Way Too Hot Rod: 1940 Chevy Coupe


There are some days you just don’t want to have. One of them is the day your shop goes up in flames. We’ve featured a few fire victims on this site, and your heart goes out to these owners every time. This 1940 Chevrolet coupe here on eBay looks like it may have been a fun street rod at one point in time, but it will need a sympathetic new owner to bring it back to life. 


Not much info is given other than the Chevy was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It sounds like it wasn’t even in the building that went up in flames but instead parked nearby. That would drive me insane, if a car I was working on or had already restored got torched due to its proximity to a building fire.


One side clearly bore the brunt of the flames, but I’d argue this side is actually quite in style with the current obsession over patina. This would give the next owner a genuine conversation piece at any show he drove to! The seller does note it will have obvious wiring issues and the interior and glass will all need replacing.


It’s hard to say just how much money was lavished on it before the fire, but the Chevy does have air conditioning and a modern drivetrain, which was supposedly installed prior to the fire. Disc brakes are a nice upgrade as well. The seller has zero feedback on eBay and there’s no activity on the auction (maybe it’s the $5,500 opening bid) – is it too much work or is there a potential project here?


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  1. Jeffro

    Kinda reminded me of Harvey Dent(from Batman). One side looked good…Other side, not so much

    • El Supremo

      Older readers may recall that this character existed earlier in the Dick Tracy comic strip. He was called “Half and Half.” I did not see Batman and don’t know what happened to this guy. H&H met his fate when he landed on his side in a puddle of acid that only came halfway up his body. As costumed for his villain’s role he even had only half an ascot rather than the full tie from the Harvey Dent character. This is the car that H&H would certainly want to own.

  2. packrat

    As others have noted, heat changes the properties of metal, weakening, cracking, rapid rust–this is close to a Start From Go project. a zero knocked off the auction’s floor price might be in order.

  3. Jay M

    I will never take on a fire damaged vehicle again, ever. Just not worth the time and money. Between the smell that never really goes away, and the warped panels that never line up properly- way too frustrating.
    Anything this far gone should be for parts only, any $ value is only the undamaged parts.
    This is one case where you should look at what is left, and not what it could be.
    Rose colored glasses burn you every time.

    • Steve H

      Yep, agreed. I doubt it gets the minimum bid.

  4. Don

    a burnt offering to the car GODs

  5. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    That was a cool old rod in it’s day for sure. I have been told that you can “never” get the smell out of the burnt metal no matter how much it’s dipped, primered and sealed. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, but I would never want to take the chance.

  6. michael streuly

    Burned up piece of junk.

  7. Bob Hess

    Too bad. The ’40s are not only rare but the better looking of the ’40s models. Total chemical dip would work for this body. Have used this new process on a couple of cars and it really works. No after rust, no residue etc.


  8. Glenn from Wisconsin

    After wrecking a nice factory car by rodding it the car was useless before the cook-out.

  9. Rustowner

    Dear Barn Find moderators; I love this site. Thanks for all the hard work. That being said, can we have the “thumbs down” button back please?

    • RandyS

      Agreed. “wrecking a nice factory car” deserves a thumbs down

  10. Bingo

    is it for sale?

  11. the one

    Fire, the most destructive force on earth.

  12. Mark S Member

    Metallurgically speaking what changes is the carbon content. Carbon is what gives steal its hardness. The fact that based on the pictures there is no serious warpage the carbon content is still exceptible, as there is evidence that small patches of paint are still visible on the drivers side of the car. I just recently welded in new metal on the box sides of my truck, with weld temperatures exceeding 2000 degrees F. So if this kind of heat during a weld won’t destroy the metal what makes any of you think that temperatures that only burn off the paint will? The fact is this will need a total restoration but the good news is the drive line looks like it wasn’t effected. If this was my project to do I’d strip it down to the bare body shell and meadia blast the whole thing inside and out. This would be a lot easier to restore then that 56 Pontiac two door station wagon that was so rusted out. As is often the case a car on here looks worse than it really is, take some night courses on body work and auto painting and get to work restoring cars like this you’ll find the challenge very rewarding. This hobby doesn’t have to always be about the investment return value.

  13. Jay M

    A fire is nothing like welding.
    A fire is more like using a flame thrower. Just sanding a panel improperly will cause it to warp, as will improper welding. That is why you always tack a panel into place, and then slowly stitch the welds together. Otherwise the heating and contracting will seriously warp the sheet metal. Even when modifying and welding frames I have to use this process, or things will move/distort as they cool.
    However, I do agree that a total disassembly and media blast is in order. Just not sandblasting, as that too will seriously warp panels when done to aggressively.

    • Mark S Member

      I know all about warpage I’ve been a licensed welder for fifteen years. I worked in a spring manufactoring factory where forming steel with use of heat was our exclusive business. If you look at the drivers side pic’s you can clearly see that this metal did not get hot enough for any serious warpage, there for the metallurgal properties have not been altered to much to not be able salvage this car and rebuild it. As for a fire being like a flame throw that is true only if is held intensively in one spot. The folds and shape of the body in this case helped it hold its shape.

  14. Rolf Poncho

    I will take it fix the drive train brakes windows
    and interior leave body as is clear cote it and drive it
    for Batmans sake (Harvey Dent)

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