Sometimes all it takes is a simple twist of fate to put the wheels of change in motion. Dave and Sue Ciappa are no strangers to the custom car world; in fact, they have been involved in the hobby for well over 20 years as the owners of Hot Rods ’n Stuff located in their hometown of Lockport, New York. Through their business they have had the opportunity to design and craft countless breathtaking hot rods and custom cars as well as help numerous car owners find new homes for their rides. With a successful web-presence, the pair’s visibility generates a constant flow of traffic online with a recent visitor taking a particular interest in one of their newly completed projects showcased on the site.

Their fresh Brookville-bodied 502ci V-8–powered ’32 Ford roadster was one that Dave considered a keeper until the customer’s admiration led them to work a deal taking his recently completed ’40 Ford hauler in trade. But hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves since Dave is no newcomer to the world of performance. Having started his career in drag racing back in the early ’60s, Dave first fielded a ’64 GTO in the B/S Class then moved up to the E/SP Class a few years later with a ’66 Corvette. After honing some razor-sharp reflexes he bumped up to L/Gas Class with a heavily chopped VW Bug that scorched the asphalt with 10.90-second passes at 138 mph. With the fever running full-tilt more years passed by with his best times made piloting a B/Econo dragster in the 7s at over 170 mph. Pulling the final chute after 20 years of professional drag racing, he moved into the street rod world by building a bitchin ’36 Ford humpback sedan, and the rest is history.

After deciding to part with their roadster, the ’40 Ford arrived not long after on a transport from Florida. Once in the home shop it gave Dave the opportunity to study it from stem to stern deciding on what changes needed to be made to give it his personal injection of wickedness. Originally given its breath by Classic Cars in Deerfield Beach, Florida, the hauler sat on one of Henry’s original spines, which was kicked up and C’d out back while also being boxed and smoothed to give it a show-like finish. To drop the nose to the asphalt and give it superior handling, a Heidts Superide II IFS was set in place combined with their exclusive 2-inch drop spindles and RideTech ShockWaves. A Mustang II power rack-and-pinion unit finalized the deal to make the truck handle like it was on rails.

Out back, a Currie 9-inch rear packed with 3.73:1 gears was anchored in place thanks to a TCI triangulated four-link deftly matched to chrome TCI coilover shocks. To get the truck’s stance to sit even more evil, Dave relocated the rearend and added shorter coilovers out back, while up front he relocated the ShockWave’s giving them even more edge with their ’bag’s dumped. To bring everything to a halt, an ECI power master pumps fluid through polished stainless lines to each corner where SSBC Performance Brake Systems 11-inch Big Bite cross-drilled rotors and polished four-piston calipers get the job done.

In order to give the truck plenty of newfound personality, Dave contacted Dayton Wire Wheels for a set of their custom painted Classic-series wire wheels in 17-inch front and 20-inch rear sizes capped them with low-profile ZR-rated rubber from Falken. When it came to lighting the tires up, this was one vintage Ford that wasn’t going to get a Bow Tie underhood. For the ultimate in performance a supercharged Ford SVT 5.4L V-8 was nailed to the ’rails generating 500 hp to the rear wheels. The factory crate engine came packed to the brim with all of Ford’s top-shelf performance goodies, including dual overhead cams, four-valve aluminum heads, forged steel crank, and forged aluminum pistons.

The crowning touch includes fuel injection, an air-to-water intercooler, and an Eaton supercharger. To add just the right amount of dazzle underhood, Dave fabbed up some sleek engine covers, polished the throttle body and air intake, added Billet Specialties brackets, K&N air cleaner, and BBK Performance valve covers to complete the look. Spent gasses get dumped through a set of custom headers through Flowmaster 40 Series mufflers and 3-inch stainless pipes all treated to Jet-Hot coating. Linked to a warmed-over Ford AOD trans, power moves rearward through a custom driveshaft.

In order to add a bit of newfound elegance to the Ford’s original flowing body lines, the team at Classic Cars sliced a very mild 1½ inches from the roof, reducing the top heaviness from the cab while also widening the rear fenders, massaging the bed, fabricating a stylish rear roll pan, and adding a gas filler to the driver-side rear fender. Once the cutting and welding was completed, the body was stripped, prepped, and blocked to perfection making it mirror-straight. To make the truck standout in a crowd, a decadent coating of PPG American LaFrance Fire Engine Red was applied, treating the chassis to the same amounts of perfection as the body sheetmetal.

In the reassembly stage, the team called on Bob Drake Reproductions for a fresh chrome grille, bumper, and headlights to add plenty of sparkle with all other chrome parts getting dunked by Advanced Plating. A custom-fabbed steel electric tonneau covers an oak bed accented by polished stainless steel bedstrips. With all of the efforts focused on the exterior, drivetrain, and chassis, you had better not forget to design a bitchin business office.

To create surroundings comfortable enough for the long haul, a pair of black leather Recaro seats were secured in place accented by black leather sculpted door panels, custom floor and overhead consoles along with a complementing black leather headliner, and matching English wool carpeting. Gauges from Auto Meter mounted in a Bob Drake Reproductions smooth dash help monitor the vitals while a custom banjo-styled steering wheel carves out a path through an ididit polished tilt column with shifting handled through a Lokar stick. For the final touch, cool breezes are compliments of Vintage Air, while plenty of tunes fly from a Panasonic head unit through matching hidden speakers. All we can say is this is one ’40 Ford that delivers both speed and style with a perfect balance of proportion and grace. Hearing it accelerate up the road with its blown and injected mill wide open will bring a smile to any hot rodder’s face! CT

Dave & Sue Ciappa

Lockport, NY
1940 Ford Pickup

Chassis
Frame: modified stock
Modifications: boxed, C’d, stepped
Rearend / Ratio: Currie 9-inch / 3.73:1
Brakes: 11-inch disc
Rear suspension: coilover
Front suspension: Heidts IFS
Steering: rack & pinion
Front wheels: 17x6 Dayton wires
Rear wheels: 20x8 Dayton wires,
Front tires: 215/55 ZR17 Falken
Rear tires: 255/45 ZR20 Falken
Gas tank: Tanks, stainless

Drivetrain
Engine: 5.4L Ford SVT crate engine
Heads: aluminum
Valve covers: Ford Racing Performance
Manifold/Induction: aluminum/injected, supercharged
Ignition: Ford electronic
Headers: custom, Jet-Hot coated
Exhaust/Mufflers: custom/Flowmaster 40-Series
Transmission: AOD
Shifter: Lokar

Body
Style: pickup
Modifications: 1½-inch chop, shaved
Fenders: stock
Hood: stock
Grille: Bob Drake, ’40 Ford
Bed: custom
Bodywork and paint by: Classic Cars, Dearfield, FL
Paint type/Color: PPG/American LaFrance Red
Headlights/Taillights: stock
Outside mirrors: Bob Drake
Bumpers: Bob Drake front, custom roll pan rear

Interior
Dashboard: modified stock, Bob Drake insert
Gauges: Auto Meter
Air conditioning: Vintage Air
Stereo: Panasonic
Steering wheel: custom-made banjo
Steering column: ididit
Seats: Honda buckets
Upholstery by: Classic Cars
Material/Color: leather/black
Carpet: black

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