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Hot Rods Part II: 1940 Chevrolet Coupe

Hot Rods Part II: 1940 Chevrolet Coupe



Though there are car purists who cringe each time a gearhead converts an original model into a hot rod or customized version, there are certain cars that plead to be rejuvenated. One such car is the 1940 Chevrolet Coupe. Already adorned with flared fenders, a broad footboard, and an “alligator”hood. It flowing lines introduced a progression from its predecessors, including an extended wheelbase, dual wipers, dual air horns, a 30-hour dashboard clock, welded headlights into the front fenders, and ample curves that would have put Marilyn Monroe to shame. This car had looks and muscle in spades. In fact, Juan-Manuel Fangio won a grueling 6,000-mile marathon in a 1940 Chevy Coupe. With its tiny rear window, chopped, slopping trunk and elongated back fenders, it may have wasted passenger space, but simultaneously, gained its reputation for its eye appeal and has become the perfect candidate for today’s custom enthusiasts, like Larry Way’s dream machine.



Where and when did you purchase this car?
I bought it in 1977 in Smith Falls, Ontario.


What is the story behind purchasing this car?
It was brought here from Victoria, B.C. and was a running and driving street rod.


Why this particular car?  
I have owned and driven it all over Canada and the U.S. It drives great, looks good, has a fantastic stereo and is fun to drive.


What condition was it in when you purchased it?
It was in very good condition.


What did you replace the original engine with?
I replaced the engine twice. It is a late model 350 cubic inch Chevy. It has a wonderful rumble and great acceleration. It was made for speed.       


Is the car difficult to drive?         
Drives like a dream. You can drive it at 70 mph with two fingers.


If applicable, how long did it take you to restore it?
I’m always updating it and keeping it fresh.


Who, if anyone, helped you restore the car?
Many friends.


Have you repainted it? Why that particular colour? Was it the original colour?         
It has been the present colour for quite a few years. The colour is Black Rose, a one-off GM colour.   


Has it won any prizes?
A few.


What reaction do you get from the public when driving it around?
People generally like old cars.


What is the ultimate pleasure in owning such a car?
I just have fun driving it and knowing that I’m preserving a piece of history.          


Do you own or have you restored other collectible cars? If so, what are they?
A 1953 Hudson, a 1928 Ford Roadster, a 1960 VW, a 1967 Chevelle, a 1971 Maverick, and a 1929 Ford pick-up.         


Any interesting stories associated with this car?
I deal in the promotions of car show throughout North America and, over the years, met and got to know the cast from the movie American Graffiti. I was fortunate enough to have them sign the dashboard of this car.         


What do you intend to do with this car?
I will keep it forever.


Have you given your car a nickname?


What does your 1940 Chevy Coupe represent to you?     
My 1940 Chevy Coupe is like a part of me. I traded a 1972 GMC Sprint (GMC El Camino) as partial payment and I drove ’40 Coupe home. That was in April 1977. I have driven it 185,000 miles all over the US and Canada. I was very active with the Canadian Street Rod Association for 25 years (before it folded) and people recognize the car as mine. I feel so comfortable driving it and it is my favorite car of all. It is a reflection of who I am.


In your opinion, what is the future of the classic car/hot rod?     
The future. The street rod market is soft. That is a baby boomer market. The next generation has some interest but not like the boomers. I see it staying strong for 15-20 years. After that I see it slowing down. Our winter indoor car shows are still doing well (which is kind of an indication). I am off to Cincinnati on Wednesday morning to our show there. Things could change you know. The Fast and Furious movies are still strong and there is some interest there. That is more like two generations away. I do not see the future being like it was at one time with super strong interest but I do believe there will always be some interest. Last year the SEMA show had a strong exhibitor turnout that is also an indication.      


If you were able to have another collectible car (money being no object), which car would you wish for? Why?   
I like most cars and I prefer oddball or unique cars. I really like North American cars.