Gary Upton’s 1940 Ford Coupe
It’s a good thing to have good friends, especially when they are car buddies and know the types of vehicles you like. Gary Upton was sure happy to have a fellow car friend in Texas who learned when a long-stored 1940 Ford coupe was coming up for bid at an estate sale. After being locked away in a garage for 38 years, the coupe proved to be a great basis for a street rod project.
Gary turned to Wheeler’s Speed Shop in Huntington Beach for the build, where Bryan Wheeler and his team started with a TCI chassis with an independent front suspension, four-link rear, coil-over shocks, and Wilwood disc brakes behind Schott 17- and 18-inch wheels. Gary chose a 427c.i. Ford Performance crate engine for power and had it topped with Borla eight-stack EFI and backed with a 4R70W transmission.
Wheeler’s Steve Rose worked the ’40 Ford sheet metal into shape, modifying the rear pan and building a firewall and custom floors before Alan Palmer sprayed the Axalta Brewster Green paint. The Ford then went to Gabe’s Custom Interiors for the chocolate-colored leather upholstery. Dakota Digital gauges and a Juliano’s wheel atop the Limeworks column finished things off.
Gary says he was thrilled to take the first drive in the ’40 after the two-and-a-half-year build and is happy with the way the finished car retains the classic 1940 Ford coupe appearance while incorporating modern performance and comfort.
Photos by Marc Gewertz & Steven Bunker