Les Hart's Forty Ford Sedan
“Oh, if this car could talk.”
I’ve always wondered what kind of story a car could tell if it could. The different experiences a car goes through in its lifetime. First engine swap, first repaint, first wreck, etc. Whether the tale is of multiple owners and modifications, or of the true bond between owner and car forged by years of experiences together, I always like hearing about a car’s past. Les Hart’s ‘40 Ford is no exception.
Amos Hart obviously was a man of good taste. Out of all of the cars he could have bought in 1956, he picked out this ‘40 Sedan. According to his son Les, Amos drove the car for a while, and then in 1957 it became pretty apparent that the original flathead was tired and not long for this world. He opted to swap it out for an Old’s Rocket 88 out of a ’50 model Delta. To go with the new engine, Amos’ family surprised him with a paint job for Christmas 1957, by Bebrick Auto Painting. The gleaming white baked on enamel paint job was finished for a whopping twenty-nine dollars.
Amos drove the Ford into the late 60’s, when Les became old enough to drive. Amos asked his son what he wanted for a first car, and Les decidedly wanted his Dad’s old Ford. To make sure he was the envy of the drive-in and the school parking lot, they decided to swap the Rocket 88 for a mid-60’s Olds 400/4spd and rear axle. Along with the drivetrain swap, it was once again painted white and the interior was redone. Not too shabby for a first car. I can only imagine what that was like to have that setup as a first car, and “If this car could talk” It could probably tell a tale or two of their adventures together that I’d imagine Amos never knew about.
As the years went by, Les fell more in love with the old sedan, and drove the car regularly into the 80’s. In 1989, a careless driver in traffic resulted in a bent up the front left fender. Les was somewhat relieved that it was not worse but he decided that it might be time to retire the Ford from regular driving duty, and take the opportunity to give the old ’40 a bit of an “update”. So back into the garage they went. If it was to be driven on the road, it would need to keep pace more modern cars with better brakes, handling, and acceleration than the car could muster anymore. Well, time goes by faster than anybody wants, and life often gets in the way of the plans we make, and the Ford’s story became one of many cars with great potential and owners with noble intentions. It sat.
Fast forward 16 years to 2005, when Les finally got a chance to get back to the ’40. He had a plan and this time it included a little outside help. He brought the car to us at Sachse Rod Shop to have a Heidt’s Mustang II front suspension installed, new front fender supports fabricated, and the frame center x brace, and firewall were reworked to mount a GM Performance 350 and a 700r4 transmission down in the engine bay. We also mounted up an Ididit Steering column to work with the new front suspension’s rack and pinion steering. Les took the car home to continue work on it himself, but still stopped by to chat and fill us in on his project when picking up parts from time to time. But, as many of us can relate, finding the time to work on a project of this magnitude still proved difficult, so eventually Les brought the sedan back to us to help him get back on the road.
After blowing the car apart, there was some rust repair to be done, but definitely not too bad for the sedan’s age. With the body back in shape with a fresh coat of primer, it was time to mock up and install all of the wiring and updated components like the Vintage Air system, power windows, and modern stereo system. Once mock-up was completed, we blew the car apart again for paint and then the final assembly process. Here we are a few years later, and the old Ford is as pretty as ever. From the classic white paint with red interior, to the polished Torq-Thrust IIs, this car is a timeless classic. Unfortunately, Amos passed before the car’s completion, but I’m sure he’s looking down on his son and his old car with a smile. Les is excited to have his car back, and if this car could talk, I’m sure it would be excited about being back on the road, with Les at the wheel, making more memories together.