The Ford Three-Window Coupe is one of the most sought after hot rods. Once the deuce was introduced it has been recognized as the quintessential hot rod. In this example, Chris Unger has been collecting parts for nearly 20 years to build this car from the ground up with rare vintage speed equipment and original steel.
The engine was kept under the workbench of California Custom Roadsters pioneer Bill Keifer. The 1940 Ford Flathead came out of a light duty truck. Funny thing is, that engine with its cast iron heads and a single 97 would beat everything around. It was rumored to be a dressed-down race engine. Chris flipped it over and took off the oil pan and saw the case was lightened and the crank was balanced. This allowed him to run another 500 rpm. Just as all the Merc flatheads peaked at 5000 rpm’s this motor was able to pull away at the end of the line with another 10% more power as displayed on a set of early Stewart Warner gauges.
This powerful base was built on with rare Kogel cast iron heads, early Edelbrock “Sling-Shot” manifold topped by a pair of original Stromberg 97’s and L&S velocity stacks. Spark is advanced by a vintage Harman-Collins magneto. Power is distributed through a ’39 Lincoln Zephyr transmission to a Halibrand quick-change rear end and stopped with Lincoln brakes. A Bell steering wheel controls an interesting front end featuring an Okie-Adams axel. What’s neat about the Okie-Adams axles is that they are not dropped by heating the axles and bending the ends up. They are cut and a cast “S” is welded in. This keeps the front wheel distance the same as stock, not narrowed by the heat and shrink method of most dropped stock axles.
There is no doubt that this is a fine example of an early hot rod put together with some incredible pieces. Stop by Chris Unger’s Car Crazy in Old Towne Orange to see the car along with many other rare and unusual vintage items.