What are dreams made of???   When I dreamed of having another 1940 Ford Coupe with a chopped top

like I had in High School

 retouched 40 mine  I visited the Street Rods Nats at Kazoo to get some ideas and maybe find a project in the swap meet that I could start with.  As I cruised the grounds I soon realized that there were many, many '40 Ford Coupes on display although none with a chopped top. 

One '40 Ford front end I saw sticking out up ahead turned out to be a '40 Ford Woody still in mostly original condition.  As I looked it over the wheels began to turn in my head and I thought, hey, maybe I could find a Woody to restore.  So I went forth with the idea for a very short time in which I found that '40 Ford Woody's were very scarce and very expensive.

So this led me to another avenue of though  - why not build one from scratch as a street rod??? 

A couple  of '40 Fords soon showed up in my garage and after sorting out the best parts I ended up with a nice deluxe font clip and the cowl  from a 2 door sedan cut off 14 inches behind the windshield. 

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The frames were junk so a new frame with a Heidts Mustang front suspension was acquired and some futile attempts were made to mock up a body which soon turned out to be impossible for my talents with wood.


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I knew a shop in Cocoa Beach, Florida that could duplicate all the original patterns and shapes to make a new body for an original car so after a few discussions they were contracted to build one for me but one with two doors instead of four although they could not build a complete front doors because each needed to be fitted to the door post which was in Michigan.   The shop also had a new fiberglass floorpan and rear fenders that fit a stock frame so I got one of those too.  Loaded it all in a new trailer and brought it back to Michigan.


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I soon discovered that the shop in Florida was less talented than I thought and was forced to make several pieces over and replace all the plywood panels.  Later I also discovered that the back windows did not fit the openings so some major surgery was needed.


About a thousand trips to various other salvage yards resulted, among a lot of other parts,  in a set of seats, front power buckets and rear bench, from a Bravada SUV that were in nearly perfect condition and fit right in like they were made for it.  The Bravada 3 point seat belts were salvaged and adapted to the project. 

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Along came a big interruption when we moved to a new home in Charlotte and the street rod had to go on hold.  It happened that the neighbor across the street, Ralph Davis, owned Davis Auto Salvage and it was'nt long when a 1986 5.0 H.O. Mustang motor and AOD transmission sat in the garage. 

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This being a computer run motor getting it into the car was just the beginning.  Using an original wiring harness about two miles of extra wires were eliminated and about a hundred were shortened and spliced.  Then a high pressure fuel pump and a return line to the gas tank were required to get it to run.  But eventually it did run and boy does it run great with the computer controlling everything. 


As the body started to come together it soon became apparent that there was no way that the doors were going to come out of my workshop so on the way home from the MMSRA fall color tour we made a stop at Nickels Automotive Woodworking in Traverse City.  Mike Nickles is world famous for his work and agreed to build the doors over the winter and what a superb job he did, power windows, bear claw latches and all. 

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Arriving back in Charlotte in the spring the final mechanical items were completed and off to Eaton Body in Charlotte where Mike Crowner applied his magic touch with the paint gun and his brother Larry massaged the paint into perfection until a "Razzling Red" 1940 Ford emerged from his shop. 

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As spring started to wane the project became a working drivable street rod.  Not without the normal bugs but still driveable. 

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After a couple of early outings where the car would not start, the headlights did not work, the radiator boiled over and the suicide door flew open on the way to Fitzgterald park we ventured out to Hickory Corners for the Gilmore Car Museum's Red Barn Spectacular show.  We arrived without incident and found about 900 cars already parked.  A nice end spot in the middle of the main circle popped up so we parked it and strolled through the show grounds, swap meets and the museum buildings. 

With the brilliant "Razzling Red" paint and beautiful Maple wood she sure looked great in the blazing sun. She must of looked pretty good to a lot of other car owners for at the end of the day she was selected as one of the 50 best cars out of more than 900 others. 

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In March 2015 the largest indoor auto show in the US is held at Cobo Hall in Detroit.  The woody was accepted for display this year and was judged for a FIRST PLACE award.  The scribble in the lower left corner is Chip Foose's autograph.