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Projects 1940 Ford Coupe Resurrection, The Tuesday Night Special

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Crusty Chevy, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. Ok here it goes, my first real build thread. This has been a bit of a long time coming. I bought the car in December of 2015 knowing that it would be a while before I got to work on it. I have wanted a ‘40 for as long as I can remember. I still have the AMT model I built in the 1980’s in high school on the shelf where it has always been in my old room at my parent’s home. Every trip home I would look at thing and thing someday. But they were always just a bit out of reach. That is until I found a rough but buildable one in the HAMB Classifieds. I never thought I would have one. It really was a crime of opportunity, why was I looking in the classified that day, I never do. More on the car in a bit.

    I have had my ‘47 Chevy coupe since 1998, 19 years at this point. I had begun a rebuild of sorts when we moved from Maryland to Atlanta in 2010. Life and kids took over and it just took longer than it should have even though I did work on it often. We also have my Wife’s ’56 Pontiac 2 door wagon so I was not without an old car which probably made me complacent and kept the’47 on the back burner. It was still apart in ’15 and the plan was to get it back together before any work on the ’40 started. My Wife was a real pusher for me to get it the ’40 with a “deal” that I could get it now making the promise to get my Chevy on the road again first. I am happy to say that that goal has been accomplished and now I will start actual work on the ’40.

    So this is what I have; a shell with good roof and drip rails and no floors/rockers needing the usual lower quarter and rear pan replacements, decent ’39 trunk lid with big dent but no rust, doors both needing bottoms, two frames one modified with Chassis Engineering equipment and repaired, one original with bad rust, good hood, one front fender that is like NOS the other with an ugly crack repair and dents, enough rear fenders to make two god ones out of, garnishes, hinges and wipers and other miscellaneous stuff in boxes. It also came with lots of repair metal. Lower quarters, tail pan, all the floors from the trunk to the foot boards including tool tray. I still need a driveshaft tunnel, door bottoms and rockers.

    I am going to try and stick to two mantras with this build. The first is that this is “Repair and Not Restoration” and the second is “Do Not Let Perfection Get in the Way of Progress”. The first is for my Early Ford V8 buddies who would rather see it restored to factory. This old girl has had a very hard life and she is no Georgia Peach (came from Alabama actually)and though I will strive to make her the best she can be (see statement #2) factory correct is out of the question. Statement two is for me. It is actually something David Frieburger said in a Hot Rod Magazine editorial years ago that really struck a chord with me. I do high-end fine art conservation, preservation and restoration on big dollar oil paintings for museums and collectors and perfection is my bread and butter and it is hard to turn it off. I spent way too long on my ’47 making things perfect only now to see them scratched and covered with oil and grease. This car will be driver quality with decent paint and interior but no trailer queen. I want to put miles on it and reliability is paramount. It will be built to drive, keep up and stop as fast as the traffic around me. An occasional trip down the drag strip is foreseen as well but I do not need a 500hp monster.

    Ok so here is the build plan as of today; 1951 style skirted taildrager with early Olds 303 power and a modern transmission. Color and interior still up in the air, but leaning towards lighter colors unless I decide on A/C as the sun in the south makes a dark car a real “Hot” Rod.

    I will attempt to get the thread up to date over the next month and then it will be real time. Ok time for some pics. I have posted many of these on various threads over the past two years but since this is now my thread I will repeat them for continuity and anyone who decides to follow along so they will have the whole story.

    This is day one meeting @Bill Nabors he had spent years collecting early Ford stuff and nearing retirement and building a huge workshop realized he had one car too many and let it go.
    27.JPG 20151202_151200.jpg 6.JPG 4.JPG 16.JPG

    I have lots of pics to go. Look for weekly updates.
  2. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,347


    303 Olds powered taildragger? I'm in. I like your philosophy and looks like you've got a good starting point too (by Wisconsin standards, a creampuff!) I'll be watching.
    Crusty Chevy likes this.
  3. The name the "Tuesday Night Special" comes from what we call Daddy's night off. I have been married to my wife for 12 years now and for the last 7 we have worked together in the same building. That makes for a lot of time together and it was starting to grate on us dragging our marriage down. With two kids we just started to lose track of who we were. So we came up with the concept of Daddy and Mommys night off. Tuesday is mine and Thursday is hers. It is a no questions asked evening, do what you want without interruption. When the work day is over so is my shift as Dad/husband . She generally spends hers with friends, I spend mine in the garage. During the summer when I can work later into the night as the kids do not have to get up early for school I get more done, but generally I get a solid 4 hours a week in the garage.

