'40 Ford: Evolution, Design, Racing, Hot Rodding
Joseph P. Cabadas' book: '40 Ford: Evolution, Design, Racing, Hot Rodding, (Motorbooks), really isn't so much about the '40 Ford itself, but rather about Ford Motor Company during the '30s, culminating, of course, with the 1940 Fords. The first three chapters of the book describe the history of Ford through the Depression, including discussions of design influences, troubles with the unions, and the ongoing conflicts between Henry Ford and his son Edsel. The book makes it clear that often Henry could be one of his company's biggest problems. "At one point, after believing that he had his father's permission, Edsel put Ford chief engineer Laurence Sheldrick to work on a six-cylinder engine. A working prototype was soon made. Then one day Henry called Sheldrick out to the Rouge Plant to see a new scrap conveyor... When Sheldrick arrived at the factory, he found Edsel there with his father. Moments later the new engine was carried up the conveyor and turned into scrap. Turning to Edsel and Sheldrick, Henry said, 'Now don't you try anything like that again. Don't you ever; do you hear?' " Henry made it a point to undercut Edsel whenever he had the opportunity, regardless of what it may cost the company. A considerable amount of the discussion focuses on how the earlier Lincoln Zephyr styling cues influenced the final design of the '40 Ford.
Chapter 4 does go into detail about the '40 Ford itself, including how it competed against its contemporaries in the marketplace and some of Ford's promotional efforts.
Chapter moves onto discussions of Ford's production in pre-war Europe to include English Fords, and those produced in France and Germany.
As I mentioned above, the book appears to have been mis-named. Approximately 130 of the 160 pages are dedicated to the overall history of Ford Motor Company from 1930 until 1940 rather than to an in-depth look at a single model year. This is not to detract from the book, though. I found it a fascinating read and would recommend it to anyone. And you certainly can't fault it for its stunning cover.
A native of Detroit, Joseph P. Cadabas is a long time automotive reporter and the award-winning author of Motorbooks' River Rouge: Ford's Industrial Colossus (2005) and The American Auto Factory (2003). He lives in Dearborn, Michigan.