Rod & Custom Feature Car

Ralph Turnberg
Hendersonville, North Carolina
1940 Ford Coupe

Starting with the original '40 Ford chassis, Ralph modified the platform with a Total Cost Involved Mustang II-style crossmember up front and a pair of parallel leafs from Chassis Engineering out back mounting an 8-inch ford rearend. Ralph kept the homebuilt vibe going by creating his own transmission crossmember and plumbing the brake and fuel lines in stainless steel. Chevy 11-inch discs were adapted to the front suspension along with a manual steering rack.

Keeping it simple, Ralph dropped a Chevy small-block backed by a 700-R4 automatic trans into his homebuilt chassis. The Edelbrock carb sits on a Professional Products intake and has been dressed up by an air cleaner from Speedway flanked by a pair of chrome valve covers. An aluminum radiator keeps the bullet-proof combo cool.

Wheels & Tires
Ralph obviously prefers function over fancy and to that end his ride rolls on a set of simple 15-inch steelies wrapped in 165/70R15 wide whites up front and 205/70R15 matching rollers in the rear. A set of owner-modified original single-bar flipper caps completes the package.

Body & Paint
There are probably not a lot of 70-year-olds out there chopping, channeling, and sectioning their rides. Not only is that something Ralph tackled himself, but also taught a group of college students how to do it while he completed the process on his pride and joy. The process started with a 5-inch channel job followed by a 3-inch chop and wrapped up with a 2-inch sectioning of the hood with the front fenders raised a matching amount. Running boards were deemed obsolete and removed while a '41 Lincoln Zephyr gas door was added to the rear fender. The only portion of the entire build Ralph didn't handle himself was the spraying of the gray urethane paint, which he relinquished to a local body shop. Mark Peters (Asheville, NC) accented the body with some pinstripes. Briz bumpers are mounted on both ends with a '49 Chevy license surround on the rear.

Sticking with the DIY theme, Ralph took care of things inside just like the outside. Owner-stitched burgundy leather covers Mitsubishi seating and a '40 steering wheel tops a Chevy tilt column hooked to an original '40 dash. Despite a lack of A/C, power goodies or even a radio, nothing keeps Ralph from driving his '40 Ford as often as possible - just as it should be.