For most car builders, the invitation to display a custom build at the SEMA show is a huge deal. Taking home an award among a sea of the best custom builds in the hobby is an even bigger deal. This European-inspired 1940 Ford pickup took home the award for Best SEMA SUV/Truck by Toyo Tires at the 2018 SEMA show.
Portland-based Chris Church stumbled across this 1940 Ford for his wife back in 2016 for $6,500 at a fall swap meet inside Portland International Raceway. It was lacking the engine and transmission, and the frame had seen better days. John Deere tractor paint in flat black covered the body, and it sat on a set of orange wheels. Chris’s wife, Angela, had always loved the 1940 body style, so with title in-hand, he brought the truck home. Chris saw potential in the old pickup truck, but the project was no easy task. But what project is?
Cancer-ridden sheet metal was apparent throughout the truck, so metal was used from various donor vehicles to fabricate a solid shell. The truck features modified bumpers, drip rails, and cowl vent. In addition, the truck sports a pair of self-built 1939 coupe headlights, frenched-in taillights, and a big back window. Chris and his wife share a love for European cars, so the main goal for the project was to show that off. A custom Audi RS5-inspired honeycomb grille graces the front, and a retro Porsche PPG Sport Classic Gray coat of paint covers the body.
A Whipple supercharger tops the Wegner Motorsports-built LS3 motor that sits inside the engine bay, resulting in a stout 935 horsepower power rating. Gears shift through a GM 4L80-E automatic transmission complete with paddle shifters, and a Holley ECU keeps everything running smoothly. A QA1 carbon fiber driveline transfers power to the rear axle. Gases flow through a set of silver ceramic coated 321 stainless steel headers custom built by Ultimate Headers. The 3-inch collectors are attached to titanium-wrapped Borla exhaust, and the sound is tamed via Borla XR1 mufflers. A C&R Racing cooling system complete with an intercooler and custom radiator help keep temperatures in check.
The old frame was rough, so the truck now sits on a new Schroeder Speed & Custom frame. Suspension components consist of a Slam Specialties air suspension, Watts four-link by Michigan Metal Works, and RideTech Q-series shocks. A Moser 9-inch rear assembly can handle the power and torque. Forged two-piece American Racing wheels are wrapped with Toyo Proxes R888R tires. Wilwood disc brakes on all four corners help the truck halt with ease.
TMI custom red leather seats add a pop of color and a bit of contrast to the interior. In addition, lightweight aluminum billet accessories and carbon fiber door panels add to the interior aesthetic. This 78-year-old Ford features modern power windows. An Alpine Halo 9 touch screen display keeps everything at the fingertips, and high-quality tunes play through Rockford Fosgate components and subwoofers.
Toyo Tires offers their awards based off of execution as a whole as well as modifications. Another factor is how the vehicle embodies the Toyo Tires brand and lifestyle image. It is safe to say that this 1940 Ford pickup is well-deserving of the Best Truck/SUV by Toyo Tires award.