There are some great vintage collector quality Dodge automobiles around and the restored 1940 Dodge Convertible featured in this article is one of them. Finely restored Dodge models with plenty of originality command high prices today.
There was no Dodge Convertible produced in 1939 so the 40 Convertible made a comeback that year.
Because of the war that was to come in a few years, the body shell of the 1940 Dodge would be carried through toward the end of the 1940's. Chrysler actually had an assembly plant in Antwerp Belgium that had to close in 1940 due to the war in Europe.
The 1940 Dodge Coupe Design
Design credit for this model goes to coachbuilder Raymond H. Dietrich. While Dietrich had a good reputation for unique styles Chrysler kept his designs within conservative guidelines. Raymond Dietrich founded coachbuilder Dietrich Inc. in 1925 and went on to design some of the most eye catching auto designs ever put on paper. Prior to that he partnered with Tom Hibbard to form LeBaron Carrossiers, a New York City coachbuilder. It's been said that the name was chosen because it sounded French and prestigious. LeBaron was acquired by the Detroit company Briggs in 1927.
Vintage collector automobiles with the designed by Dietrich touch include Packards, Pierce-Arrows, Lincolns and Franklins. All open air Packards after 1933 were designed by Dietrich. A side note is that Raymond Dietrich left Chrysler just before the 1940 Dodge models went into production.
As beautiful as this restored 1940 Dodge Coupe looks, it's overall design is quite conservative. One of his fine touches was the wide horizontal grille with it's thin horizontal bars.The car also had sealed-beam headlights and parking lights in the bezels. +-----------------------------------------------
At the start of the 1940's the "fastback" look gained popularity. Chrysler was one of the first automakers to introduce an airflow design which they aptly named "Airflow" and put it into design from 1934 to 1937. While you would have thought the Chrysler Airflow design would catch on, it didn't, but it did influence other designs during the 1940's with this Dodge Convertible showing some of the elements. The Airflow design actually reappeared in the mid 1950's with Virgil Exner's new Forward Look designs.
In 1940 Dodge Coupes were built in four styles. The Business Coupe, the Business Coupe Special, the Special Club Coupe and the Deluxe model Convertible Coupe.
1940 Dodge Deluxe Specifications
This 1940 Dodge came with a 218 cubic inch in-line six cylinder engine delivering 87 horsepower. This engine differs from the straight eight that was offered by most manufacturers at the time and was more economical. In 1941 this 218 cubic inch engine would be reconfigured to deliver 91 horsepower. The prewar Chrysler engines had a good reputation for their durability and they still do.
Transmission was a three speed sliding gear manual.
Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.
Front suspension was independent coil springs and the rear semi-elliptic leaf springs.
The car's wheelbase was 119.5 inches. Overall outside length was 203.0 inches.
The 1940 Dodge Deluxe Convertible Coupe weight came in at about 3,190 lbs and the new car price in 1940 was about $1,000. Running boards were offered as a $10 option.
Total 1940 Dodge Convertible Coupe production was 2,100 vehicles.Total Dodge production in 1940 was 195,500. Out of that figure 66,500 were Dodge Special Series and 129,000 were Dodge Deluxe Series models.
An interesting side note for anyone who has a vintage Chrysler product involves the Chrysler Historical Services offered by the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. Here you can request a build card, if available, and any other historical data they may have on your vehicle. For more information on this and the pricing see their website www.wpchryslermuseum.org
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1940 Dodge Deluxe Coupe Convertible Collector Car
With this fine design and the limited number of convertibles produced in 1940, the Dodge Deluxe Convertible is easily the most popular Dodge collector car from that year. The car's total collector value will have a lot to do with originality. 1940 Dodges can be found but finding one with original stock equipment and in mint museum like condition might take a bit longer to locate.
As of this date, you'll find asking prices for restored models in the $40,000 plus range. restored four door sedans of this Dodge model year with crate engines have asking prices in the low $30,000 range.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)