    So Bill had been collecting for years for the '40. First question he asked was deluxe or standard? That AMT model on the shelf is a Deluxe so that is what I said. We then went through the shop and picked out parts to fit the build.
    9.JPG 7.JPG 8.JPG 10.JPG 11.JPG 12.JPG 13.JPG 14.JPG
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  4. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 12,586


    I've recently picked up a few parts for my own 40 coupe resurrection. I'll be watching yours for tips and pointers.
    Crusty Chevy likes this.
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  5. Looking forward to this. Maybe I can get going on mine (someday).
    I like the "Do Not Let Perfection Get in the Way of Progress”.
    Mark Roby and Crusty Chevy like this.
  6. Lowbuckboz
    Joined: Apr 2, 2008
    Posts: 497


    Outstanding! Best of luck with it!
    Crusty Chevy likes this.
  7. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,488

    The 39 guy

    I'll be watching with interest!
    Crusty Chevy likes this.
  8. Mark Roby
    Joined: Sep 29, 2015
    Posts: 96

    Mark Roby

    Yes...perfection is the enemy of good enough

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    tfeverfred and Crusty Chevy like this.
  9. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 8,360

    from Raytown Mo

    Crusty Chevy likes this.
  10. lewk
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 679

    from Mt

    I like it! I also like “Do Not Let Perfection Get in the Way of Progress” and "Daddy's Night Off". As a former professional model maker and father of two little ones, those concepts could help me get some shit done!
    Crusty Chevy and tractorguy like this.
  11. Since it is Thursday and a school night I get to double dip as the wife is out and the kids are in bed. So here is an extra curricular post.

    So that first day at Bill's we made the deal and and she was mine. I gave Bill a hefty deposit and he kindly allowed me to leave with a good amount of the parts. I had a large rental cargo van from work and we loaded up the good chassis and most of the loose items and made a run back to work where I have been storing nearly all the car on shelves and behind my 1/2 size industrial spray booth that I use to varnish artwork in (and paint things the size of doors and fenders) for the last two years.

    This is me with my office assistant who went on the journey with me .

    OahuEli, craig b blue, toolz and 2 others like this.
  12. One more " mock up" shot. Note the really nice rechromed original Ford bumper with the wax from the plater still on it, I have a rear as well. Probably will be some of the best parts on the car for a while.

    kidcampbell71 and mgtstumpy like this.
  13. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 3,951

    from Central IL

    Nice project! Bill is a super good guy! He helped me out when I hit a dead end on my 40 build and sold me a set of floor pans I was needing desperately and couldn't get.
    Crusty Chevy and kidcampbell71 like this.
  14. Bill somehow managed to get two sets from Paul Bradley, you got one and I got the other. He still has a green '39 sedan that can be seen in front of my coupe in the shots at his shop. That car is so cherry it needs no patching.

    Your '40 was the reason I started to paint my '47 in B5 blue. I didn't get past the firewall on it as the '40 came along and the plan changed but I did paint my XS650 bobber with B5 on the tank and fender.

    kidcampbell71, mgtstumpy and Russco like this.
  15. So a few weeks later I headed back to Bill's and finished the deal. Bill was kind enough to deliver the body on his trailer. We loaded the van with the rest of the loose parts and made the 2 1/2 hour trip to Atlanta. Bill was using the money from the sale of the '40 to finance the purchase of a lift. A week later when he went to pick it up and it weighed so much the old trailer tires gave way.

    IMG_9464.JPG IMG_9465.JPG IMG_9468.JPG IMG_9469.JPG IMG_9471.JPG

    Safe and sound but a tight fit with all that was surrounding her. I have since done a major rearrange and have much more space to work in. AT this time I was still working on the '47 and it was in many pieces.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
    kidcampbell71, krbstr and mgtstumpy like this.
  16. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,275

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    Congratulations, good luck with your build.
    Crusty Chevy likes this.
  17. NashRodMan
    Joined: Jul 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,468


    That's a good start on a cool car. 40's are cool looking right from the factory.
    Crusty Chevy and olcurmdgeon like this.
  18. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,138


    that looks a lot like how I got my 47, maybe I can learn a thing or two from you.
    Crusty Chevy likes this.
  19. Bill Nabors
    Joined: Jul 24, 2011
    Posts: 211

