Cliff & Paula Wiles are from the village of Lawrence, on the Clarence River in New South Wales, not far from Yamba. Cliff is President of the Mid North Coast Hot Rod Club, and Cliff & Paula have been regular entrants for many years, in their well known '40 Roadster. It is well known because Cliff has had it on the road for 32 years - there were only 55 made in Geelong and the body number on his is #16. Cliff has been playing with hot rods longer than he has been playing with girls, and has owned every  body style of 1940 Ford with the most practical of all being the 1940 Woody which he still regrets selling.
Cliff purchased the Coupe on e-Bay from the son of the original owner and considers himself extremely fortunate that the guy was trustworthy and honest, even though he did say on a couple of occasions "Trust me, it IS as good as I say".
Cliff imported the coupe into Australia with the professional help of Californian Image in Queensland. The day he picked it up and saw the "Barn Fresh" and rust free body he appreciated what a good deal he had done. We featured the project when it was in Cliff's garage here.
Sutherlands Auto Garage in Pennsylvania supplied all the repro parts; Cliff says that Mark Sutherland was terrific to do business with over the 4 years this project has taken, ensuring Cliff got what he needed in a timely manner, in mint condition and at competitive pricing. The dash insert is billet, with Night Vision VDO gauges, & complementary dash mounted tachometer.The column shift and all knobs are 8 balls, with this theme carried through to the valve caps. There is a remote controlled radio/CD player in the glove box which pumps out surround sound for those long trips, allowing the Wiles' to listen to blasts from the past.
Cliff has allowed for long trips by fitting a 120 litre stainless steel fuel tank that houses the electric fuel pump and sender unit. Next on the list? Yes, there is another '40 Ford - a 1940 Deluxe Coupe Utility that will hopefully be a project in the not too distant future, but at present Cliff is working on his 1970 Ford Ranchero GT pickup - with a 429CJ motor

High quality Bob Drake reproduction parts include the '40 Ford grille, hood emblem, bumpers, hinges, handles, running board rubbers, wiper towers, windscreen divider, all rubbers and dash clock.

The bucket seats are out of a 1994 Toyota Soarer - driver seat is 8 way electric - passenger seat is 4 way electric. Cliff designed and made all the door, quarter panel and boot panels then spent a session with "Tattoo Tom" at the Yamba Rod Run while he sketched the flame templates for them. Errol of Errol McLaughlin Trimming then did his bit, including bold embossing of the flames which start at the door panels and continue to the rear quarter and boot panels.  

Cliff decided not to fit a rear seat (this is definitely a 'Darby and Joan' Rod), so he designed, made and fitted a substantial parcel shelf that features a boldly embossed traditional V8 Ford logo and flames. This logo feature is also replicated on the rear boot divider panel that hides the spare and battery. Arm rests are billet steel with padded rests. Hood lining is grey and carpets are charcoal.

A Series 3 Jag independent runs four spot calliperswith ventilated rotors. The springs were custom made by King Springs to get the ride as low as possible.

The paint is a 2004 Ford blend - Blood Orange, applied by Troy at 5 Mile Smash, in Grafton. Troy is a keen young painter and this was the first Hot Rod he's brought to life with colour. He produced a top quality paint job comparable with the work of any long time painter.

The 2002 Falcon steering wheel is trimmed in grey leather to match the rest of the trim, and contains the controls for the cruise control. Electric windows and power steering are also part of the luxury theme. Cliff fitted a Mark IV air conditioner under the dash, and fabricated outlets to the original ashtrays on the sides of the dash and further outlets under the dash centre provide a cool drive.

This is a fully computerised car, in that the electronic dash and computer controlled engine are supported by a mass of wiring (very interesting fitting it all under the neat dash of a '40 Ford).

Here we see a Toyota Lexus 4.0 litre all alloy, quad cam V8  The air intake is via a working Cobra air cleaner to an illusion of a Holly 4 bbl carb beneath, which houses the mass air sensor (lots of people are caught scratching their heads when looking at this arrangement).

The engine has polished stainless steel extractors with 3" collectors that continue to a full polished dual stainless steel exhaust system including mufflers and resonators.

A centre cross member has been fabricated to accommodate trailing arms from the Jag rear, and to carry centre-mount drive shaft bearing for the rear end. The springs were custom made by King Springs to get the ride as low as possible.

Cliff's coupe runs 2 thermo fans -  one for the AC condenser and the other for the engine. This was made possible because in 1940 Henry provided more than adequate room for a flat head! What great foresight he had.

The Coupe has a stock body, apart from the rear wheel arches having been "tubbed" to accommodate larger wheels. Cliff removed the trim so you can see the effect.

Accreditation: The Editor
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