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40 Shades of Grey – Chris & Angela Church’s 1940 Ford Pickup

Chris and Angela Church’s stunning 1940 Ford pickup, known as 40 Shades of Grey, went from a swap meet find with no drivetrain to premier display vehicle at the 2018 SEMA Show in just two short years. And when you look at what was accomplished in that brief timeframe, the result is even more impressive.

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As Chris describes it, the truck was for sale at the Portland International Raceway Fall Swap Meet in 2016. In addition to lacking a driveline, it sported John Deere flat black tractor paint and orange wheels. “I could see the potential,” Chris said. Once home, the work began.

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Starting with the body, the long list of modifications included removing the drip rails, eliminating the cowl vent, adding a big back window from a ’52 Ford F1, installing a custom one-piece windshield from Sanders Reproduction Glass, reworking the bumpers and rear pan, massaging ’39 Ford headlights to fit, routing the fuel filler through the tailgate, and fitting custom taillights and housings. Chad Espinoza and Mike Purcell of Carolina Kustoms in Portland handled the bodywork and applied the PPG Porsche Sport Classic Grey finish.

40 shades of grey, 1940 ford, classic truck, 40 ford, 1940 ford truck, supercharged ls, carolina customs, truck of the year, sema debut, super car, supercar, porsche interior

40 shades of grey, 1940 ford, classic truck, 40 ford, 1940 ford truck, supercharged ls, carolina customs, truck of the year, sema debut, super car, supercar, porsche interior

The truck rides on a pair of repo ’40 frame rails that were massaged by Schroeder Speed & Custom. The rails were boxed, notched in the rear to clear the suspension and heavily braced. A heavy duty four-link and Watts link support a narrowed Moser rearend that houses an Eaton Truetrac. The front suspension is a No Limit IFS that hosts dropped spindles, RideTech shocks, and Wilwood brakes. Slam Specialties SS8 airbags front and rear create the stance. American Racing wheels and Toyo Proxes R888R tires keep 40 Shades of Grey planted on the pavement.

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Under the hood, a Whipple supercharger tops a 935hp 376c.i. LS3 engine from Wegner Motorsports in Markesan, WI. A C&R Racing aluminum radiator keeps temperatures in the proper range while a pair of Ultimate Headers feed exhaust gases through a 3-inch stainless steel Borla pipes and mufflers. A 4L80E transmission from A-1 Performance Transmission feeds the power through a QA1 carbon fiber driveshaft to the rearend.

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Inside, Dakota Digital gauges reside in a custom-fabricated acrylic and carbon fiber insert and hand-formed, leather covered dash by Church Built Customs. Custom door panels and a center console were also built by Church Built Customs. TMI bucket seats are covered in Orlando Orange top-grain coach leather by Jim’s Custom Upholstery of Milwaukie, Oregon. Charcoal Daytona weave carpet covers the floor. A Billet Specialties steering wheel tops an ididit steering column, while Restomod Air keeps the cab cool and an Alpine/Rockford Fosgate stereo pounds out the sounds.

40 shades of grey, 1940 ford, classic truck, 40 ford, 1940 ford truck, supercharged ls, carolina customs, truck of the year, sema debut, super car, supercar, porsche interior

40 shades of grey, 1940 ford, classic truck, 40 ford, 1940 ford truck, supercharged ls, carolina customs, truck of the year, sema debut, super car, supercar, porsche interior

Why did Chris go to the trouble to speed-build 40 Shades of Grey? For his wife, he said. We certainly hope she lets him drive it occasionally.

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Photos by Steven Bunker

Dave Doucette is a long-time Goodguys member with a career in newspaper, magazine and website journalism. He was one of the founding editors of USA TODAY, editor of two daily newspapers and co-owner of a magazine publishing and trade show company. He owns and operates Real Auto Media. His first car was a 1947 Ford; he has owned Camaros, Firebirds, El Caminos and a 1956 Chevy that was entered in shows from California to Florida before being sold last year. He was one of the original Goodguys Rodders Reps and served as president of two classic Chevy clubs. Doucette grew up in South Florida, avidly following the racing exploits of local hero Ollie Olsen and, of course, Don Garlits. He remembers riding his bicycle to Briggs Cunningham’s West Palm Beach factory to peak through the fence at his Sebring and LeMans racers.

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