Restoration of the 1934 Model 40 Special Speedster Confirms Custom Design and Engineering
Design helped shape the styling of future Ford vehicles
In August 2010, the Model 40 Special Speedster was taken to RM Auto Restoration, Blenheim, Ontario, Canada, where it was closely examined, extensively photographed and completely dismantled.
RM Auto Restoration meticulously restored all suspension parts, the cross steering components, the three-speed manual transmission, the rear end, and a 1940 Ford V-8 engine. In the process, a number of discoveries were made:
The steel chassis is custom-built. Two cross members in the front facilitate the engine's rearward placement. The center cross members resemble standard Ford components of that period, but there are no openings and there are additional gussets and plates. Outriggers on the frame, covered with a layer of felt, ensure the body attaches firmly, retains its shape and does not squeak.
The body was stripped to bare metal and evidence of the 1940-era grille and hood alterations were clearly apparent. RM's expert craftsmen believe the new metalwork was done by some of the same Ford Aircraft artisans who initially built the car. It was evident that the beautiful aluminum body was skillfully crafted and its individual sections were welded together to make it one-piece construction. The workmanship of the Speedster mirrors the best aircraft fabrication practice of the 1930s, helping to substantiate the fact that the Speedster was built by Ford Aircraft personnel.
As layers of paint were removed, coats of primer, gray, possibly black and certainly red paint became evident. The aluminum body has been metal-finished and the 'crispness' of the pointed tail section has been restored.
The chassis has been painted black; the rebuilt stock Ford engine is the correct shade of Ford green. Using a period R-M (Rinshed-Mason) color chart, the appropriate shade of Gunmetal Deep 80104 (Gunmetal Deep Ground) was identified and computer-matched for the utmost accuracy.
Although the existing red leather upholstery appeared to be period authentic, a dark gray leather was selected based on written evidence and Bob Gregorie's confirmation to Bill Warner that gray was the original color.
Double-sided white wall tires, as were fitted originally, have been installed. The decision was made to keep the present instrument panel.