Like many of us, Gary Chapman became infatuated with hot rods as a kid, reading magazines like Rod & Custom , Hot Rod , Honk , Car Craft , and others. His first car, a 29 Model A Tudor, was quickly followed by a 31 roadster pickup and a 29 Model A coupe. However, Chapman always had a thing for the 40 sedan. He says, I just love the shape of those old things. Now a business owner and family man, Gary needed a car with enough room to haul his growing family, and the Tudor fit the bill perfectly.
Twelve years ago, Gary located his 40 through a friend in Oklahoma City. A buddy of mine had a neighbor who had this 40 Tudor sitting in his backyard, says Gary. He was moving and had to sell it.
An initial inspection of the old war horse revealed that it was solid, with the exception of a rusted-out passenger-side door hinge, which had been closed and re-closed far too many times without sufficient lubrication. The exchange of a lone $100 bill sealed the deal.
Credit for much of the build goes to Kar Shoppes David Elledge, also from Oklahoma City, whos built more than his share of race cars, street rods, and musclecars over the years. David was particularly interested in building this car after he found out that I had planned on painting it orange, laughs Chapman, since everything David Elledge owns is painted orange.
As 40 Ford street rods go, this is a traditional 50s smoothie with a touch of the 80s blended in. The front fender openings have been cut and closed up for a tighter, cleaner look around the front wheels. The center grille insert is handmade. The 40 DeLuxe headlight covers have been shaved and molded into the body. Both front and rear bumper indentations have been filled, and the car runs bumperless. The rear license plate has been recessed into the decklid, and the hood has been welded up and shaved.
Powering the car is a mildly warmed-over 69 vintage Chevrolet 350 backed up by a TH350 automatic. And yes, the car is air-conditioned for those hot Oklahoma summers.
Weather permitting, Gary and wife Sue drive the sedan everywhere (the Chapmans are members of both the NSRA and City Heat Cruisers). To date, the orange-and-tan scalloped 40 has participated in Americruise 98 as well as attending the NSRA Nationals, the Southwestern Nationals, and many local rod runs.