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Art Spero


This photo is of my 1940 Deluxe Opera Coupe in near "as Henry built it" form. Although I have had it for many years, it has gone through several transformations. It was a "body off" restoration starting with a 42,000 mile car. All parts were completely rebuilt, or replaced with NOS or authentic reproduction pieces. It has won an AACA 1st in Class and two Best of Show awards over the years I have owned it. The current configuration is not quite "as Henry built it", but I have made all modifications reversible and have kept the original parts. I have driven the car many thousands of miles, including trips to Massachusetts for club reunions. Now that I am retired, the car is undergoing another rebuild.

These photos are of my '40 Coupe in one of its hot rod incarnations, circa 1981 - 2002.

The engine is a Corvette 327, slightly modified.  I picked up the Rochester fuel injection in 1968 for a 1960 Corvette I was driving at that time.  It's quite rare in that only 76 units of this model were made between 1958 and 1960, and were used by GM on their Le Mans Corvette race cars.


I have had several V-8s over the years. I even had a '52 Sunliner Convertible with a 6 cylinder engine - probably quite rare today. My first encounter with early V-8s was in 1959 when, at age 14 I was given a 1940 Standard Opera Coupe by my brother Jack who went off to the Merchant Marine Academy. I spent over 2 years learning body work, painting, mechanical work, and cut my own glass from junkyard windows. I even learned to do upholstery work using my Mom's sewing machine (sound familiar to anyone else?). My Mom caught the entire 2+ year effort on 8 mm film - it's quite a joy to watch it today! Although that car was flathead powered and the body was "stock", the engine was highly modified, as most youngsters were prone to do in those days: Three carbs, high compression aluminum heads, dual coils, "full race" cam, etc. It sure was fun to drive, but real hard on transmissions! Like most "mature car nuts", I wish I still had that first car. But college called and it had to be sold! Oh well.........

Art's first V8 - circa 1962.

 

This photo of my '35 pick up was taken as I purchased it a couple of years ago in California. The body is very original with no repairs needed. The "old salt" I got it from had owned it many years and modified it with a non-flathead (Buick Nailhead) drive train. I drive it regularly and use it as pick ups were meant to be used. It looks pretty much stock, but has American mag wheels and a 4" dropped front axle. It can easily be put back "as Henry made it".

 

This '40 PU is the latest addition to my collection of V-8 Fords.  It was given to me in April 2004 by a friend who could not complete the restoration.  It was in very good condition when he purchased it in 1990, but let it sit outside in the elements.  He had good intentions and occasionally had some work done......the mechanicals were restored and were in very good condition in 1996.  But.....time and the weather have taken their toll on the truck and the sheet metal has fallen victim to the elements.  The truck now has a good home in the end bay of my new 24'x42' garage, displacing my '32 roadster hot rod project.  My initial plan is to replace all the wiring and work on the rusted sheet metal......1940 colors will be used.  It will be a "driver", not a show piece.  The flathead engine has only a handful of miles since the rebuild, so it will remain in place.  As you can see from the photo, the truck needs lots of TLC.  The restoration journey has begun........again.

Updated 12/05/07