Should I rod my ’42 or sell it?

October 1, 2008 | By Richard Prince


I have a coupe that I was going to turn into a street rod but after checking the title I realized it is a 1942 Ford Business coupe. Since it was built during the war years, some of my friends said it would be a shame to cut it up because they stopped manufacturing civilian vehicles after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 in order to make military equipment. The car has high mileage on it but the V-8 Flathead still runs smooth and it must have been kept in a barn or garage because there is no cancer or hard rust on the body or flooring.

I would appreciate it if you could tell me anything about it. I may decide to sell it to a restorer.


Henry Ford was not the first auto industry leader to turn his company over to the production of military equipment at the start of World War II. The federal government didn’t give him a choice, however, and by February 7, 1942 all automakers, including Ford, had to discontinue production of civilian vehicles and turn their full attention to building the tools of warfare.

That obviously cut production of 1942 civilian vehicles dramatically, making your Business Coupe relatively rare.

As a general rule of thumb, I believe that collector cars should bring happiness to their owners and if hot rodding a stock car will maximize the owner’s enjoyment of it then that’s what he should do. Having said that, however, owing to its rarity I think it would be best if you sold your ’42 to someone who will keep it stock. You can then buy another, more common coupe to craft into the hot rod of your dreams.