Hot Rod It? 1942 Ford Deluxe Coupe

The year that almost wasn’t. For Ford, and every other domestic auto manufacturer, 1942 production ended in January or February of that year due to U.S. involvement in World War II. While 1941 was a big production year, things slowed to a trickle in early ’42 and did not resume any semblance of normalcy until late ’45. But here we have an example of that truncated year, a 1942 Ford Deluxe Coupe, located in Franktown, Colorado and available here on craigslist for $4,950. Thanks to Ikey H. for the tip!

This 1942 Coupe was one of several body styles offered by Ford in ’42. Others included a four-door sedan, two-door sedan, two-door convertible, two-door sedan coupe, a station wagon and a “Deluxe” coupe-like this example. Among the three different two-door models, the differences are the rear roof-line and rear quarter windows.

Prior to 1941, Ford offered a four-cylinder in-line engine as well as their famous flathead V8. The ’42 Ford sales brochure advertises Ford’s new for ‘42, 226 CI inline, flathead six-cylinder engine, good for 90 HP. Some sources reference this engine being introduced in ’41 but research indicates that it was in fact introduced in ’41 but for the ’42 model year. Any clarity on that item from our readership would be appreciated. Regardless, it doesn’t run. But wait, there’s more! Included in the sale is a Chevrolet 283 CI small-block V8 of undisclosed nature. This listing, like so many, is very light on detail and tells us next to nothing about either motor. The seller does state that he has all of the necessary adapters to install the small-block and a rebuilt ’40 vintage manual transmission too.

There is nothing disclosed regarding the body of this coupe and few accompanying images but what there is reveals a body that looks pretty good; there is no obvious rust, misaligned body panels, physical damage, etc. The black enamel finish still looks reasonably strong. The seller states that this Ford was a barn find that enjoyed a 50 year slumber. It must have rested well and away from any destructive environmental elements.

The interior is not referenced but the single image included shows a passenger compartment that is a bit beyond its prime. The seat looks like it is decomposing, the door card that is visible is coming apart and the dash appears to be missing some trim – no reference made to the operability of the gauges, etc. Also, no discussion around floor integrity. There is no reason to suspect trouble based on the observable condition of the body but still something to consider.

I think this is a great body style Ford and believe it would be a good starting project for…….what? It seems almost too original to hot-rod it with the Chevy engine and a reasonable restoration doesn’t seem that far off. You don’t come across this vintage Ford with its original six-cylinder engine that often and again, it is from that shortened ’42 model year which gives this coupe some measure of uniqueness. If you were interested in this Ford, what would you do?

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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Put the SBC in it, good brakes and tires, and drive it. Neat car.

    • grant

      Bad Bob. No. NO. Nooooooo. Now go to bed without dessert.

      • ken tillyUK

        In fact, go to bed without supper !!

    • Chris M.

      If anything put in a 8BA flathead or Olds rocket and go the bootlegger route. Cool car.

    • Bob C.

      Believe it of not, the six actually had more horsepower than the flatty v8 early on.

      • Chris M.

        Bob C. Regardless of power I’d switch it and set the 6 on a pallet.

    • Duaney Member

      One issue I told the seller, (after it had sold), is that in Colorado the VIN number is on the engine block, not the body number, and changing the engine you’ve lost the VIN number and you can then throw the title in the trash.

  2. GeigerCounter

    Oh my goodness no! This is a 1942, a rare car indeed. Leave it alone, the six is a fine engine. Someday those who come after us will appreciate that you left history alone.

  3. Nsuracer

    The L-head six was in fact offered in the 41. My father had one. It is the first car that I remember the family having.

  4. BagADonuts

    This is one that deserves to be taken back to completely stock.

  5. Chris in Pineville

    V8 Fords like this are common. Leave the 6 in it.

  6. Wayne Russell

    Some of the 42 Fords were called ” black out ” models. Instead of a lot of stainless trim they had painted trim. Check out the grill surround It is painted. On some of them the headlite rings were also painted. I think that the reason was that they were trying to save stainless for the war effort.

  7. ken tillyuk

    In answer to your first question in the headline Jim O’Donnell, NEVER !!!

  8. local_sheriff

    I realize ’42 was a shortened production year, however don’t forget next year’s models are introduced in current year. I really don’t know excactly when Ford would tool up for the coming year, however until Dec 7th ’41 it was all business as usual meaning many ’42 models would be manufactured and probably already with their new owners before 1942.

    It’s still an unusual model both being a ’42 and with the six, so I really agree with Geigercounter here – please don’t mess up this one . As we have seen here on BF in the last days there are still pre-war Fords to be found if you absolutely have to hotrod one

  9. FordGuy1972

    Probably should be restored to stock. ’42s are rare and one with the inline six adds to it’s rarity. Lots of work to do on this one but it looks like a solid car to start with.

    If you are going to hot-rod this ’42 Ford, put a small block Ford in it. Don’t go with the Chevy 283, keep it a Ford and build a hot 302 with a 4-speed. I’d go the resto-mod route; keep it looking stock but with a modern driveline, disc brakes, power steering and A/C. Still, I’d rather see it restored to stock and show the younger generation what an original car looked like almost 80 years ago.

