Alloway’s Premier ’40 Ford Coupe is the New Black
Larry Cloninger’s ’40 Ford coupe
Larry Cloninger is a full-fledged Ford fan. After all, the Charlotte, North Carolina, area has three Cloninger Ford dealerships. But despite his dedication to Fords, Larry had never owned a ’40. That all changed a few years ago when he decided to remedy the situation with the street rod you see here.
You may have already seen Larry’s jet-black DeLuxe coupe at the SEMA Show in November or in January in the Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop display at the Grand National Roadster Show. Bobby Alloway built the car, but many Ford fans know that E.T. “Bob” Gregorie originally designed the ’40 Ford. Edsel Ford hired 22-year-old Gregorie in
1931. By the time he was 30, Gregorie had designed the ’36 Lincoln Zephyr, the first Mercury, the prototype for the Lincoln Continental, and the car considered by a many people to be Henry Ford’s best looking: the ’40 Ford.
Gregorie’s famous design has inspired thousands of rodders, including Larry’s friend Mike Stewart, an exec at Cloninger Automotive Group, who owns a small corral of ’39 and ’40 Fords. Larry talked to Stewart about finding the right raw material for his own project. One particular ’40 Ford coupe that appealed to Larry was the 2012 STREET RODDER Road Tour car (featured online at hotrod.com/ articles/1212sr-road-tour-1940-ford), built with a Ford Coyote engine and a Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts 19-gauge steel reproduction body shell.
The fact that Dennis Carpenter is located just a few miles away made the body choice easy. The next choice was selecting the right shop to build the coupe. When Larry started listing his preferences for the car—an aggressive stance, a big engine, black paint—Stewart told him, “You’re describing what Bobby Alloway builds.” Stewart was partially right. What Larry described is the Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop style, but as Alloway told us, his shop had never built a full ’40 Ford before.
The build started with the reproduction body, Larry’s ideas, and a concept drawing from designer Eric Brockmeyer. By starting with a new body, Alloway and the Alloway’s
Hot Rod Shop team could bypass the damage repair that is part of many street rod builds. Even so, they still had to chase the exterior parts not found in the Dennis Carpenter catalog, adding an original hood, grille, dash, and garnish moldings.
Gregorie’s design from almost 80 years ago has not gone out of style and Alloway honored it with Larry’s coupe. Trim was added, along with door handles, locks, and other hardware. Headlights and taillights are reproduction pieces. The repro bumpers are tucked into the body.
There was bit of careful and subtle cosmetic surgery performed to the sheetmetal. The gaps between the hood and fenders on stock ’40 Fords are notoriously uneven, and the nose appears to rise slightly from rear to front. Alloway’s fabricators sliced and gently reshaped the fenders at the hood to conform to the shape of the hood, perfecting the gaps. The hood itself was pie-cut and lowered just enough to improve the profile. The stock hood trim was cut and shortened to look unmodified on the reshaped hood. STREET RODDER photographed the process (https:// bit.ly/2vkmstc). The doors were extended to reduce the gap above the running boards. The front fenders were pushed forward, consistent with the lengthened wheelbase. Later, the car was painted deep black—Larry’s choice and Alloway’s trademark. The mirror finish is accomplished with PPG Deltron 9700 black paint. Chrome has to really stand out against that paint and
Dan’s Polishing Shop in Adamsville, Tennessee, made sure it does.
The stance and ride quality was achieved with a custom chassis build around 2x4-inch boxed framerails.
An Art Morrision Enterprises
Bikini IFS Clip with coilovers, plus Detroit Speed spindles and steering were installed at the frontend. Out back, a Currie 9-inch rear with
4.56:1 gears is suspended by a Pete and Jakes four-link with Aldan coilovers and a P&J Panhard bar. Braking is provided by a Kugel Komponents pedal assembly and Wilwood master cylinder plumbed to Wilwood six-piston calipers and 13-inch discs at all wheels. That aggressive posture Larry was looking for is further enhanced by the wheel and tire combination filling the coupe’s fenders. Custom Alloway ET wheels from Billet Specialties are 17x7s in front wrapped with high-performance Toyo Extensa HP II tires. In back, 20x10 wheels roll on 265/50R20 Toyo rubber.
A pair of redesigned ’64 Thunderbird bucket seats were upholstered in flat black leather to contrast the shiny paint. Steve Holcomb at Pro Auto Custom Interiors in Knoxville handled the job, including the black cloth headliner, Daytona weave carpet, and the narrow package tray hiding the battery. Classic Instruments created the ’40s-inspired gauges. The Lecarra two-spoke steering wheel and the Hurst shifter inject some ’60s flavor and fit Alloway’s distinctive hot rod style. The trunk floor features two small slide doors, one covering a storage compartment, the other covering the battery on/off switch. A pull-down door in the back panel allows access to the Rock Valley 15-gallon stainless fuel tank.
The “over-the-top” engine requirement is taken care of by a carbureted 429 from Jon Kaase Racing Engines. The 700hp Kaase Boss Nine is backed by an American Powertrain TREMEC TKO five-speed transmission. It took some fabrication to pack all that motor between the fenders of the ’40, especially after the big Kaase engine was fitted with a Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine system, Vintage Air A/C compressor, Powermaster alternator, and Barillaro Speed Emporium full-length headers. Custom inner fenders were fabricated, the firewall was recessed, and the transmission tunnel was formed to make room. A custom radiator support was built for the Walker radiator.
The most challenging obstacle was fitting the steering shaft, since the straight path from the ididit column was blocked by a Boss Nine cylinder head. Alloway’s solution was to mount a Wizard Fabrication Steer Clear offset steering coupler on the inside of the firewall, moving the shaft approximately 6 inches toward the outside of the engine compartment, and threading the shaft between the header pipes.
The finished ’40 was displayed prominently at its 2017 SEMA Show debut. It started the new year in
Los Angeles at the Grand National Roadster Show and will continue on the show circuit for the rest of 2018. After that, it’s home to North Carolina, where the beautiful black coupe will be enjoyed on the street and displayed in Larry’s dealership showrooms. Larry is very happy with how his ’40 DeLuxe street rod turned out. We have to believe that Bob Gregorie would be too.
For the digital experience: https://bit.ly/2LA9DWF