Speaking of Vintage Air, remember the idea was for this car to “look like a mid-’60s hot rod,” not necessarily act like one. After all this is Texas, a state where A/C is not considered an option. With the help of Jack Chisenhall, Rick Love, George Packard, Brandon Ott, John Moreno, and Mark Hungerford at Vintage Air, Derrell managed to mount a compressor down low and out of sight on the engine and have the cold air exit through the stock radio speaker grille and from hidden outlets under the dash. As Derrell tells the A/C story, “The guys at Vintage Air were great. Each one of them contributed something to solving my A/C problems, and since I live in San Antonio I could drive down there and try different things.” After the A/C problem was solved, custom brackets were built to mount a Denso alternator down low and out of sight too. Chris Brummer designed the brackets and converted the alternator to a one-wire system. Behind the engine a TH350 tranny holds a shift kit inside with a Lokar shifter selecting the gears.

Externally the coupe remains nearly stock with a shaved decklid and the addition of a ’41 Ford front bumper being the only deviations from the original. Stock lighting front and rear works well and the final finish on the car is Hot Rod Black from the Hot Hues palette. Derrell tried several different finishes before discovering the Hot Hues finish. Randy Racer handled both the low-luster black and the shiny Pagan Gold firewall and dashboard. The paint scheme is a salute to the days when many hot rodders would paint the firewall and interior pieces the color that they one day dreamed the entire car would be. The engine was painted Pagan Gold too.

On the inside the decision between bench or buckets was resolved with a traditional bench seat of unknown origin. After meeting Abel Rodriquez of Seguin, Texas, the job of choosing color and materials became easier. After several samples were sewn they decided on gold and pearl white vinyl stitched in a traditional rolled and pleated design. The effects are stunning, but don’t overlook appropriate details like chrome garnish moldings, the LimeWorks steering column and the NOS Grant wood steering wheel. The Painless Wiring system was installed by the owner along with plenty of Koolmat prior to upholstery.

With the coupe nearing completion it was time for the all-important final details. Period-correct chrome reverse rims were ordered from Wheel Vintiques with cone lug nuts and center caps. The BFGoodrich Silvertown whitewalls are from Coker Tire, where Darrin Evans spent time providing measurements and sizes to achieve that perfect fit. And so after a couple of years Derrell Dudley finally had the ’40 of his dreams.

Of course great hot rods seldom come from one person and this fine ’40 is no exception. We’ll let Derrell close this story in his own words, “The majority of this car, with the exception of paint, body, and upholstery, was built in my home shop. I cannot stress enough that the car would never have been built were it not for the help of my friends and family support. Two people who were instrumental were Chris Brummer, who did much of the assembly, including some pretty trick brackets, and Boo Dale, my main support for everything getting done. Both of them were tireless and instrumental in completing the car. I would especially like to thank my son, Jay, for his help, and “The Blonde” (my beautiful wife Susan) for her support and understanding.”

Hot rod ’40s were meant to have a mean rake. The color is Hot Rod Black by DuPont Hot Hues. A shaved decklid was the only modification deemed necessary to the rear of the body.