Model: Dalene Costley
Allen Goble’s beautiful 1940 Ford coupe, still clothed in its 1960s battle scarred and faded 1960 dark blue paint, hides more than just a monster motor. It was a favorite stealth-rocket of moonshiners and represents great points of our history and politics.
Politicians love alcohol. Alexander Hamilton, Father of the Overwhelming Federal Government, admitted it, explaining that the Whiskey Tax in 1791 would “furnish a considerable revenue… and if it should tend to diminish the consumption of [whiskey], such an effect would be equally favorable to the morals and to the health of the society.” In other words, “We like ‘vice taxes’ because we can look superior while grabbing money.” But Hamilton admitted to Washington that the Whiskey Tax was actually for tilting the balance of power toward the Feds from the States. And so it began.
Holy Gubment Revenuers were still at it in the 1940s and through the 1960s when this car was used to rocket “mountain dewstar,” “corn squeezin’s,” “lantern fuel,” “moonshine,” whatever, through perilous back roads, fording streams and leaping hills, power drifting sideways long before it was cool, in the dark of night, without lights, at life-threatening speeds, carrying 132 gallons of this life-giving elixir (“whiskey” means “water of life”), to “we the people.”
Well whiskey (and taxes) not only motivates “Big Brother,” but the little guy, too, and enough motivation causes all kinds of creative expressions, sometimes resulting in great things, like the United States itself, and NASCAR. ‘Shine-running drivers with skills to build and drive fast cars, the way a car “oughta’ be driven,” began NASCAR, another chapter of proud American rebellious history.
‘Shiners used other cars, but this was their favorite. Just look at it. It has sexy lines and flowing curves, but overall, it’s unassuming. It was a business coupe, the kind of vehicle you’d expect the vacuum cleaner salesman to use. Its massive flat-floored trunk carried plenty of the goods – 22 cases filed with half-gallon jars – and it had torsion bars to help keep that weight from sloshing too much, side to side. Plus, they added super-heavy duty springs so it did not appear to be carrying anything but vacuum cleaner demos. Whiskey is lighter than water, due to the ethanol, but still ends up being about 7.7 pounds per gallon, meaning a 1940 Ford assigned moonshiner duties carried 1,016.4 pounds in its trunk, plus the weight of the glass jars!
They sometimes stuffed the cars with Cadillac motors, such as the 1949 331 V8 our Mr. Goble has in his. It was a marvel of technology at the time, with overhead valves, and a block about 200 pounds lighter than others. The side skirts of the pistons were cut so they could get closer to the crankshaft, thereby allowing shorter connecting rods, making the the entire motor smaller and lighter. It had bearings all along the crank and despite already sporting a healthy 160 horsepower stock, about what a competitor Ford flathead could produce after modifications, Cadillac’s was built with extra meat, anticipating modifications. Some got over 500 horsepower out of these motors. Hot rodders loved it. Ford hated it.
Allen went further and found, after a search that would have impressed Lewis and Clark, a genuine original Scintilla magneto. Made famous in the Big War on military aircraft, the Scintilla produced a flat spark at high speeds by generating its own spark, without a distributor. You could say it was a predecessors of today’s individual spark coils, without the reliability. Scintillas are wonderful, but cantankerous and temperamental, like so many objects of man’s passion.
A similar effort was required to mate the factory column-shift transmission to the Cadillac motor, requiring a special adapter that one has to kill a unicorn to get.
For suspension, he used a 1936 Ford wishbone which allows him to use the narrower ‘32 axle, thereby lowering it and pulling the wheels inside the fenders better. A Columbia overdrive rear end was added. The rear was lowered by turning over the springs and re-working them, putting the factory “eye” on the other side.
Allen did pretty much all of the work himself, although it doesn’t hurt at all to mention that he had input from his good friend Josh Mills (millscustoms.com).
Why all of this trouble? ‘Shine runs in Allens family (a nicer way to say Allens’ family used to run ‘shine). His ancestors were part of the rebellion, and they have regular reunions, such as at the Moonshine Festival in October in Dawsonville, Georgia. Some of the cars attending still have shotgun mounts and police radios from those years. His uncle’s stories of being chased, losing his shoes running through swamps, hiding in barns… could even include some illegal stuff, but we’ll never know.
So Allen knew how to keep this rod genuine. It has all of the “right stuff” genuine moonshiners used (but he left off the heavy duty springs and bars since he drives it almost daily, without moonshine). It is the real deal, and a 3-D testament to a part of America, where “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” – Thomas Jefferson
Allen loves the comments he gets. “When are you gonna sell it?” they ask. “Like, never!” he says. Patrick Henry and Paul Revere were the same way.
Owner/Builder: Allen Goble
Location: Marietta GA
Vehicle: 1940 Ford coupe
Paint: Dark blue (painted in 1960)
Engine: 1949 Cadillac 331
Tranny: 1940 Ford 3-speed
Intake: Edmunds 2×2 barrel intake with Rochester carbs
Ignition: Scintilla magneto
Rear End: 1940 Ford with Columbia 2-speed
Suspension: F- 1936 Ford wishbone with 1932 dropped axle; R- Stock with reversed eye spring
Brakes: Stock 1940 Ford
Wheels: F- 16×4 steel; R- 16×4.5
Tires: F- 5.00/5.25-16 Coker/Firestone bias-ply; R- 7.00-16 Coker/Firestone bias-ply
Steering Wheel: 1949-50 Ford Crestliner