The term “wolf in sheep’s clothing” has been used for a few thousand years to describe how one’s true nature will eventually be revealed by one’s actions. And nothing could be closer in illustrating that truth than Dave Rios’ ’40 Ford from Los Gatos, California.
Looking at the outside of Dave’s ride you’d never suspect this was lurking under the hood.
At first glance, the two-door sedan appears as a well-designed, well-built street rod with perfect style and stance. But open the hood, or meet it on the street, and then this hot rod soon reveals its true self.
Turbos have long been used in racing to augment an engine’s performance, but Hot Rod Service Company (HRSC) in Campbell, California, took turbo installation to a new level when building Dave Rios’ Ford. Not interested in just a simple boost in horsepower, HRSC managed to add two Garrett T3/T4R turbo units to an already-beefy 406 stroker Chevy to provide a unique driving experience for the owner.
Each tier of the build was done on successive layers of expert attention to detail, starting with the chassis. Up front a Heidts Superride II IFS was installed along with narrowed stainless steel control arms, 2-inch-drop spindles, and a RideTech ShockWave double-adjustable suspension kit with a Level Pro ride height sensor system.
Out back HRSC fabbed up a custom parallel four-link system with an additional diagonal arm to help locate the Currie 9-inch setup with a Richmond 3.73 gear set, Torino bearings, and 31-spline axles. Another RideTech bag and ride height sensor system went in along with dual air tanks. All of the suspension pieces (along with the frame itself) were powdercoated for a neat appearance.
Finish Line Automotive Interiors used hand-tipped leather from Spinneybeck, which is usual
Wilwood Superlite two-piece, 13-inch brake rotors are found on each corner as are polished four-piston calipers, which work in conjunction with brake components from Master Power Brakes and stainless steel line from Pure Choice. Even the wheels got a good going over, as they’re custom 16x7 and 17x9 wires from Wheel Vintiques. With black hubs and hoops, stainless steel spokes and nipples were used in the assembly and topped with one-off billet aluminum center caps that feature the car’s V-8 logo machined in the middle. BFGoodrich g-Force Sport rubber (205/55 ZR front and 225/50 ZR rear) wraps the wheels.
The sedan body was pretty well left alone (no chop or channel) and most of the original trim was left intact (but chromed), though a custom billet aluminum decklid badge and gas cap (with the same V-8 logo) were created by Compatible Manufacturing in Santa Clara, California, who also did all of the special machine work needed with the engine components.
Bob Drake Reproductions was tapped for their repro bumpers and door handles, and high-output PIAA headlights were added along with LED-bulb taillights. About the only body mod is with the rear wheel tubs, which were slightly widened to accommodate the 9-inch wheels.
Once the fab work was done, the body and fenders were handed over to Nor Cal Auto Works (also in Campbell), who sprayed the custom House of Kolor Brandywine over a non-metallic violet base. The result is red with purple undertones in certain light, and something reminiscent of a late-’40s Ford factory color.
A restored, original ’40 Ford steering wheel is used with a modified original column, as i
The interior appears subtle at first, too, but the more you look the more you find, and that starts with the leather. Spinneybeck is a company that’s been around for 50 years and usually supplies Italian leather to the fine furniture markets. Byron Robeck Jr., of Finish Line Automotive Interiors in Santa Clara, had used the material on some seating and Dave Rios saw it and wanted the same leather for his ’40. Robeck created the rear bench seat for the sedan and then covered the Glide Engineering frames for the split-back bench seat used up front.
Finish Line also used English wool for the headliner, German velour for the carpet, and fabbed up some more pieces (the aluminum-lined center console and the underdash cover) to complete the interior. Behind the dash a 21-circuit kit from EZ Wiring links the Classic Instrument All American gauges with the rest of the car’s electronics and behind the flip-up radio grille (an item sold through Hot Rods by Dean) are the controls to the RideTech RidePro e3digital air suspension system.
But the pièce de résistance to the project has got to be the engine. Hot Rod Service Company started with assembling the 406 stroker using an Eagle billet steel crankshaft with Carrillo rods and forged JE pistons specially made for forced-induction systems. A COMP Cams camshaft works with their Magnum pushrods, valvesprings, titanium retainers, and billet roller timing set.
Fuel delivery centers on an ACCEL Gen7 forced-induction injection unit coupled with twin polished Garrett T3/T4R turbos with polished Evolution wastegates and blow-off valves. All of the custom aluminum fuel rails, turbo headers, downpipes, and tubing needed to make the turbos breathe right were fabbed at HRSC.
The car’s V-8 logo is machined into the one-off gas cap by Compatible Machining, too. The
The rest of the engine parts (twin SPAL fans, the Be Cool radiator, a Billet Specialties Tru-Trac serpentine belt system, Zoops polished aluminum radiator and power steering reservoirs, Vintage Air heat and air-conditioning system, and a Heidts motor mount kit) also found a home with the motor.
Backed to a Phoenix Transmission 700-R4 that can handle the horsepower (high-volume pump, billet gear servos, high-load sprags, etc.), the engine is, shall we say, scary fast, and a 3-inch driveshaft from South Bay Driveline Service (with Moroso billet U-joint girdles and Spicer heavy-duty U-joints) was used to ensure the power gets to the rear wheels.
And even though the car has been on the West Coast show circuit for the past few months, both the owner and Jeff Twitchell, the owner of Hot Rod Service Company, have driven the ride and been impressed with its performance. Dave didn’t have this car built just so he could look at it. It will be driven, and probably driven hard, and that’s something we like to hear!
Hot Rod Service Company made the one-off billet aluminum and powdercoated center caps for