.  Some people do try to save what they can.  Take for example this 1940 Ford deluxe tudor being sold on eBay by a kind soul in Glasgow, Kentucky.  Rescued from the crusher after a land sale, the seller is offering this car to anyone who can use it.  With bidding currently at $242.90, is there anything left of value on this rusted ’40?  Is it too rough to even rat rod it?

If what you see is what you get, then you aren’t getting much here.  The seller tells us that he purchased the car from a gentleman who had owned it since new.  The car was put outside in the early 1970s.  Too bad, as I am sure it was a pretty nice car back in the day.  Unfortunately, as door and window gaskets deteriorate, water finds its way into old cars and rust spreads like a virus.  Interior materials deteriorate, chrome flakes off, and glass fogs.  Sooner or later, most of the car is in the dirt below.

The first thing you notice is that the doors are inside the car.  Why?  A close examination of the driver’s side door pillar gives you a good clue.  Notice that most of the lower part of the pillar is no longer with us.  Also missing are the sills, some of the running boards, the bottom of the front fenders, the gas tank, and the floor.  Many of these parts are offered by aftermarket sources.  The problem is that you can get a pretty good 1940 Ford tudor for $10,000-15,000.  If you bought the parts to fix this car up, you’d pretty soon blow past the cost of just getting a better car to start with.

Despite the damage, there are a few parts worth saving on the car.  The trunk lid and handle look to be useable,  The taillights are also there, and maybe someone might be able to use the rear fenders after some dent massaging.  Underneath, the hydraulic brake system and spindles may be of some use to someone converting an earlier car with mechanical brakes to hydraulics.  The axles and steering gear could also serve as good parts to hoard away.

A look inside reveals a few more parts that might be savageable.  First and foremost is that beautiful 1940 Ford steering wheel.  This one definitely looks restorable, and these are desirable to both restorers and those who appreciate old hot rods.  The factory heater is also there, and could likely be saved after recoring it.  The steering column and pedal assembly could also be refurbished.  Sadly, the dash looks way too far gone and the radio is missing.

A look in the trunk reveals a whole lot of damage.  The spare wheel is likely too rough to save.  However, the seat springs may be reusable.  Everything else seems to be just too far gone.

Amazingly, the engine and most everything else under the hood is present.  There is no word on the status of the engine in the ad.  I would assume it does not rotate, but miracles have happened before.  The radiator and horns look like they can be refurbished and used again.  Also, it looks like the complete driveline is still in the car.  Lots of good parts there, and I would bet the transmission is useable.

First off, the seller is doing God’s work for saving a car like this from a direct trip to the crusher.  The body shell will get there soon.  Still, saving it to give other folks a shot at some useable parts is commendable.  While it is too rough for a restoration, I doubt that it would even be a good candidate for rat rodding.

What do you think?


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    If I had a ’40 I was rebuilding I’d grab this one. The parts you mentioned are at least worth something as spares etc. I would not try to restore this car.

    Like 3
  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    I would not try to restore this car either. What I would do however would be is to cut the roof and floor behind the windshield. I’d remove the entire body shell and scrap it. Now I’d have a great beginning in building a boat tailed roadster body. Of course the frame, suspension, engine, driveline, and front clip would have to be restored. I’d keep every thing stock except of course the roadster body. I would probably make use of the front doors in the build too. I see lots of potential here. I guess one mans junk is another mans treasure.

    Like 3
    • Bob

      You would have to pay me to take this one.

  3. Junior Samples

    Too rough to rat rod?

    Bite your tongue!

  4. YooperMike

    Yard art .

    Like 3
  5. Navi318

    This is not worth anything but maybe a few parts need to finish another project. It’s waaaay too far gone. For the price, grab the few salvageable parts and call it a day.

    Like 3
  6. Don B

    My first car at age 15 was a 39 Tudor deluxe, basically the same car as this one. Had a 327 corvette 350 horse, mated to a 4 speed. I loved the car and body style. Miss it still.
    After hanging the doors back on this one, I’d go along with YooperMike and proudly display this beast as yard art at my home.

  7. moosie moosie

    Its done, stick a fork in it. Let it go back to Mother Earth. Its a shame to see this in this condition.

    Like 5
  8. Jim King

    As mentioned, there are multiple good usable parts…the body shell could still be used to make a NICE vintage modified racecar…..if it was in southern New Jersey I’d buy it !

    Like 1
  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    It takes a lot to get me to give up on restoring something like this, especially when you can get a good running one for $20k or less. Maybe now would be the time to consider changing it to a coupe. You can get a complete reproduction coupe kit for less than it would take to break the bank. This unit can provide a lot of brackets and smaller items that no one seems to have. Some might want to shy away from the flathead because it might be seized. I’ve never given up on a seized engine in my life and I’m not about to start.

    Like 2
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Hi geomechs I have I YouTube channel you’d like it’s called cold war motors it’s a Canadian guy that lives east of Edmonton. He rescues cars destined for the crusher and the whole point of his blog is to get as much done with no budget. He has a bunch of friends that hang out with him and it is amazing how much they get done on on almost no money. There typical guys having a few beers and working on cars. What I like about it is you see that you don’t need a big budget or a lot of tools. Of course you have to be able to get Canadian humour.

      Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Mark. Thanks for the tip. I think I’ll look that program up when I get home. Might even do it tonight. I have a ‘42 Ford 4-door that was probably a parts car before it became the sign post for a race track. My intention is to get it roadworthy by spending as little as possible. I picked up axles for just getting them out of the guy’s way. The engine, I already had. I’ve been bickering with a guy for a couple of years for a pair of front splash panels and a hood. The price is right but the guy wants to package the parts out with a ‘47 coupe body he’s got. We’ll see.

        Like 1
  10. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Thanks to the guy that’s trying to find someone to save this old girl. Just bought another one that’s really nice minus engine…..could use a few things……..but to far to make sense……

  11. Pete

    Back in the day I bought one in the late 50..s it ran with 2×2.s on it I was the s..t in philly..primed it and sold it for a good profit.back then.paid 75.00 for regrets had fun with that old car.rattle can paint black primer red wheels .I was hooked .after buying cars for 10 to 50 dollars I loved them .back then they were in decent shape. Could tell you more I.m sure you wouldn’t friends kept count after 100 cars they stopped lol.still to this day I buy old cars near to nothing

  12. DavidL Member

    Tail lights?

  13. Joe Haska

    Do the math, it dosent add up, even the parts that are there are not worth saving, you can buy them new cheaper than you could save them. Its too bad, but some times you just have to let it go

  14. Paul Zamp

    Great possible vintage racecar project. If you LOVE welding and want to practice chop and channel skills this would rat rod nicely. Have seen many rat rods that were seen by most as scrap.

  15. bone

    This wasn’t parked in the 70’s , Its more likely this was parked in the 50’s .Also I bet the doors didn’t fall off, they were removed as were other useable parts , although who can tell when that happened- maybe by the guy who pulled it out, or maybe 40 years ago !

  16. Branden Lee Cundiff

    I just wanted to let those that are saying it’s done, yeah the frame and floor pan is. I got this car and I am rat rodding it. The floor was gone the frame was rotted in half in one section. The motor was locked up along with the transmission, the car has 26,336 miles on odometer. Great project car

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