There are two questions I ask myself when I start designing a rod or custom: "What if?" and "Why not?" Of course, those questions were applied to my work on this '40 Ford. What if it had a phaeton body? Why not build it as a hot rod? The '40 lends itself nicely to an open-car design; however, this conversion creates a huge interior area and a very long side opening. To avoid the "airport bus" look, I think Ford designers would have ended the body well forward of the rear fenders and added a valance panel similar to the early phaetons. The other design challenge would be preventing the body from angling back too much as it tucks under. The idea is to keep the body as short as possible.

I used two tricks to keep the side opening as small as possible. One, I left the vent window intact. Two, I brought the side panel of the roof forward quite a bit. Both of these tricks help the overall look of the car. Since I'm a vintage rod fan, I played with painted rims and baby Moons and also tried five-spokes with cheater slicks. The hood needed to be open on the sides like a good rod from yesteryear. My solution here was to take the bodyline that trails off the grille and exaggerate it. I terminated the opening with a hint of the old hood line. This modification allows the hood to be lighter in weight, and provides easy visual access to the Flathead, dressed up with Edelbrock performance accessories. The name was borrowed from the old Monogram 1/8-scale kit from the '60s-The Big Tub. I thought it was appropriate. The final question I ask myself when I finish a design is: "Are they going to think I'm crazy?"