The Cranberry-hued 1940 Ford Coupe “Checkered Past”

- in Cars

It’s not too often you hear a bilder say “that should have been thrown away” when referring to the quality of the vehicle he got before working on it, but it’s very rare when that car eventually turns out to be the winner of the Don Ridler Memorial Award!

50th Ridler Winner 1940 Ford Coupe named Checkered Past
In 1957, when Ron Cisek was 10 years old, his dad, Gordon, bought beat-up old Ford that had certainly seen better days, as it had been wrecked by Mike Dizona, who used to race a ’32 three-window at local dirt tracks. Ron’s dad wanted to hop it up and he worked on the car off and on for a couple of years.

The frame was sandblasted and the chassis rebuilt, but when he decided to build a new home for the family, the project was put on hold. And that’s where it stayed for the next 50 years.

Ridler-Winning 1940 Ford Coupe
In 2007, Ron had sold some property where the car was being stored and he decided it would be a good time to finish it up. Even though he hadn’t built a hot rod before, he rented a shop so he could build the car and work on it over the weekends. The chassis was again rebuilt, and Ron had a Flathead motor assembled for it.

But when it came time to do the sheetmetal repair work, Ron needed help. Through an acquaintance, Ron was introduced to Andy Leach, who was working on hot rods in his spare time at home while doing non-automotive welding during the day.

2013 Ridler Winner 1940 Ford Coupe named Checkered Past
This Ford has been cut, chopped and reshaped, and features a custom-made hood that was shortened by 4 inches and contoured to fit the one-off grille, which resembles the grille of the 1940 Deluxe.

1940 Ford Coupe named Checkered Past engine
The car features a paint job by Charley Hutton, one-off billet aluminum wheels that were styled to resemble vintage racing designs, and a gold-finished blown flathead V-8 engine.

Ridler-Winning 1940 Ford Coupe named Checkered Past interior
Other vehicle highlights include a saddle leather and suede interior with dimple died panels, custom gauges, and many modern amenities.

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