Modern Art Monday: 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe, a Rolling Time Capsule

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The weekend after my summer semester at college drew to a close, I was informed of a classic car show taking place in historic downtown Acworth, Georgia, just a quick drive away. So naturally, my petrol-headed friend and I made it a priority. The show saw over 250 classic cars from many different eras lined up on Main Street, all of which were beautiful in their own way. This one, however, I saw on the way out and it won over my heart and never let go.

It was this 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe you see above. Having been built in December of 1939, powered by an 85 horsepower Flathead V8, bought for a mere $775 sometime later, driven lightly, and then garaged for nearly 50 years perfectly preserved, this Ford is literally a rolling time capsule – especially when you see the gems on display inside and in the trunk.

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The Ford’s sleek and modern (for the time) body work drew in plenty of visitors, as did the flawless black paint which I think goes best with this body style. The interior, which featured the new for 1940 column-mounted Finger-Tip Gearshift and dark mahogany wood trim, was also beautifully preserved. The original 30-hour clock and radio are still intact and functional. But the original Ford parts, accessories, and memorabilia that the owner had on display in the trunk is what truly made this one special in my book.

Some of the many things on display in the trunk included the original Genuine Ford Tires spare, tool kit, flat tire repair kit, plenty of owners/reference manuals, a 1940 Georgia road map, an October 1939 edition of Ford News, a tin of Ford anti-freeze, and a sample of Ford paint colors and upholstery options for the 1940 model year. All the tools and manuals came with the car the day it was bought and were all laid out for the world to see.

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That blue hat was of the same type worn by Ford dealership mechanics in 1940 as part of their “It’s Ford for ’40” campaign, which was their way of promoting their newest models as the highest quality and best-looking cars in their price point. 

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A closeup of the Ford upholstery and paint color samples… and an award for “Most Original Moonshiner Car”, which is fitting because this was one of the most popular cars for the job. Oh how times have changed.

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This car was stunning from every angle, especially from the back. Unfortunately, I was too excited about what was in the trunk so I neglected to walk back four feet and take a picture of the rest of the car from that angle. Whoops.

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For me at least, it’s a bit of a rarity to see a car from this era in such good condition. Whenever I stand in the presence of a well-preserved car like this, I like to think about what the world was like when the car was built.

For this car, most of the world was at war, and in another two years, so was the United States. By 1942, the same hands that built cars like this for civilian use began building B-24 Liberators, tanks, and jeeps to fight in World War II. Then when the war was over, the factories picked up where they left off, building the same cars as they were immediately before the war while designers worked on new models to be revealed a few years later. Some 1946 models were even built with leftover parts from 1942.

So within the same decade, Ford (and others, of course) went from building rolling art to war machines and then back to rolling art. This 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe represents the beginning of what was one of Ford’s most challenging decades, and I find it mind boggling that this piece of art, so perfectly preserved, was really just a predecessor to tools of war.

But then again, I’m weird like that.

Some of the Deluxe Coupe’s specifications mentioned in this post were found at OldCarBrochures.com. I included the link to ruin your productivity. Have fun!

[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian] 

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11 responses to “Modern Art Monday: 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe, a Rolling Time Capsule”

  1. MVEilenstein Avatar

    A veritable time machine. Excellent find.

  2. Toxic Avenger Avatar

    Way back when there was a stylish 40 Ford customized by "Cushenberry" . Real sweet car .Sectioned chopped etc.
    The original 40 is really aerodynamic for that era. Cushenberry took that look and improved it.
    In my mind one of the most stylish customs .

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    Beautiful. I like all the accessories, like the Ford News magazine. I remember when Ford sent out Ford Times to owners – somewhere at home I've got at least a couple of issues from the late '60s. It was a smaller magazine, about the size of a TV Guide.

    1. Devin Avatar

      Does anyone besides Toyota still send owners a magazine?

      1. lilpoindexter Avatar

        I got a magazine from Costco today…

      2. dr zero Avatar

        I get one from Ford Australia.
        (which I totally don't immediately recycle).

      3. owl Avatar

        In England everyone does magazines: presently I am getting ones from Mercedes and Alfa and BMW, the last one is a bit bizarre because I have never even owned a BMW…and the Alfa went 2 years ago

      4. GTXcellent Avatar

        Yep – just got mine from Ford yesterday in fact.

        1. Devin Avatar

          Weird, my dad has bought new Fords all my life (seriously, took delivery of his first new truck the day I was born) and they never sent him a magazine. This is in Canada though.

      5. HTWHLS Avatar

        I am getting a Ford magazine now and all I bought was a Focus.

  4. brotherdoc Avatar

    My aunt owned a white1940 Ford convertible with red (leather?) upholstery and, best of all, a rumbleseat. We kids loved riding there. Talk about a bygone era, there were no seatbelts or headrests, let alone kiddie security seats. We even rode on the runningboards sometimes–was this the last Ford to have runningboards?

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