1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe
A True Barn Find
I love photographing "rusty gold", worn out, rusty, vintage items with a story to tell. They've existed far longer than me and spanned several generations each with their own history to share. I stumbled upon a car show at Weir's beach in New Hampshire. It was a perfect Summer day with clear blue skies and hot sun.
We lapped the show a couple times seeing all that was on display. I kept coming back to this beat up beautiful little truck entitled "The Moonshine Truck". It had a magnetic pull and was adorned in trinkets, an American flag and even some fuzzy dice. You could tell it was special to someone.
We wandered around the entire car show again away from this truck. It wasn't a small show. We saw everything from Ford model T's to 60's muscle cars. All the while I kept thinking about that rusty little "Moonshine Truck". I had to go back and take another set of photos of it. Far from polished like most of the perfectly restored cars it still seemed special to me. I couldn't walk away so back we went. There it stood quietly alone and I was able to get the photos that I thought were best.
We proceeded to head to the front to exit the show. Out of the blue we met this gentleman who asked me what kind of camera I was using. He was wondering if I was there working the event and wanted to know if I was shooting anything in particular. In our conversation he mentioned his truck, "The Moonshine Truck", my favorite little truck. What are the odds? He told me how he acquired the truck, how much he loved it and that he actually drove it into the show and he drives it all the time! I thought for sure he towed it in. I had such a lovely conversation with this sweet man, his Son and Grandson.
His Son told me away from him that he was going back in for cancer treatments the following Monday. He'd been battling cancer for a number of years. I don't know if he is still alive. I can tell you I think about him and his truck quite a bit.
Below this story is told in his own words.
“This 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe was found in a barn along with a 1940 Ford Standard Coupe. This is a true barn find in its original condition just the way it was stored 59 years ago. The only update is the new white wall tires. In April of 2000 after speaking to the two elderly brothers who owned the cars, we agreed on a price. I was to come back and pick the cars up in two weeks. A week and a half later I was diagnosed with skin cancer and had to undergo several surgeries. Forgetting all about the cars and not being able to afford them I moved away and changed my phone numbers.
My wife and two sons knew how much the cars meant to me and began to save hoping the cars would still be available when they had enough money. Five years later while watching a NASCAR show about how NASCAR racing got started they showed two 1940 Ford coupes moonshiners chasing each other down the dirt road. I told my wife, Lynda that they just showed two 1940 Ford Coupes just like the ones I wanted to buy. She just shrugged it off. Three hours later my two sons came to visit and one of them threw something at me and I caught it. It was a door handle. I asked what it was. They said, “Mom didn’t tell you? We saved up the money for the trucks you wanted to buy and went back and bought them.” I felt faint and was in disbelief. The previous owners waited for me to return. Even though they had several offers from friends and relatives they said they couldn’t sell because they were waiting for me.
We went to pick the cars up and when we were towing the delux out of the barn my son who was sitting behind the wheel was white as a ghost. I asked him what was wrong? He said, “wait until you see the floor, Dad”. The floors are made of wood and burned into the driver side floor it says “Young”. My last name is “Young”. The owner explained that Ford Motor Corporation bought parts from a company called “Young” and asked them to build the crates a certain size and they would use the wood on the front floor with Young’s name as a form of advertising. The day we were picking these cars up was April 19, 2006. We found a Shell Oil sticker in the door jam dated April 19, 1956. This made it 50 years to the day the car had its last oil change then was parked in the barn. A license plate that is found in the trunk was LL646, my trucking business begins with LL and I was born on 4/6 and I was 46 years old when I picked the cars up.This special 1940 Ford Coupe has all the characteristics of a moonshiner car. The brothers put a Chrysler 331 Hemi motor in it. My sons said they told them they were at a drag race in New Jersey and Don Garlits aka Big Daddy, a famous drag racer, was there and he had two 331 Hemi’s in the pit area on a tail gate for sale for $200 each. They each bought one that was installed in the 1940 Ford. This gave the car an extra 100hp compared to the 85hp stock flat head. They also removed one tail light for less visibility as well as the chrome trunk lock. A braided choke cable was hidden in the back-split window that opens the trunk and the passenger door does not open from the outside.
I thank God every day for these two brothers who cared so much about me and my wife, Lynda, my two sons, Chad and Jason, for waiting for us to buy the cars. I truly believe this car was meant for me with all the significant signs that came from the car. Young on the floor boards, the license plate with my business name, birth date, picking up the car 50 years to the day its last oil change was done and getting it to run 59 years to the date. So now do you see any signs from God?”
I wish I had gotten his name. I suppose if it’s meant to be he or his family will reach out to me so I can share the photos with them. I walked away from him moved to share his story. Some people might say it's just a car. True, but the value is in how it makes you feel when you're rolling down the backroads finding new places to see and people to meet. It's about a connection that grounds you and makes you lose track of time.
Make each day your best,
The Photography Bar