For a number of years rumors have swirled around about a new ’40 Ford coupe body that was going to be produced. Some industry “experts” just knew it was coming out of an old MIG factory in the former Czech Republic, others were sure it was being built in South America, or maybe it was South Africa. In any case it wasn’t long before all the smart money was betting that Bob Drake was the man behind the project, even though no official statement had been made. The more savvy insiders concluded Drake was not about to announce the project until he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it could be delivered. Well the word’s officially out, the announcement has been made, and Drake is delivering. In fact he’s delivering a new steel ’40 Ford to Street Rodder magazine to be built by Hollywood Hot Rods as the 2012 Road Tour car.

Most enthusiasts understand Ford built two versions of the coupe in 1940, the Standard and DeLuxe. A number of differences set them apart—the Standard had a grille that looked similar to a ’39, the nose of the hood was slightly broader and it lacked the bulges low on the side that blended into the grille that were found on the DeLuxe. There were additional indicators inside and the Standard only had one taillight, but for the most part the differences between the Standard and DeLuxe are clear. What does cause confusion is the difference between an Opera Coupe and a Business Coupe—the fact is they are one in the same. The two versions of the coupe configuration in both Standard and DeLuxe trim are the five-window coupe and the Business Coupe.

The reason for the misunderstanding is the five-window coupe came with a large package tray behind the seat that had storage space below while the Business Coupe came equipped with two sideways-facing jump seats in the rear; just the opposite of what would be expected. Eventually the public referred to the Business Coupe as the Opera Coupe, which really confused the issue. Now to add just one more designation: passenger cars in 1940 with the 60hp V-8 were model 022A; those with the 85hp V-8 were designated as 01A. Coupes with the 85hp engine would be designated as follows:

’40 Ford Standard five-window coupe, 01A-77A

’40 Ford Standard Business Coupe, 01A-67A

’40 Ford DeLuxe five-window coupe, 01A-77B

’40 Ford DeLuxe Business Coupe, 01A-67B

If you’re wondering about the importance of all this it’s because of the difference in the floor pan between the five-window and the Business Coupe. Drake’s body is the five-window style and the jump seats won’t fit without modifications to the floor.

One look at the these new bodies and it’s obvious Drake has made every effort to duplicate what Ford produced in the manner it was done back then. However, there is one exception; when Ford stamped the roofs they were one piece, including the upper cowl section, windshield posts, and the top down to the trunklid opening. For a number of reasons Drake’s tops are made in four pieces, the upper cowl, windshield posts, and the top are stamped separately then welded together.

Although bodies are shipped from the factory fully assembled, Drake does stock all the individual sheetmetal components for those who have a ’40 coupe in need of repair. Everything from complete doors and quarter-panels to drip rails and glovebox doors (with and without clock openings) are available.

On the subject of options there are a number to choose from in individual parts and complete bodies. Stock and recessed firewalls are available, inner front panels are available stock or notched for IFS, and dashboards are available with the original cutouts for gauges, radio speaker and glovebox, glovebox only, no speaker cut out, and A/C outlets are an option in the original ashtray locations.