    Bill Nabors

    I still have the sway bar and some odds and ends for you. You are welcome to come and dig in my pile when you get to that point. I have another frame from a 39 that I just got and it is complete. Let me know if you need something. Good luck. Remember what I told you. I am not a great welder, but I am a damn good grinder.
  20. Sam, your Uncle Mike thread was awesome. I right click saved so many images for my 40-buil pic folder to helpme along the way. Thankfully I do not have to do the cowl repair.
  21. I have been following your build thread. We appear to have the the same amount of work to do. Have you read the book "Bird by Bird" basically as story of how to accomplish huge projects by breaking them down and doing one thing at a time.
  22. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,138


    no I haven't, is it a picture book?
    I'm going to try and get going at it again now that I'm working again.
    The biggest hurdle for me will be, I think getting floors fixed up.
    Crusty Chevy likes this.
  23. Good to hear you are gainfully employed again. Hard to spend money on a project when none is coming in.
  24. This is Bill's way of saying you might need to go over the chassis repairs. I will get into it when I start on the chassis but Bill replaced the kick up's on both sides. I need to address those areas before it is a safe and functional platform and have a plan in mind.

    Good thing he left me the body to screw up myself.:)
    kidcampbell71 and RODIST like this.
  25. Its Thursday, the kids are asleep and wife is out helping a friend rebuild a 1970's honda 4 and will be getting some Krispy Kremes on the way home so here is the story of the 303. My buddy John has a '49 Ford F3 with its original flathead. The truck is rough but solid. It also sometimes does not like to start. The neighbor across the street from him has been carting around a 45,000 mile 429 big block Ford and C6 transmission from his friend's late grandmother's last car for over a decade and two moves. Following this? So the neighbor offers the motor to John who does some research and decides he is more of a stock kind of guy and that it would be a shit ton of work and asks me if I am interested. So I pose the question to the HAMB will it fit in a '40
    the general though it is will as the car is a gutted disassembled mess that needs everything why not? I get to thinking and decide it is not for me and troll CL and find a 303 with a phone number I recognize. It belongs to my buddy Joseph @clemsoncrewman . He got the motor with attached transmission in another deal and was looking to turn it for a few bucks. I turned him onto the 429 and five way trade was set up. John's neighbor got his garage space back and felt good it was going to a better home, Joseph got the 429/C6 which he traded to a mutual friend for paint on his '58 Chevy truck, and I got the 303. Phew that was round about.

    So the story on the 303 motor is that it belonged to a good ole Georgia boy who had too many cars in the yard and the county was after him. He wound up pulling all the running engines out storing them indoors and scrapping the bodies which were really no good. It was a runner when pulled as they say. It rolls over, no oil gunk in the exhaust manifolds just soot, distributor shaft is tight with no play. I have had one valve cover off and it is full of that flaky mess that the old paraffin wax based oils leave behind, so it has had a fair amount of use but is complete.

    IMG_0300.jpg IMG_0305.JPG IMG_0306.JPG IMG_0314.JPG
    Squablow and kidcampbell71 like this.
  26. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 7,599

    dirty old man

    Enjoyed your thread Larry, looks like you are headed in the right direction. If I ever get healed up in my back, let me know if you need something done with a lathe or mill, maybe I can help.
    Crusty Chevy likes this.
  27. [] We have a great monthly swap meet here called the North East Georgia Swap Meet that takes place at Atlanta Dragway which is actually about an hour and a half north of the city. I have made some good purchases there and on eBay as well trying to get the few bits a pieces that didn't come with the car or upgrade to better examples or just plain hoard some '40 goodies that might be swap fodder later. I will spare you a ton of photos of my past finds until they get put in play, but know that even though I was not working on it I had been thinking on it. Here are just a few of the general hey look what I can get in a weekend finds. IMG_2023.JPG

    Ok, so as you will remember "the Deal" get the '47 done and then start on the '40. It was slow going but I eventually made a goal of Steel in Motion 2017 to get it done. I wound up making the 250 mile drive in the Chevy this past May and thought, sweet now I can start on the '40. But it was not to be...Well something broke about 100 miles later...not sure of the order but somehow a dipper wound up smashed in the bottom of the oil pan and a loose rod nut that I could take off by hand.[​IMG]

    I started hearing a flutter, must have been the dipper hitting the oil tray in the pan as that was slightly bent. This turned into a knock about 20 miles later that prompted me to pull it in the garage and tear into it. I found the smashed dipper on rod #3 and NO pall lock nuts on all the rods. The Chassis Engineering MII got in the way of pan removal but I managed to do it all in car. The rod was OK and the babbitt was unscarred. I re-shimmed all the rods while I was under there and added a NOS dipper to #3. This took about three months to correct.

