Old Cars Reader Wheels: 1940 Ford DeLuxe Coupe Street Rod

Old Cars spotlights a reader’s 1940 Ford DeLuxe Coupe Street Rod.
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1940 Ford Deluxe

Richard & Diane Leath are living the life with their sweet '40 Ford Street Rod. This "rod" is loaded! Check out the story behind the Ford.

"Growing up in Brooklyn NY, Richie says that fond memories of a green 1940 Ford Coupe named 'Little Pierre' was the inspiration for him to build a coupe of his own. Fast forward some forty five years and the time was right to start the build in 2006, which took some 4,500 hours and over 5 ½ years to complete.

After locating a suitable car in Pennsylvania, the project began with a complete frame off restoration. A Downs boxed frame was customized to accept a narrowed Ford 9” with 3:50 posi/ a polished triangulated four link and polished aluminum prop shaft. RideTech adjustable ShockWaves mounted on all 4 corners handles the road bumps. Up front a Mustang II front end with a Flaming river power rack/pinion and polished Heidts adjustable suspension makes the ’40 handle like a modern car. Stopping power on all four corners is provided by Wilwood 12” four piston disc brakes featuring slotted/drilled rotors which have been SRP coated.

The DeLuxe Coupe sheet metal was shaved/nosed/decked and filled. Additionally, added were ’37 headlight buckets with custom bezels/Frenched ’59 Cadillac tail lights, ’56 Buick fender ports in the electric powered hood, suicide doors, custom rear bumper, power side view mirrors, custom curved one-piece windshield and one-piece power side windows, power cowl vent and custom drip-rails. PPG Red Rock Crystal Pearl covers every square inch, including the smooth-running boards which have custom 'Ford' logos. In 2017 some custom fabrication was done on the front & rear fenders/roll-pan/grill and chassis (by KIDDY’S CLASSIC’s Jensen Beach, Fl.) adding the finishing touch to an already sweet ride.

Under the hood a potent 502ci BB Chevy topped with an Edelbrock dual-quad intake and twin 500cfm carbs/custom polished Billet Specialties air cleaner. A March Performance Serpentine system runs all the accessories. Spark is provided by an MSD ignition. Custom ceramic coated headers move the gases through a 2 1/2” polished SS exhaust with FlowMaster SS polished mufflers. A TH400 handles the power to the Boyd Coddington “Dictator” 8”x17” and 12”x20” wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero 225x17” & 315x20” tires respectively.

A custom interior features a 14” Billet Specialties banjo steering wheel (with a vintage suicide knob) mounted on an IDIDIT column. Lokar provided the shifter, pedals, trunk and hood releases while Watson’s StreetWorks supplied all the switches connected to a Ron Francis wiring harness. Dual 7” LED screens with Back-up camera/DVD player are mounted in the sun visors and the rearview mirror shows the shift points/turn signals. The power seats/custom back seat/door panels/headliner and console are covered in 'Oyster' Ultra-Leather. Dolphin gauges provide the vitals and Vintage Air the cool breezes. In the similarly trimmed trunk, vintage luggage hides a 17-gallon RCI polished aluminum fuel cell/battery and RideTech dual air compressors.

Over the last 9 ½ years the car has won 174 awards(150 shows) including numerous Best of Show, Best Engine, Best Interior, Best Paint, Best Street Rod, Best Custom, Best Imagination. Richie says the greatest thing about doing car shows is meeting the people, trading car stories and answering questions about the build.

P.S. The luggage in the 'Trunk' houses a fuel cell/battery box."

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