Beautiful Photos and The Story of Edsel Ford’s Model 40 Special Speedster
In the early 1930s, Edsel B. Ford, the President of Ford Motor Company, commissioned his styling chief, Eugene T. “Bob” Gregorie, to create a unique roadster with limited production potential. Gregorie sketched various alternatives before building a 1/25th scale model, which he tested in a small wind tunnel. The resulting car, based on the 1934 Ford (also known as Model 40), became known as the Model 40 Special Speedster.
With the help of Ford Aircraft personnel, Gregorie’s team fabricated a custom welded tubular structural framework and an elegant taper-tailed aluminum body. The car’s long, low proportions were unlike anything Ford had ever built. It weighed about 2,100 pounds and was powered by a 100-brake horsepower Mercury flathead V-8 engine.
The Model 40 Special Speedster was one of Edsel Ford’s personal vehicles, but after his death in 1943, it changed hands several times. In 2009, Texas collector John O’Quinn purchased the car from Bill Warner, founder of Florida’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. After O’Quinn’s death, Edsel Ford II arranged for the Speedster’s purchase, and it was restored in 2010 by RM Restorations in Blenheim, Ontario, Canada.
The Model 40 Special Speedster is an exceptional piece of automotive history, not only for its beauty but also for its connection to one of the most influential families in the American automobile industry.