As a senior at Ellis High School in Kansas back in ‘62, Garry Crawford got his first car – a 1940 Chevy coupe. He and his buddy Jerry Keller had a lot of fun cruisin’ the Chevy back in those care free Kansas days. Roughly four and a half decades later, Crawford commissioned Mike Keller (his friend Jerry’s son) to build him another ’40 Chevy coupe only this one was to be “a lot nicer.” So Keller and his team at Big Creek Restoration (Ellis, KS) got busy building Crawford’s first love into a modern masterpiece. The car won the Goodguys/Flowmaster 2012 America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod award at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton.
Working from artist Jason Rushforth’s design, Keller and his team masterfully reshaped the Chevy. The wide, square-ish looking front end was reworked extensively including a scratch made grill surround and insert, sectioned and pie-cut hood and reshaped front fenders. Flush fit front and rear windows add to the smooth look. Keen eyes will notice the ’46 Ford rear bumpers have been flipped upside down while the taillights are ’39 Chevy. Custom gravel shields were made from scratch. All of the hinges were hidden. The striking color is PPG Vibrance Cinnamon candy over copper. The polished Foose “Knight” wheels (18’s & 20’s) offer a perfect contrast.
The roomy cabin features a soft brown leather interior by Xibit Customs (Hayes, Kansas). The dash, instruments and art deco speedometer (all cast in bronze) were made in house by Keller and his team.
Underneath it all rests a Morrison chassis with air suspension from Ridetech. The big disc brakes are from Wilwood. A potent 480 horsepower LS3, 4L80E transmission and a big beefy Currie 9-inch rear end get the Chevy down those long Kansas roads in a hurry! All the neighbors can hear it coming thanks to the sweet sounds of Flowmaster exhaust.
As a Kansas high schooler in the 1960s, Crawford couldn’t have imagined driving a ’40 Chevy this nice but a lot has changed in 50 years. His new ’40 Chevy is the perfect platform to show just how far hot rod design & fabrication has come in the new millennium.
For the big win in Pleasanton, Crawford will receive travel accommodations to the Goodguys 15th Southwest Nationals in Scottsdale, Arizona November 16-18 to take its rightful place in the “Champion’s Arena” – a special exhibit featuring all Goodguys ‘Terrific 12” national award recipients. He’ll also haul off a brand new toolbox wrapped with images of his car courtesy of Snap-on.
The runner up finalists for the Goodguys/Flowmaster America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod included David Rios (’40 Ford), Mike Holmes (’39 Ford Ute), Roger Hill (’39 Chevy) and Brent Scheider (’37 Ford Cabriolet).