While honoring the 45th anniversary of the NSRA Street Rod Nationals Plus, it was the perfect time for STREET RODDER and Ford Racing to recognize street rodders who install a late-model Ford engine in a Ford hot rod or custom. Canvassing the massive confines of the Kentucky Exposition Center we found Meade Baldwin Sr. of Millersville, Maryland, who is our latest award recipient with his stunning 1940 Ford coupe.
It didn't take long for the youngster from Maryland to get into hot rods when he purchased his first hop-up, a 1953 Ford coupe at the age of 16, in 1955 to serve as transportation to school and as a test bed of performance parts. As the time passed he moved onto a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 with a dual-quad fed V-8, and then onto bigger and better things. Those included a partnership in a rear-engine belly tank packed with a 4-71 blown Chevy small-block, which he ran at Aquasco Speedway's dragstrip in Aquasco, Maryland.
Partnering with his brother Bill, the pair then successfully fielded a pair of blown dragsters, first one with a Bilbow chassis, the second with a Chassis Research spine; both with blown Chevy power. The years that followed found him once again deep in the culture, owning a number of traditionally designed rides.
Having always enjoyed the style of 1940 Ford coupes Baldwin set out to locate a suitable base for the project. Having worked with Ray Bartlett and Dean Alexander of The East Coast Hot Rod Garage in Denton, Maryland, on prior projects the coupe was delivered to their shop to get started. Once torn down to basics, a new chassis was ordered from Precision Hot Rods & Fabrication in Macedonia, Ohio, to provide a rock solid base. Out back a Ford 9-inch rear with 3.25:1 gears is suspended in place with Chassis Engineering leaf springs and Monroe tube shocks. To dial in the stance and handling up front a Heidts Mustang II IFS does the deed while stopping power comes from 11-inch GM discs and calipers up front and Ford drums out back. To roll in style, 15-inch American Racing Torque Thrust D wheels capped with Diamond Back blackwalls complete the look.
When it came to power, it was important to keep this hot rod all Ford. Baldwin selected a stout 351ci Windsor crate V-8 packed with 385hp featuring a nodular iron crank, forged pistons, and aluminum GT-40 cylinder heads. For induction an Edelbrock Performer intake and Holley 750-cfm carb sparks to life by MSD and dumps spent gases through Street & Performance headers to Flowmaster mufflers. The goods move through a Ford C6 trans via a custom driveshaft.
The team then smoothed the driprails on the body and followed by massaging the vintage steel to perfection. From there Jason Lester laid down a lustrous coating of PPG Envirobase medium moss metallic bringing it all to life. Sexy bits include Rock Valley smooth stainless bumpers, Studebaker taillights, SO-CAL Speed Shop mirrors, and plating by Jon Wrights Custom Chrome Plating. Inside Dean Alexander worked his magic with yards of soft light green leather, accenting a custom bench with complementing panels and color-matched wool carpets. Classic Instruments dials live in a custom dash insert while breezes come from Vintage Air and Lecarra Mark XIII wheel navigates. Congratulations to Baldwin who will receive a limited-edition jacket as the award winner.
For a perfect stance The East Coast Hot Rod Garage used a custom chassis from Precision Hot Rods & Fabrication featuring a Heidts IFS for great handling combined with classic American Racing Torque Thrust D wheels wearing Diamond Back rubber.
The vintage steel body was given new life and sprayed with PPG Envirobase medium moss metallic to give it a slick vibe. Special updates include Studebaker taillights and silky smooth stainless bumpers from Rock Valley for added allure.
The 351ci Windsor crate V-8 looks right at home in the engine bay and comes packed with go-fast goods generating 385 hp. Starting with a nodular iron crank, forged steel cap screw connecting rods link to forged pistons with plenty of thump coming from a hydraulic roller cam. GT40 aluminum heads add power and MSD lights the fire while fuel flows through an Edelbrock Performer intake topped with a Holley 750-cfm carb.
It's all in the details and The East Coast Hot Rod Garage added plenty, including the chromed Ford Racing valve covers, fuel pressure gauge, headers by Street & Performance, and neatly run wires.
Dean Alexander added plenty of butter soft light green leather, covering a custom bench seat with classic pleats while also creating the stylish door panels and comfy armrests. Complementing light green wool carpet completes the business office.
A Flaming River tilt column wears a Lecarra Mark XIII wheel wrapped in green leather for navigation while the restored dash houses a custom designed gauge insert featuring Classic Instruments gauges monitoring the vitals. Vintage Air keeps the cabin comfy for those long drives.
Big congratulations Baldwin and welcome to the exclusive group of rodders who have received special honors for their accomplishment.