Category: 1940

The Automobile Really Hit its Peak in 1940. Here Are Five Reasons Why. – David Conwill @Hemmings


I recently read that Toyota has switched all its remote-starter systems for vehicles built after November 2018 to a subscription-based model. Owners have apparently been finding that out the hard way as their three-year introductory period expires and suddenly their key fobs don’t work.

Technically, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’ve never owned a Toyota or a vehicle with remote start. The times I’ve used such technology, it’s been nice for cold days when you don’t want to trudge out to warm up a cold car. On the other hand, a lot of jurisdictions are banning that type of behavior anyway.

Still, I’ve seen the steady creep of subscription-based everything that has come in the wake of near universal smart-phone usage. Some of it makes sense. If something is being constantly updated and improved, that costs money. Somehow, though, I doubt remote start is changing much once it’s installed in a car. Mostly, subscription-based models just seem like a way for companies to turn a one-time purchase into a constant stream of income and I’d rather opt out of that, thanks.

That got me thinking (or ranting) about how most improvements since 1940 have been mere refinements and how much I dislike forced obsolescence. In the interest of positive thinking, though, I decided to take the opposite tack. Here are five pieces of technology that were standard in U.S. automobiles in 1940 and have never really been improved upon, especially in terms of adjustability and rebuildability.

The Down Draft Carburetor

Up to 1932, virtually every automobile used some form of up-draft or side-draft carburetor. These were largely fine from a user standpoint and even had the advantages of packaging, gravity-feed fuel, and almost never flooding the engine, but they were a major airflow restriction. Chrysler introduced the down-draft carburetor in 1929 and the industry soon followed.

Carbs don’t play well with modern emissions standards (at least not if you want any performance), but from a user standpoint, they’re simplicity itself, requiring nothing more than a vacuum gauge to achieve near-peak tuning. The truly detail obsessed can use a wide-band O2 sensor to really get things dialed in, it’s just a matter of turning wrenches and screwdrivers instead of inputting computer code.

The Headlamp

1940 Mercury. Courtesy

Headlights or headlamps, regardless of what you call them and even in six-volt 1940, the seven-inch sealed beam was perhaps the perfect lighting solution for 90-percent of American drivers. I suspect anyone who has driven in the past month likely knows how out of hand the modern lighting situation has become. We’re glad you can see the road, folks, but the rest of us would like to as well.

It happens 1940 was the model year in which the sealed-beam headlamp became standard on automobiles. Later in the 1950s, smaller versions for quad applications became legal, and still later a rectangular version was the standard. Now there is no standard that’s worth a damn, and nobody can see. Just buy a spotlight, people. It’s what they did in 1940.


For many years, electrical systems were the biggest reliability gremlin in new cars. It’s still far from a non-issue, but the basic standard electrical system of 1940 carried on for decades until all of you people started demanding your car navigate for you and order your latte ahead at the next exit.

Since the late 1920s, the charging element had been a standalone part of the engine system. By 1939, that charging element was a three-brush six-volt generator—by 1956 it had become a 12-volt generator; and in the 1960s a 12-volt alternator. Initially, battery charging was regulated by a simple cut-out—which usually resulted in over-charging. In the mid-1930s, the adjustable, mechanical voltage regulator had come along. It remained the standard through the 1960s and was replaced more for manufacturing economy than as a true improvement.

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Chopped 1940 Ford Sedan Features Aston Martin Paint, Italian Leather Upholstery – Mircea Panait @Autoevolution


Introduced in the latter part of the 1930s, the DeLuxe – a.k.a. De Luxe – was meant to differentiate the Standard line of Ford passenger cars from Lincoln. This fellow here, however, is anything but standard or deluxe.

First things first, let’s talk underpinnings. The 1940 model in the photo gallery and following video doesn’t feature a Flathead V8 but a 427 stroker engine professionally assembled by a shop in Idaho. Based on a 351 block, the 7.0-liter blunderbuss is complemented by a Holley carburetor as well as an Air-Gap intake system from Edelbrock.

