The idea of seasonal hot rodding is not an issue for people who live in the South and the West, but if you've spent a winter or two in places where the mercury migrates into the single digits and stays there for weeks on end, it's pretty familiar. For hot rodders living in these winter climates, the hobby changes when the snow starts falling. Spare time is spent working on the car in the garage instead of driving it on the street-especially if your ride is a roadster or a convertible.
Patrick and Joyce Quinn live in Peoria, Illinois, but are lucky enough to have found a solution to the inconvenience of wintertime in the Midwest. They bought a winter home in Mesa, Arizona, where it's hot. When it gets cold up North, they migrate southwestward. And since it's almost always convertible weather in Arizona, the Quinns can enjoy driving their '40 Chevy ragtop resto rod all year round.
Over the years, Patrick has owned a whole roster of hot rods. The list is mostly Chevys from various eras, but includes a Deuce five-window and a '40 Stude. This '40 has been in his possession for approximately 20 years. For the past five of those years, the car has been undergoing a top-to-bottom rebuild, with the majority of the work being done at his summer home during the winters. Since Patrick did most of the work himself during the winter, progress on the Chevy was slow, which meant no driving it, regardless of the weather.
After a couple of years spent modifying the chassis, Patrick spent another two years working on the body, replacing worn- out sheetmetal with as much new old stock as he could. The fifth year of the buildup was dedicated to final assembly. Considering the time restraints, and the fact that he tackled the job on his own, five years is a pretty good pace for a final result as nice as this. For Patrick and Joyce, though, not being able to drive their convertible must have been frustrating at times.
Now that the car is together, and better than ever, they are taking advantage of it. We ran across the '40, and later the Quinns, last summer at the NSRA Street Rod Nats. They'd found a hot spot near the center of the action to show off the new car they've owned for 20 years. We found a spot in town for a photo shoot so you could get an eyeful of Patrick's year-round ride.
Patrick & Joyce Quinn East Peoria, Illinois '40 Chevy ConvertibleDrivetrainThe '98 LS1 under the hood remains essentially stock, with the exception of some custom exhaust headers, built by Patrick. The '98 Z28 five-speed gearbox, also kept stock, is connected to the 3.07:1-geared '85 Corvette rearend by an aluminum driveshaft from Inland Empire.
ChassisCorvette components continue in the chassis, where the stock '40 frame serves as the starting point for a slew of suspension parts picked from an '85 Corvette, beginning with the narrowed frontend and brakes, and moving backward to the narrowed IRS. Patrick built a front crossmember, stepped the rear 3 inches, and notched the 'rails to clear the exhaust system. Patrick added Firestone airbags to suspend the front, and antisway bars at both ends.
Wheels & TiresThe look of the 15x7 steel wheels wrapped up with wide white radials measuring 225/70 and 205/70 was a great choice to fit the overall theme of the Chevy. The Cadillac sombrero wheel covers are the icing on the cake.
Body & PaintPatrick went for new old stock parts as much as he could when rebuilding the '40 Chevy body. The hood, fenders, running boards, bumpers and guards, door handles and locks, and other parts are N.O.S. The nose trim is borrowed from a '39 Chevy. Patrick handmade the running board molding and hood moldings. For a rear license guard, he sectioned and boxed a '49 Chevy piece. The medium blue single-stage paint was sprayed by Mesa resident Scott Arnold.
InteriorA '70 Nova bench was cut down to fit in the interior before getting dressed up in white vinyl, with upholstery work by Steve and Marilyn Ralfs (who also upholstered George Poteet's '40 Ford pickup featured elsewhere in this issue). Patrick got the dash out of a '49 Cadillac and retained the Caddy instruments as well. The N.O.S. steering wheel is a '59 Impala part, but looks perfect here. Vintage Air A/C seems redundant on a convertible, unless you've spent any time in Arizona.