    • Bellingham Fred

      Hurst made an adapter that bolted to the front of the SBC. Then you could use the stock Ford motor mounts on the frame. Adapters are available to bolt the stock Ford bell housing to the back of the Chevy motor. Therefore a Chevy V8 could be installed and uninstalled without any cutting, welding, or any other modification to the frame or firewall. Try that with your 302.

      • Brian Moore

        if you use the ford engine you won’t have to keep putting it in and taking it out. but in this case, rare and # matching, leave it stock

      • Bellingham Fred

        I meant that you could put the original Ford motor back in, after racking up 100,000 plus miles on the SBC. That way you can enjoy driving the car without wearing out or damaging the rare numbers matching original engine. Then when you’re done the new owner call do things his or her way.

    • Blyndgesser

      You can stroke a 351 Windsor to 460 cubic inches. IJS

  10. ken tillyUK

    I don’t see the preoccupation with hot rodding old cars. Why don’t they hot rod newer cars, say from the 80’s and 90’s? The later cars are so full of electronics that when they do fail, won’t be able to be repaired, so will be ideal candidates for hot rodding. Go on you young guys, get in on the ground floor and make a fortune when you sell it in 40 years time.

    • Howard Kerr

      Why don’t they hot rod cars from the 70s? I mean, really? It was the Malaise Era and if cars from any time period need help…those do/did, plus, they were so awful no one saved them, so many of them are rare.

      • Chris M.

        Howard he’s from the U.K. he doesn’t get it. Lol

    • Brian Moore

      Most states & provinces have strict emission laws that prevent you from modifying newer vehicles

  11. angryjonny

    Aaaaaaaand it’s gone.

  12. Bill Wilkman

    Too rare to modify in any way…

  13. BR

    G-series 226. Short lived run. Replaced by the H-series 226. Oh well, doesn’t matter now.
    Wouldn’t this car be a perfect candidate for the 12 valve Cummins zealots?

    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Nope… a cumins weighs 1150lbs the frame and front suspension would never hold up to that much weight. As much as I like cumins diesels not every restomod should get one this very nice coupe should stay stock but with a driver quality restoration and a single stage gloss repaint. For me I might be tempted to put disc brakes on the front and a two stage master cylinder. I sure hope that Chevy block goes into something else.

  14. ctmphrs

    I don’t see the preoccupation with restoring cars.A restomod or a hotrod is much more useful. There are still plenty of stock old fords for the kids to see.

  15. Dom Colucci

    The 42 was the same as a 46 except for the grill. This is a business coupe with the small front doors from a 4 door a short roof and a big bum…

  16. Bob McK Member

    What is happening? Yesterday we had two 41’s and today a 42. Where are these coming from? Maybe the owners are getting too old to actually restore them.

  17. Steve Member

    Get the old coupe going safely and add Cragar SS mags only.

  18. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    With the blacked out grille surround, if you hold your head just right it looks like the immediate postwar Nashes. I think its the vertical bars. It’s been a joy to see two 41s and this 42 in the past couple days….really unicorns in 2020.

  19. Carl Hutchins

    If I had a vote, which I do not, it is get the IL 6 running. They are a very good engine. A school friend raced one in modified “jalopy” class with great success, against a lot of other contemporary engines. Ford V8’s included. Better torque to get off the turn.

    • canadainmarkseh Member

      I agree with the better torque back in those days inline 6 cylinder engines were strokers with big flywheels. It takes a bit to wind them up but once moving they’re pretty good. Not a high Reving engine 3k rpm was about it. Where as most v8’s are short stroke so they rely more on rpm for power, this is where horse power matters. This is why the cumins diesel is so powerful 17.5 to 1 compression ratio long stroke, and big flywheel. In my opinion torque is more important than horse power. There are some real advantages to long stroke engines for daily use. Stroker run slower so they last longer and use less fuel. Trade off is they don’t take off at the green light as fast, but for daily use that shouldn’t matter.

  20. Carl Hutchins

    An uncle ran a few trucks. Two three yard dumps. About the same year as this coupe. One with the 6 and the other V8. The drivers liked the six. More torque. Paid by the haul, so the six got it done faster… .

  21. benjy58

    Nice car leave it alone. New drivers taillight and a good cleaning will do.

  22. Mike

    Nice car….does it have a trailer hitch? One could tow a fishing boat. I see it comes with the anchor, resting on an engine stand, already.

  23. SG Member

    If I were lucky enough to have bought it, I would try my hardest to get that old 6 to fire & be reliable. If that failed for any reason, I would have to go with a flathead V-8.
    I get it that the 6 is the better engine, but I have heard the burble that 8 cylinder makes, and it is a beautiful sound.

  24. Cra

    Needs to be left alone. It’s a survivor. Probably not too many made anyway. Tune up the motor, spend the money on a new period interior and your done. Put your big blocks in fiberglass repro bodies.

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