1940 Ford Convertible is Treated to Mild-custom Style… And Then Some
A hot rodder/racer for the past three-plus decades, NorCal commercial glass contractor knows his way around a finely built, finely tuned machine - whether it’s a 6-second run down the quarter at Famoso in his 1957 Pro-Mod, or a 6-hour cruise down the coast in his Brizio-built full-fendered Deuce roadster.
About 10 years ago, Tony acquired a 1940 Ford convertible from his insurance man, whom had previously owned it since the ’70s. Before changing hands, however, there was a slight problem - the car had caught fire and burnt down in his broker’s driveway. Nonetheless, a deal was struck, and the convertible made its way to Tony’s warehouse, where it would sit for a lonely eight years … until Bill Ganahl came into the picture.
Actually, Tony went to Ganahl/South City Rod & Custom “…wanting us to fix the metalwork and put the body on a new chassis” Ganahl says. “He wanted a simple street rod driver. He came in with a very “street rod” perspective, so I pitched him ideas on options for how we could customize the car to make it unique, and he was very open to my suggestions. I really had to push him for the top, especially doing it white, and for the color of the car, which he originally wanted Pagan Gold. Since he isn’t a traditional custom car guy, I compromised on doing the ’60s-style wheels instead of whitewalls and steel wheels or caps. He basically told me, ‘If it looks like sh!t when it’s done, you gotta redo it my way!’”
As you can see, Ganahl’s way was the right way. It started with bringing back the molten metal to beyond presentable standards, for which Donny Welch handled the bulk of the responsibilities. Along with the necessary repairs, the windshield (and subsequently the top as well, by Chris Plante) chopped 1-1/2 inches, the rear catwalk lengthened 8 inches, tops of the rear quarters filled, and taillights lowered. Joe and Ryan at Compani Color followed suit with finish bodywork and the flawless application of the custom-mixed light blue metallic. Chrome - including the narrowed, tucked, and shaved bumpers and brightwork is all by Sherm’s Custom Plating.
That “new chassis” Ganahl eluded to wound up coming from Total Cost Involved, complete with MII, four-link, limited-slip 9-inch, the whole enchilada. In it, South City placed a TruTrac-outfitted, carburetor-fed Chevrolet Performance crate 350 with a 700-R4, set the suspension just right, then tossed on a set of as-cast center Team III ET Sebrings in 15- and 17-inch, each wrapped in Diamondback Classics red line radials.
Chris Plante, who fabbed up the custom aluminum (chopped) folding top framework, not only fashioned up the white convertible covering (in itself a chore, as Ganahl had rather specific “demands” for how the top flowed shape-wise when up), but the entire white leather interior as well, even carving the foam seat bases from scratch. Flooring is blue-hued loop, while the stock-ish dash has been retrofit with Classic Instruments custom shop gauges, the speaker grille converted to A/C duct for the Vintage Air unit, and a LimeWorks column topped with an exterior-colored 1940 DeLuxe wheel. Basically, projects often go, Tony’s ragtop ended up going over the top - and it seems builder and owner are just fine with that!