Stylish valve covers and polished breathers are also featured, along with a chrome-capped Walker radiator, Russell lines for the deep-sump oil pan, and a smoothed firewall. Wherever you look in the engine compartment, the attention to detail beggars belief. But the motor isn’t the only hardware-related upgrade.

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Featured Classified: ’40 Ford ‘Vert – Ryan @TheJalopyJournal


I’ve long maintained that the best driving early Fords were made between 1936 and 1940. They ride fine, they handle great, and they stop predictably. Add a little power to the flathead and you’ve got everything you need for a daily driver that is pretty reliable and really easy to fix when shit does do what it does – break.

By contrast, the shoebox Ford doesn’t steer or stop nearly as well and later 50’s Fords don’t really handle at all. So, in my book… the sweet spot is that four or five years that ended the 1940’s.

This morning I was thinking about all of this when “32csr” posted an add in the classifieds for a 1940 Deluxe Convertible. It’s a survivor off the west coast and it ticks every damned box. The beauty of an untouched car is that no one has screwed it up yet and you get the honors all to yourself. Simply take that near perfect early Ford engineering and do your best not to confuse things while you:

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The 1940 Ford Style Show – Mac’s Motor City Garage


Of all the early Ford V8s from 1932 through 1948, the 1940 model year must rank at or near the top among hot rodders and restorers—next to the inaugural year of 1932, of course. Somehow Henry got everything right that year. We’ve featured the ’40 previously here at Mac’s Motor City Garage. For example, check out this excellent three-minute Ford film, Video: Presenting the Ford Line for 1940 from January of 2017. Now we’ve got an even better 10-minute dealer training film that covers the ’40 in greater detail.

When you’re done watching this original sales training film for the stylish new 1940 Ford, you’ll be ready to hurry over to your local Ford dealer and buy one yourself.

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He fell in love with the Lincoln, but he loved the girl more –


Herman Rogg of Goshen, Conn. first spotted his 1940 Lincoln Continental in 1951 and had to have it. He courted his wife, Nadine, in it and their took it on their honeymoon. One of 350 hand-built, it’s tale is told in My Ride.

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This 1940 Ford Convertible Custom Has Deep Family Ties – Tim Bernsau @HotRod


Her name is Debbie Walls and she has contributed to the upgrade of thousands of street rods over the past three decades. Maybe yours. Debbie and her husband, Skip, are the founders of Lokar Performance Parts as well as hard-core hot rod enthusiasts. It’s always interesting to find out what the people who create performance and dress-up products for our hobby, people like Skip and Debbie, have in their personal corral. In their case, the list has been long and includes race cars and muscle cars in addition to street rods.

Read the rest of the article here

60 Hp V8 also known as the “V8-60” – Van Pelt Sales


Ford came out with the small V8 in 1937 to provide a more fuel efficient and less expensive option to the regular 85hp equipped cars and light commercial vehicles. These engines were obvious by their small size and the 17 Stud heads. Ford also built the 60hp engine for the European market with some modifications. The water pumps are also mounted in a common casting that mounts to the front of the engine and serves as the timing cover and engine mount. In the first year of production, these engines had “tin” sided outer water jackets which were welded onto the cylinder portion of the block. The production of the tin-sided blocks ended in April, 1937. Late 1937 and newer model year vehicles had the newer and more conventional “all cast iron” blocks. 1940 was the final year for the 60hp since the new 90hp six cylinder engine would debut for 1941.

The V8 Sixty was a popular engine for aftermarket applications, particularly in midget race cars in the 1950’s and 60’s. It can also be found in some of today’s custom “big bike” motorcycles. Due to its low horsepower and torque, the engine was not considered very powerful by customers for the passenger cars and light trucks that Ford installed them in. The Ford three speed transmission used with the V860 is unique to that engine and does not interchange with the standard 85 or 95hp flathead V8 engines.

Read the rest of the specifications here at the source (Van Pelt Sales)

Slammed Ford Flathead V8-powered 1940 pick-up – Craig Parker | Photos: Chris Thorogood, @StreetMachine


AN ARMY truck that’s been rusting in a shed in Eugene, Oregon, for up to 40 years doesn’t sound like the ideal candidate for a hot rod, but Adam Guglielmi has made it happen.

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