HEIRLOOM: Dave Kracht’s Lexus-Powered 1940 Ford Sloper

30 May

Dave Kracht's 1940 Ford Sloper

HEIRLOOM

Dave Kracht’s 1940 Sloper has been in the family since 1964 and it’s never looked better
Words and Pics: www.hoskingindustries.com.au

Dave Kracht's 1940 Ford Sloper“The car was originally bought and built by my dad in 1964,” starts Dave Kracht, the current ‘custodian’ of this immaculate and understated Aussie 1940 Ford Sloper Deluxe. “He was a member of the Romans Hot Rod Club.”

Incredibly, the Ford has never left the Kracht family in all those years. Thanks to a seven year rebuild completed in 2009 the car has a new lease on life that will see it cruising our nation’s roads for plenty more.

“The car was in many shows in the 1960s and won many awards,” Dave says. “In 1968 dad ‘finished’ it and it won Top Tudor at the Sydney State Titles show at Roselands.”

In around 1971 Kracht senior pulled the car apart to give it a new drive train, but Dave says he lost interest in the ’40 and it sat dormant until the late 1980s when Dave took over. “I had it in various guises over the years,” Dave explains. “The last iteration saw it painted black with flames and a sidevalve V8, Halibrand diff’ and white walls on steelies.”Dave Kracht's 1940 Ford Sloper

Fast forward to 2002 and Dave embarked upon the car’s most extensive and decidedly tasty rebuild. The project would take seven years and see just about every nut, bolt and component replaced or refinished.

“Most of the rebuild took place in Ralph Stapley’s workshop in Bathurst,” Dave says. “Ralph was a good friend of my dad’s and a fellow Romans member.”

Dave says the object of the build was to create a rod that was a good driver “that you could drive interstate with ease and comfort”. I think you’ll agree with Dave when he says that objective was completed.

“It took a lot more work and time that we expected,” Dave admits. “That included a lot of bodywork to get a good fit and finish.”

Dave Kracht's 1940 Ford SloperFellow Bathurst local Ray Tobin took care of the bulk of the body work, with the Lost Green finish applied by The Repair Wizard back in Dave’s home town of Katoomba in NSW’s Blue Mountains. The result is a clean, understated and timeless look complemented by the factory bright work and those sweet Coddington alloys.

Dave’s ’40 isn’t all paint and body though, with the engine and drive train proving just as interesting. When your objective is to create a vehicle capable of easy interstate travel, it’s hard to go past a late-model motor and Dave’s choice of a quad-cam’ Lexus V8 borders on genius.

Not only is the Lexus a refined, robust and downright bullet proof engine, it’s also easy on the juice, comes with air-con and cruise control and makes all the right sounds when coupled with a decent exhaust. The Ford boasts a set of custom 4-into-1 ceramic coated headers and a twin stainless system, making sure this rod sounds like a rod should.Dave Kracht's 1940 Ford Sloper

To keep things simple and reliable, Dave retained the services of the factory 4spd overdrive auto’ gear box, even integrating the original shifter assembly into his incredible interior. Being the proprietor of DNA Motor Trim in Katoomba, Dave was in an excellent position to equip the Ford with a cabin to die for and that’s just what he delivered.

Based around two pairs of AU Falcon bucket seats, Dave created a supremely classy cabin that’s drenched in black leather, with the seats featuring tasteful embossed inserts that are mirrored on the door trims as well. Dave also constructed the full length centre console that includes that factory Dave Kracht's 1940 Ford Slopershifter, the door trims and the entire rear section that includes air vents and hides all the wiring and other ugly stuff.

As nicely as the completed car turned out, it’s the friendships and contact with the scene that proved most rewarding for Dave. “The best part of the build by far was reconnecting with Ralph,” Dave says. “I formed a very strong friendship with him during the project and I have become friends with many people during and after the build.”

Perhaps the sweetest moment of all came during the 2009 Custom Auto Expo state title show when Dave decided to enter the Ford as a kind of ‘completion of the circle’ that his dad started way back in 1968. “It ended up winning the Top Tudor award,” says Dave, still smiling at the memory. “Same car, same show, same award 41 years after it first won. It was a very satisfying moment and I was honoured to win.”

Owner: Dave Kracht
Engine: 1994 Lexus 4L Quad-Cam V8, ceramic-coated 4-into-1 headers, stainless twin exhaust, K&N pod filter, alloy radiator, alloy radiator overflow tank, thermo fan
Power: Untested
Trans: Factory Lexus electronic 4spd auto
Diff: Jaguar IRS, 3.54:1 final drive, LSD
Suspension: Rear coil-overs, fully boxed chassis rails w/tube cross members
Wheels: Coddington Stingray rims (15x6in front, 17x8in rear)
Brakes: XF Falcon front rotors, VS Commodore front calipers, Nissan Skyline rear calipers, in-board rear rotors, booster and master cylinder under-dash
Interior: AU Falcon ute front and rear buckets, black leather trim w/embossed inserts, grey carpets and grey cloth roof lining, Autometer gauges, Lexus shifter, custom centre console, custom roof pod and door trims
Thanks to: DNA Motor Trim, The Repair Wizard – Katoomba, Timic Hot Rod Supplies, Ralph and Annette Stapley, Ray Tobin, my son Kevin and all my friends and family who helped out and continue to do so

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