Having exhausted the alphabet for their different models, and after flirting with model numbers for a few years, Ford in the USA began referring to their cars simply by the model year of the initial design, starting with the 1937 Ford.

They produced the car in a range of different body styles; sedan, coupe, convertible, station wagon, pick-up and so on and also in two different trim levels; Standard and DeLuxe. Although each year it had a styling refresh and a few tweaks to keep things new, the ‘37 stayed in production through to 1940 after which, you guessed it, came the 1941 Ford.

Power came from a choice of an entry level 136 cu.in (2.23-litre) flathead V8, which generated 60 hp – or a 221 cu.in (3.62-litre) flathead V8 delivering 85 hp.

By 1940, the coupe had gained sealed-beam headlamps fitted further outboard and given bigger bezels. The bonnet was given a high, flat top and in DeLuxe spec the front grille was widened out with additional louvres to reach the fenders.

The combination of the legendary 221 cu.in flathead V8 engine and a fabulous body shape has made Ford Coupes of the ‘37-’40 era the go-to base metal for automotive alchemists looking to fettle, tweak and hammer their way to the ultimate custom car or hot-rod.

The example we have with us today was painstakingly built to be competitive in vintage and classic endurance rallies such as the legendry Peking to Paris event but largely due to Covid never taking part. As such it represents the opportunity to acquire an “out of the box” endurance rally car ready to compete in the post Covid 2023 vintage and classic rally calendar.

The Vehicle

Built for the 1940 model year, this left-hand-drive Ford Coupe DeLuxe was imported to the UK and registered with the DVLA in December 2014.

Handed over to Royal Kustoms of Poole in Dorset, at a cost of over £100,000, the Coupe was eventually rebuilt, with a 296 cu.in (4.8-litre) flathead V8 and prepared for endurance rallying organised by ERA and HERO (https://www.endurorally.com/) in time for the 2020 season. Sadly, we all know what happened in 2020. Although the car has undergone shake-down runs totalling less than 3,000 miles, it has yet to turn a wheel in competition.

With plans changing, the owner decided to sell the car and returned it to Royal Kustoms in September for a full service and check over.

Royal Kustoms estimate that the build today, excluding base car purchase, would exceed £200,000.

Royal Kustoms are highly regarded for the quality and ingenuity of their race and rally preparation. This car has been obsessively over-engineered – outside, inside and underneath – to the most exacting standards of build quality and craftsmanship.

Should they wish to do so – the new owners will just need some paperwork for the car, then they’ll be all set to compete in the pre-war class for notable endurance rallies like the Alaska to Mexico Marathon at the end of September this year.

Fully fettled and ready to go, the car starts, goes and stops as you would hope. The handling and balance are impressive, as is the power on tap from the stroked and bored, 4.8-litre ‘Flathead’ V8 offering around 170 bhp and excellent amounts of torque.

And it goes about its business to a barking, thunderous, roaring soundtrack of Wagnerian proportions that will have people diving for cover at 200 yards.

No expense has been spared, no corners cut, no compromises tolerated.

Every structural, mechanical, electrical or cosmetic component is the best that it could be.

The car has spent most of its life in the dry Southern States of America was sourced in New Mexico and brought to the UK in 2014.

The body, panels and wings are original as is most of the chrome work. That’s where it started now brace yourself.

Here’s the spec sheet…..


Original 1940 Ford Chassis converted with a custom centre section to accommodate 5-speed gearbox.

Fully step boxed the entire length of the chassis rails with added strength gussets.

Rear chassis crossmember converted to take 1939 pickup Parallel leaf-spring kit with custom rear crossmember.

Hydraulic bump stop brackets fitted onto chassis.

All chassis areas with either roll cage or suspension hoops fitted have crush tubes fitted into the chassis.

Front and rear tow hitches installed.

Suspension and Steering

Front: Original style transverse spring front suspension with custom-made front spring with new spring shackles fitted with poly bushes.

Royal Kustoms designed and made front shock hoops with removable strut brace.

Fox front shocks custom made and setup for exact weight of car. Fox adjustable hydraulic bump stops.

