You have heard stories of barn finds before. Some sound incredible,some unbelievable. But here's one that might top 'em all. It's the true story of one 1940 Dodge Deluxe Sedan .
Back in 1940, life in the Country was running at a different pace. Youcould leave your house unlocked, and, of course, your car. Televisionand graffiti were words without meaning. Pearl Harbor was an event ofthe future. It would take two more years until the United States wouldenter World War II.? Life was hard but good . . .
At about this time VIN *30231403* was built by proud American workers in Detroit, Michigan, one of 84,976 Dodge D-14 DeLuxe four-door sedans manufactured in 1940. Aveterinarian from Horseshoe Bend, Idaho , purchased the blue Dodge newat the local Dodge dealer in Boise.
He used it to respond to calls all through the war years; his 1944 permit is still affixed to thewindshield. Being a very valuable asset during war times, the car wasalways parked in a dedicated spot in the barn when not in use. In 1948, the good Doctor passed away. The car was put on blocks and covered with bed sheets. No, it was not going to be for sale. Who would have guessedat that time that the Dodge would be asleep for more than 50 years . . .
Children became adults, parents, then grandparents. The old Dodge wasstill slumbering in the barn. In the late 1980s an attempt was made toawaken and sell the car. Finally, early in 2003, the time had come. Thebed sheets were taken off, the car was lifted from the blocks, and thetires were filled up with air. A new owner was found. He took the Dodgeto Southern California.
63 years old and with only 42, with only 342 original miles showing on itsodometer, this Dodge personifies the term "reference car." More importantly, it represents a rare opportunity to experiencehow it felt driving a new car in the 1940s. Time to start ourlittle journey around this amazing Dodge
The body, amazingly, is straight and absolutely rust free, thanks tobeing stored in a dry, well ventilated barn, away from the elements.The blue lacquer paint is original, factory applied. Sure, it's wornthin on the tops of the fenders, shows a myriad of nicks,imperfections, and touch ups from the past.
There are a few small dingshere and there, but not an ounce of body filler nor a single rustbubble. It's all heavy metal! Repainting this car--ever--would be anunforgivable sin! Its patina is irreplaceable and gives the Dodge itsinherent value.
Another Dodge industry first for 1940: safety rims! The wheels stillfeature their factory triple pinstriping, the heavily chromed hubcapsare beautifully preserved. Even the painted red detailing is stillintact! Bias ply tires of the dimension 6.00x16 look original as well.I don't think they make " Pennsylvania Rx Supertest Cord S-3"rubber anymore . . .
Open the doors and be invited into a cabin that's 100% factory original. Unmolested, unmodified, unrestored. It has the special 1940s aroma and charm that cannot be duplicated. It should never be restored, instead be enjoyed just the way it is.
Dashboard is a masterpiece of Art Deco design. Fabulous painted metalcreates the ambiance of lightly stained wood. Nickel plated accentsduplicate the look of then-popular costume jewelry.
Every single partseems infused with the designer's idea to create a harmoniousenvironment; details such as the retracting ash receiver lid aresimultaneously good-looking and functional.
There's simply nocomparison to present-day throwaway products, sprouting black plastic appendages everywhere. Nevertheless, the Dodge was built with entirelymodern creature comforts.
It features dual electric windshield wipers,Sealed Beam lamps, floating power, hydraulic brakes, telescopic shockabsorbers, a column-shifted, synchronized transmission, tinted glass, achromed horn ring, and a host of other innovations.
What was found in the felt-lined, locking glove box is nothing short of astonishing in its historical context:
Ample space for three on the comfy front bench, featuring"airfoam" seat cushions. Original mohair still looks good,with the unavoidable stains and moth attacks kept to a minimum.
Through large, rear-hinged suicide doors, entry to the spaciouspassenger compartment is easy, even when wearing a top hat. Luxuriouslyequipped with arm and foot rests, woven grab handles, beveled-glassinterior light, and (unused) ash tray, passengers will invariablyexclaim: "This feels like Driving Miss Daisy!"
Roomy trunk sports original jute mats. Original spare wheel and jackingequipment are present, as well as some spares and a small tool tray.Also included is a set of new GOODYEAR tires of the proper size and aset of new inner tubes. We did not feel the need to mount the newtires, however, it might be advisable before embarking on an extendedjourney.
A beautiful classic car, ready to be of service!
"Let us MARFAK your car!" proclaims TEXACO's old servicesticker on the door jamb. Dodge was just lubed and serviced, 2,000miles ago, in 1948
Note the carmine-colored, bakelite necker knob, Dodge's early versionof power assisted steering. If you have to ask why it's called a neckerknob, you're probably too young to buy this car.
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Above, clockwise, from top left:
Engine compartment is clean and original as well. Dodge's 217 cu.in ,6-cylinder engine was good for 87 lively horsepower. It startsinstantly and runs like the proverbial Swiss watch. Items recentlyreplaced or serviced include the battery, water pump, ignition wires,spark plugs, fuel tank, carburetor, brakes, and shocks. Originalhoneycomb radiator core looks gorgeous! And, yes, the horn works, justlike everything else on this time machine.
Amazingly intricate, heart-shaped grille presents itself in outstandingcondition, with brilliantly sparkling chrome. Bumpers and over ridersare beautiful and functional, too. Car's brightwork appears excellentlypreserved throughout. Note the wonderfully maintained running boards,which were optional on the 1940 models. So, what's it like driving a70-year old Dodge?
Very impressive, thank you very much. Turn on the ignition--with theoriginal "CDPD" key--and press the foot knob for the starter.The engine comes to life instantly, idling almost inaudibly. Pull thegear lever down into first, release the clutch, and you'll pull awaysmoothly. Everything is smooth about the Dodge.
Suspension and brakes transmita safe and sound feeling. Acceleration is brisk, at least by 1940standards. All the gauges work. Oil pressure is great and the car runscool. In a nutshell, it's a delightful cruiser! Even the PHILCO radiostill hums when turned on; it seems the speaker cone needs replacing.
All this car needs is one appreciative caretaker. It's a very rare findand definitely a "keeper" for the right Dodge enthusiast.
Best of all, it's a true rust free, low-mileage Dodge that could evenbe used every day, if you so desire. There are not too many 70-year old, original cars in this Country that could make this claim?