The Ford of 1937-1940 marked some profound changes in the U.S. For one, everybody had a V-8, the venerable Ford flathead that revolutionized motoring when it was introduced in 1932 with even more power and reliability. The car was built from all steel; “no more structural wood!” proclaimed the ads. It was styled like a Lincoln Zephyr but priced like a proper Ford. Oh, and don’t forget its indelible mark on the fabric of American consciousness: it helped spur the rise of hot-rodding in general, being one of the few cars available after World War II and with that oh-so-moddable flathead mill. Bootleggers loved it. Then they started racing their Fords against 1940 Plymouths and Willys, and eventually that’s how we got Jeff Gordon.
Today, if you want to replicate your own 1940 Ford, you could put on your finest Hawaiian shirt and roll into Barrett-Jackson with a bulging checkbook. Or you could buy a brand-new 1940 Ford body from the source: officially licensed by Ford Restoration Parts, but with modern steel and welding, accurate with higher tolerances, and pre-rustproofed. Bootleggers, moonshiners, and good ol’ boys will still love it. Whitewall tires, of course, are optional. Stick a flame job and some glasspacks on it, in true California fashion. Or if you want your own design inspiration, Ford will showcase such a hot rod with the new body at the SEMA show in Las Vegas next week.
Prices start at $11,900, from Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts. The chassis is sold separately, as well as front panels and doors. Ford also offers a reproduction body for the early Mustang, if that’s more of your bag.