BODACIOUS BEATERS – and Road-going Derelicts): VINTAGE CHEVY in DRAG

Phil Coconis
by Phil Coconis
bodacious beaters em and road going derelicts em vintage chevy in drag

Since I’ve gotten myself started on a racing theme ( see a recent entry in my “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” column), I figured I’d keep it going with this BB entry.

Harkening back to the day when a wide variety of motor racing was solidly positioned in the Greater Los Angeles Public Consciousness, we have this fine example for your perusal.

As if straight out of a ‘60’s time capsule—when what were essentially racing cars were allowed to legally roam the streets, being frequently driven to their owner’s track preference—this 1940 Chevy Coupe certainly has the appearance of a proper DIY, “grassroots” Street/Strip Drag Racer.

From the modified Chevy “Small Block” not-under-the-hood, to the flat black paint, appropriate stickers and decals (o.k., there are some that post-date the ‘60’s by at least a couple of decades), Grant steering wheel (missing horn button mandatory), shrunken head hanging from the inside rear view mirror, and other bits of memorabilia—not to mention the overall “work-in-progress” theme—we are pretty much all set for a cruise/race weekend, circa 1968!

While it is becoming popular to perform high-end restorations on vintage drag cars from the era evoked by our case in point, it is also kind of cool to see an unrestored “working example” of one—even if it might not be a bona fide, pedigreed vintage racer (although it certainly could be).

One advantage to running such a car on the modern streets of SoCal, is, since it is a 1940 model, it (ironically) is now exempt from all current forms of emissions testing—the dreaded bogey to performance enthusiasts who choose to motor in later-model chariots.


Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this ttac site). He can be contacted through this very site, or

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2 of 10 comments
  • Bill mcgee Bill mcgee on May 09, 2013

    I always thought that 1941 was one of the truly standout years for GM styling - the Chevy , Cadillac and Buick in particular .One of the first times , if not the first , when Chevy became referred to as a " Baby Cadillac " or Buick .

  • Taxicab Taxicab on Nov 29, 2013

    Well I like. I have seen many old cars that are like this one. But one thing about a lot of old cars you see that are like this one. Is a lot of the time the car would have been scraped. But someone resurrected it. Many times it is not the best work or just god awful. But many of them would have been melted down many years ago.

  • Art Vandelay I’d grab one of these if I’d spent my working life at GM for sure!
  • Analoggrotto The factory is delayed due to an investigation of a peter puffery ring lead by VoGhost, Tassos, EBFlex a Chevrolet Volt.
  • FreedMike Looking forward to the protests at the factory accusing Toyota of excessive woke-ism. First,, grooming. Lord help us all.
  • MrIcky I remember when Gladiators came out and everyone was shocked at how expensive they were. Now all the off road specials have caught up or passed it financially. I like this truck a lot, but I'd still take my Rubicon over this. I'd take this over the Ranger Raptor or Tacoma TRD though. When I found out the increase in track for the new TRD was just wheel offset-I knew they were just phoning it in. Why spend so much R&D on those stupid seats when you could have r&d'd longer arms or a front locker.
  • Alan Hmm, I see a bit of politicking here. What qualifications do you need to run GM or Ford? I'd bet GM or Ford isn't run by experienced people. Anyone at that level in an organisation doesn't need to be a safety whip, you need to have the ability to organise those around you to deliver the required results.