    OK now she is back together for good and onto the reason you are reading the '40 build.

    So this is what I called "Moving Day". I took the '40 out for a walk from the cramped right bay to the the spacious left bay.

    IMG_1973.JPG IMG_1975.JPG IMG_1977.JPG IMG_1971.JPG
    kidcampbell71 and clemsoncrewman like this.
  28. I decided to start with the chassis as the one under the car was pretty bad. The right rail is super thin, deeply pitted and the usual place for rust at the kick up was a giant hole or should say series of holes. The X member is weakened, bent, rusty and thin on the right side but the left is pretty solid. The left rail, steering box plate and the front crossmember are the best parts of this frame.

    Another reason to start on the chassis first is that the "good" one is leaning up against my ceiling support columns in the middle of the room. This makes it easily accessible for Tuesday evening sessions once the now mobile '47 can be backed out. This frame has had both kick ups replaced and has Chassis Engineering parallel leaf spring mounts and a split wishbone mount in the center of the x-member. In general this frame is OK the rails are less pitted than the other and as such importantly it has much clearer serial numbers. The X member is in way better shape but the front crossmember has been butchered for a SBC fuel pump with a torch and had lots of extra hole in it as well. There are a few dents and dings but they can be hammered out.




    I have braced the frame to prepare to remove the front crossmember, though according to my measurements all the rivets are at the same location between the two frames so it should be a remove and replace procedure. A big reason to replace this is that I did come across a set of old Ansen Olds V8 to early Ford chassis motor mount adapters and a good crossmember will look better and be a solid platform. Plus, I am planning on using the sock '40 spring and axle that I have.
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
    kidcampbell71 and clemsoncrewman like this.
  29. good to see another Olds being saved! What are your plans for the rest of the drive train? Also, those are the good round port early Olds exh. manifolds, sometimes hard to find and good for duels.
  30. Right now all I own is the engine, attached Hydro and a 8" ford Granada rear end with a center section that I believe is a 3.08 or possibly 3.28. I am somewhat still up in the air on the final transmision choice. I put a .78 OD T-5 in the Chevy with a 3.08 rear and it has made it infinitely more usable. The T-5 was from a rebuilder and is all new and the shifter is a Hurst. The downside is that it shifts like a truck, slow and a bit notchy. I have a buddy who will donate either an M22 or an M21 4 speed if I actually use it. With a 3.08 a 4 speed would be fine, not at as low revs but acceptable. I am hoping to get 225HP out of the 303. The 216 in the chevy is only about 110HP and while it can get up off the line it takes quite a bit of time to get up to 70mph. I am thinking of using a 51-62 Olds sector style bellhousing and milling it or making an adapter to bolt up the 4 speed. I would need the flywheel and clutch obviously too. What is holding me back is really that I want to tear into the motor before I make any more major commitments/purchases and make sure it is buildable and not scrap. I want to get the pan off and clean it out, check the bearings, look at the bottom of the cylinders, scope through the plug holes, clean the rockers and then possibly fire it off without taking off the heads or intake/valley pan at first.

    Another couple options are a 1950 Olds bellhousing that allows the use of a Cad-LaSalle 3-speed as per factory or an early Ford adaptation as I have access to a banjo rear. These are very low on my excitement list. Far outside possibility is rebuild the Hydro. We did this in the Wife's 56 Pontiac, and I hate it. Or an adapted turbo 350 or 200r4. Either with an adapter or one of Ross Racing's modified examples. The only reason I see to go automatic is, even though I am only 45, I know lots of old car guys in their 70's and early 80's who are giving up their old cars because they cannot deal with a clutch anymore and are moving into '50's and '60's cruisers with automatics. By the time I get that age, his car will need a tear down again and it could be done at a later time, though while I am young and have the energy/hand skills I might as well consider doing it now.

    Not sure on the exhaust manifolds, I believe they are the stock ones and they are in good condition. They should be reuseable.
    clemsoncrewman likes this.

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