I have known Benny a while and have heard more than a few of his stories. It’s not a surprise that many of them start with cars. One I enjoy is about a little boy riding on a 5-gallon bucket behind the front seat of his dad’s blue ‘40 Ford Coupe headed to the New England Dragway. There they watched drags and checked out cars. His dad often raced his Coupe against another ‘40 Ford small block, 4 speed car, maroon in color. In 2012, Benny bought a Coupe of his own. Our March blog features Benny’s 1940 Ford Coupe.
The ‘40 Ford Coupe is a treasure in itself but this one really has no equal. There is something for everyone to love about this beauty. From the custom back-up camera drilled through the rear license plate to the TV mounted in the trunk- it is loaded with custom tricks. As we walk around the car, Ben introduces her to me, feature by feature. Beginning with the hand-crafted tail lights, they cut slits in the rear metal fenders and heat bent tinted plexiglass to fit inside, then sanded the seam smooth and gloss painted over them. Nice! From there we admire the one of a kind paint job, crafted with much help from Jeff Devey, that features a side stripe with a smoke finish. Benny tells me they actually trapped soot from a torch with the candy coat for a unique and artistic touch. It has a great gloss finish and since the car was built to show, the pin stripe even carries under the hood and across the fire wall. That leads us to the engine, dripping with chrome and featuring 2 Edelbrock carburetors, its nearly as beautiful as the paint. Even show cars care about performance so the Coupe also has air ride suspension. The hood has been trimmed down 2” to smooth out the large “nose” of the historical Coupe and it has a V-butt windshield that eliminated the original metal central frame. The suicide doors have custom rounded corners and the front fenders have been smoothed out. Since this tour was in the garage, I promised to take Benny at his word for the “wicked sound system.”
“Okay Benny, I have to ask what inspired you to trip out this car?”
“Well, we actually did the work over about 2 and half years for a client named Burt Webb.”
“Really?” I asked, “Tell me about Burt.”
“Burt” he said, “used to come in and lean against this post in the shop. He started each conversation with, “You know, I was thinking….” From there an idea would build and snowball and we start customizing something else. He picked colors and things but really gave us a lot of artistic license and was always open to ideas. It was a great project.”
When the project was finished Burt started showing the car- everywhere. And he started winning- everywhere. This rod is a true crowd pleaser, and everyone loves her. Burt has a wall of trophies for his efforts. As Benny mentions this, he stops and looks up thoughtfully “You know now that I mention it, when I bought the car, I didn’t get the trophies.” He did get a great ride though, watch for Benny on the streets of the Wood River Valley this summer, if you’re lucky, you might even get a ride.