Gerry's 1940 Chevrolet

My website tracks a nine-year journey in the restoration of my car "Ruby", to preserve a piece of automotive history.

The Project Begins

My brother-in-law, Tom Cardew, and I began the dismantling process.  We have a three-car garage and quickly the 3rd stall was turned into my "auto shop."  Soon every cabinet, nook and cranny was filled with boxes and Ziploc bags of every shape and size, filled with hundreds of Chevy parts and pieces – nothing was thrown away.  After much pain and suffering the car was completely gutted, each and every part was marked and bagged.


Because I knew I would need help, the first thing I did after the purchase was to join the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA) which is a great resource for answers to all my questions.  We had not come across the oil filter and assumed it had been removed.  After posting a question on the VCCA website, I learned that the 1940 models did not include an oil filter.  I was shocked!  If you wanted one, it was a dealer-installed option.  At that time cars were not driven the amount of miles driven today, oil was routinely changed every three months.

I didn't want to remove the body from the frame unless there was real rust damage.  Thankfully there was only surface rust, and that was soon wire brushed and painted.  The surface rust on the body could be left for the body shop when the car would be eventually be painted. 

The engine would always run hot so found out the radiator needed to be rebuilt.  A shop in Guadalupe, AZ Burt’s Radiator, had been around for years.   Burt, who had to be close to 70 years old turned out to be a real craftsman.  As I walked up to his shop, radiator in my arms, he yelled at me “40 Chevy”,   haven’t seen one of those in years!”  I knew at that moment I found the man I wanted to work on my radiator!


Working on Chevrolets has the added advantage of many good resources being available for parts. When I rebuilt the brake system, including installing all new brake lines, parts were no problem.  I also replaced the fuel and water pumps, and got everything from my local NAPA store.  Thankfully, a new wiring harness and two new pistons had been installed before I bought the car.  The engine was in great shape – just needed a good cleaning and some gaskets, new carburetor, fuel line and gas tank.  When NAPA didn’t have what I wanted I ordered from Chev’s of the ‘40’s or The Filling Station, both are located in the Pacific Northwest and offer huge supplies of old Chevrolet parts and accessories. 

With the mechanical restoration complete, my focus turned to the detailing.  Much of the initial prep work I did myself, helped along with the expertise and continued support from Tom Cardew; and from my good friend, Simon Rennie, from Liverpool, England.  Simon’s yearly visits always included several days of scraping, sanding, buffing, and working on the car together.   Simon had been working on old English cars for years.  Tom was always available to lend the 3rd and 4th hands, or the extra set of muscles needed to master the task.

The Arizona sun and heat really did a number on all the rubber.  I needed to replace all the hoses and suspension bushings and most gaskets in the engine.  To make myself feel better, it was about at this time I installed a set of original 600X16 Firestone white wall tires.  They look and handle fantastic around town but, the tires have a mind of their own on the freeway.  The design of this original tire was not made for freeway driving!  The car was still rough looking, but the new tires really helped it look like I was making progress!


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