1940 Ford 1/2 Ton Pickup review-buy classic car: like a toy

1940 Ford

Whether you’re a diehard Ford fan, an old school truck lover, or just a curious buyer who’s looking for a well-done cruiser, this striking 1940 Ford 1/2 Ton Pickup hits like a lightning bolt on a clear summer day.

For every hot rod, there’s a trend. For every trend, there are admirers. And for every admirer, there’s a dilution of the hot rod that created the trend in the first place. But every once in a while a trend is so powerful it not only becomes the standard for what’s cool with a particular model, it also sets a baseline for that model’s respective fans. We all know you can’t build a serious Willys without a tubbed rear end. And we also know you can’t build a Ford coupe without shaved door handles. Like it or not, these are just unspoken facts of gearhead life. With their tidy proportions and classic form, ‘40s Fords are certainly a standard in the street rod world. And the baseline for notable ‘40s builds is a solid, mostly-steel body, a small block V8 and comparatively upscale trim. You get a fully sorted custom like this awesome 1940 Ford 1/2 Ton Pickup

1940 Ford

With its wind-swept design and classic good looks, the 1940 Ford has always been a rare and highly desirable line of cars.


Not surprisingly, gearheads, customizers and 70 years’ worth of fans have elevated it to one of hot rodding’s greatest cultural icons. The beneficiary of a 12-year restoration that was wrapped up in late 2011 at Manns Restoration of St. Louis, Missouri, this awesome pickup began a new life as a show stopping head turner. That restoration began when the truck’s voluptuous body was thoroughly stripped and professionally chopped. Once that solid profile was virtually seamless, fresh bed planks were complemented with a custom roll pan, fiberglass fenders and a full tonneau. A polished grille, modern headlights and tasteful tail lamps joined shaved doors, shaved drip rails, small mirrors and Specialty Power wipers to provide the simple yet custom perfection that characterizes modern street rodding. Everything not polished was bathed in three coats of PPG Viper Red base, sealed in three coats of PPG 2021 clear and detailed with subtle pin stripes. And today, this razor-sharp custom rolls as a real head turner!


When this 1940 Ford was originally purchased, it was all flathead, all the way. And, while the flathead is a nice novelty that provides a really authentic ownership experience, serious road chops require serious upgrades. Built by John Barrett Hot Rod Engines of McLoud, Oklahoma, the truck’s serious chops come in the form of a 350 cubic inch small block V8. The mean mill’s energy mixture is supplied by a big Holley carburetor, which is sandwiched between a coated intake, braided fluid lines, a Moon pressure gauge, a Moon temperature gauge, and a polished and finned air cleaner. That mixture travels in to John Barrett-supplied heads, which center polished and finned valve covers under polished and finned breathers. At the back of those valve covers, a Pertronix Flame-Thrower distributor shoots fire thorough loomed MSD plug wires. That fire is kept in check by a proven Walker radiator, which is mated to billet hose clamps, a large Cooling Components puller fan and a trick Mr. Gasket Thermocap. A polished serpentine system spins a tough Powermaster alternator and polished AC compressor above a coated water pump while spent gases are cycled through coated block hugger headers. And first-rate detailing, like polished fluid reservoirs, trick valve cover bolts and a Bitchin Products firewall, ensure the truck is more than just a random curbside attraction.


Every good street rod has a solid foundation. Flip this Ford upside down and you’ll find a roster of mechanical improvements that mix classic looks with modern mobility. A smooth 700R4 4-speed spins comfortably in front of an 8-inch Ford axle that was built with NASCAR expertise. That ultra reliable driveline rides between a fresh Bitchin Products floor and quality Fatman Fabrications chassis components, which employ modern power rack-and-pinion steering. Power-assisted brakes, with discs up front and drums at the rear, are a welcome addition and big performance upgrade. There’s a clean, mandrel-bent exhaust system that makes good use of Flowmaster Hushpower II mufflers and a pair of polished stainless pipes. Everything rides on polished Billet Specialties wheels, which spin 225/50ZR16 Goodyear Eagle F1s in front of 255/45ZR18 Goodyear Eagle F1s. And items, like stainless fluid lines, accessible battery leads, finned transmission coolers and a stainless fuel tank, finish an otherwise impressive canvas.


1940 Ford

Wrapped in striking Tan leather, this pickup’s warm and welcoming interior is simple, tasteful and extremely well done.

A body-matched dash hangs clean VDO telemetry and Vintage Air climate control between billet foot pedals, a tilting steering column and a leather-wrapped, Budnik wheel. In front of that dash, a broad bench seat, partitioned for the driver and one lucky passenger, stacks familiar Ostrich inlays on a hidden power outlet. At the bottom of that seat, tight carpet trims a custom consolette, which is complete with a sleek shifter and toggles for hidden Sony Xplod audio. At the sides of the passengers, stylish door panels hang billet handles above switches for Specialty Power windows. Overhead, a custom headliner bridges the gap between an oval mirror, an Ostrich-wrapped window and a billet Center High Mount Stop Lamp. And, above all, quality is the name of the game, with thick sound deadening and Ron Francis wiring ensuring every ride is a great ride.