The Ford display at the 2012 SEMA Show in Las Vegas was dominated by new cars and trucks – Mustang, F-150 and Focus – all customized and modified using the growing roster of performance parts available through Ford Restoration Parts to make them go faster and look even better. But one end of the big SEMA booth celebrates the company’s longstanding hot rodding heritage. And on this retro side of the display is a Dream Garage, with a car builder’s fantasy tucked inside: a 1940 Ford reproduced from all-new sheetmetal.
As time goes by, it gets increasingly difficult to find older cars, and their parts, that are in good enough condition to be restored. The aftermarket has responded to this situation by stamping reproduction sheetmetal – fenders, quarter-panels, door skins, and so on – to help patch these cars together. Recently several companies have taken the next step in this process by reproducing entire car bodies. Already Mustang restorers can take advantage of buying and building brand-new 1965-1970 Mustang bodies, and this year the 1940 Ford joins this growing list of new old cars.
The 1940 body shells are the creation of Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts and are officially licensed by Ford. This is not a fiberglass body but a real steel car. The reproduction is so exact that these bodies will bolt to original ’40 Ford chassis, or a builder can mate them to one of the many aftermarket frames that are available.
Anticipating that these cars will be used for more than just pure-stock restorations, the folks at Dennis Carpenter made provisions to offer the body with recessed firewall designs, to accommodate a variety of modern engine options. Restorers who are building their own ’940 Ford don’t have to buy the entire body if they don’t need one, but can order any of the individual panels to augment their project. Ford also offers a number of mechanical and trim restoration parts for the 1940, and other vintage Ford products, at fordrestorationparts.com.
Inside the Ford Dream Garage at the SEMA Show was an unfinished 1940 body shell; outside was an example of a completed hot rod using one of the new bodies. Street Rodder magazine commissioned Dennis Carpenter, Real Deal Steel, Hollywood Hot Rods and several other aftermarket companies to build a new 1940 for the 2012 Street Rodder Road Tour series. Ford helped with the build by supplying a 5.0L, 412-horsepower Coyote V8 engine from Ford Racing, which was topped with an eight-stack fuel-injection system by Inglese and backed by a Gearstar automatic transmission. Jerry Dixie, who heads up the Road Tours for Street Rodder, crisscrossed the U.S. several times this year in the car, logging thousands of trouble-free miles.