Front suspension wishbone has additional reinforcement.

Front anti-roll fitted.

Rear: 1939 Parallel leaf-spring kit fitted.

Fox rear shocks custom-made and setup for exact weight of car, fully adjustable for height.

Fox fully adjustable hydraulic bump stops.

Royal Kustoms top A-arm made with hi-acute off-road Land Rover centre ball joint.

Steering: Fully adjustable electric power steering unit connect to a GM525 heavy duty quick steering manual steering box via Borguson steering U/Js with added tilt adjustment.

Fully refurbished spindles with new kingpins fitted.


Ford Tremec T5Z Motorsport 5-speed transmission.

MDL dual-friction clutch disc and diaphragm clutch plate.

Wilwood external hydraulic clutch slave cylinder.

Mustang racing mechanical clutch release bearing.

Custom-made propshaft fully balanced with heavy duty U/Js fitted.

Ford heavy duty 9” rear axle assembly with Strange heavy duty half-shafts and 3.55 crown and pinion. Custom-made by Hauser racing.


Lincoln Bendix 12” Front drum brakes with re-lined road/race shoes and added air scoops on backing.

Ford 11” Bendix self-adjusting rear drum brakes with road/race linings.

Wilwood adjustable pedal box running Wilwood front and rear master cylinders.

Remote brake servo installed onto front brakes only, running a vacuum hold tank.

Brake proportioning valve and residual valves fitted. Braided flexy lines installed, front and rear.

Hard brake lines are Kniefer with a stainless outer spiral sleeving fitted through out.


296 cubic inch Ford ‘Flathead’ V8.

Ex-military block. Fully ported and polished. Heavy duty main caps. Engine block converted for oil filter system.

New Scat 4 ¼ inch stroke forged crank shaft.

Scat H-beam rods with 2.0 inch bearing size for modern rod bearings.

Ross Racing 3 5/16” forged pistons with Molly rings.

Custom Cam shaft with adjustable lifters, Isky racing springs correctly weighted, 1.6 Manley stainless intake and exhaust valves, 1 piece valve guides.

Mellings oil pump with baffled oil pan.

Edelbrock 75cc finned ally heads. Cosmetic head gaskets installed. ARP head bolts and complete stainless bolt set.

Twin Stromberg’s correctly jetted for engine.

Modern seal/bearing water pumps. K&N air filters.

Custom-made lightened flywheel. Engine fully balanced. Custom-made harmonic balanced front crank pulley fitted.

MSD electronic distributor with switchable on-the-fly twin MSD off-road epoxy racing coils with rev limiter.

Fuel System

Pro-Alloy 175-ltr custom-made fully baffled ally fuel tank.

Twin Facet Red Top electric fuel pumps. Twin Malpassi Competition fuel filter/regulators.

Sytec large metal pre-filter element fuel filter. Sytec anti drain back valves.

Cohline 2240 100% ethanol fuel lines fitted.

Electrical system

Complete new custom-made wiring loom fitted with reset trip-able fuses and heavy-duty relays converted to 12 volts.

120 amp alternator. Varley Red Top Racing gel pack battery. 12-volt power sockets installed under hood, inside car and also fitted in boot. Master cut-off key connected onto neg side of battery.

16” high CFM electric fan running with twin auto fan controllers set at different operating temps, also with a fan override switch and a river crossing switch.

New Classic instruments – fully electric gauge cluster.

O2 Lambda sensor and gauge fitted for AFR ratios. On-the-fly switchable fuel and ignition systems.

New electric wiper motor fitted with wash wipes.

Nav systems (GPS and wheel speed sensors) doubled up.

Ignition coils doubled up.

Body and Roll-Cage

Full restoration of body shell.

Original front sheet metal work. Custom-made hood with louvres and side panels. Custom-made floor with drop down boot area and removable trans cover panels enabling transmission removal from the inside if required.

Custom-made seat framework with lockable under-seat drawers.

Custom-made fuel tank framework with removable ally bulk heads and panel work.

Front and rear fenders reworked for higher tyre clearance and to place tyres in the centre of the fender openings.

Read on


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