It’s become a cliché: the “barn find,” a rare car re-discovered after years hidden away in some old garage or barn. But like many a cliché, there’s a bit of truth, as the folks at the Ford House are only too glad to talk about.
The mansion-come museum, along Lake St. Clair near Detroit, will soon be the home for the 1934 Model 40 Special Speedster that was the personal project of Edsel B. Ford, one-time president of Ford Motor Co. and the son of founder Henry Ford. But first, the strikingly advanced 2-seater will be competing for the coveted trophies to be handed out over the weekend at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The Speedster – which strongly influenced some of the most important designs to come out of Ford and its Lincoln brand in the years before World War II – was designed by legendary Ford stylist E.T. “Bob” Gregorie, but Edsel Ford was actively involved in its development. It was just slightly longer than the classic 1934 Ford Roadster, but appeared longer and lower due to a number of technical and visual tricks – such as moving the cockpit rearward and then extending the boat tail. The Speedster was hand-built out of aluminum and equipped with a stock Ford Flathead V-8 making 75 horsepower.