In 1940 VIN *30231403* was built by proud American workers in Detroit, Michigan, one of 84,976 Dodge D-14 DeLuxe four-door sedans manufactured in that year. A veterinarian from Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, purchased the blue Dodge new at the local Dodge dealer in Boise. He used it to respond to calls all through the war years; his 1944 permit is still affixed to the windshield. Being a very valuable asset during war times, the car was always parked in a dedicated spot in the barn when not in use. In 1948, the good Doctor passed away. The car was put on blocks and covered with bed sheets. No, it was not going to be for sale. Who would have guessed at that time that the Dodge would be asleep for more than 50 years . . .
In the late 1980s an attempt was made to awaken and sell the car. Finally, early in 2003, the time had come. The bed sheets were taken off, the car was lifted from the blocks, and the tires were filled up with air. A new owner was found. He took the Dodge to Southern California.
63 years old and with only 42,342 original miles showing on its odometer, this Dodge personifies the term "reference car." More importantly, it represents a rare opportunity to experience how it felt driving a new car in the 1940s. Time to start our little journey around this amazing Dodge . . .
The body, amazingly, is straight and absolutely rust free, thanks to being stored in a dry, well ventilated barn, away from the elements. The blue lacquer paint is original, factory applied. Sure, it's worn thin on the tops of the fenders, shows a myriad of nicks, imperfections, and touch ups from the past. There are a few small dings here and there, but not an ounce of body filler nor a single rust bubble. It's all heavy metal! Repainting this car--ever--would be an unforgivable sin! Its patina is irreplaceable
and gives the Dodge its inherent value.
Another Dodge industry first for 1940: safety rims! The wheels still feature their factory triple pinstriping, the heavily chromed hubcaps are beautifully preserved. Even the painted red detailing is still intact! Bias ply tires of the dimension 6.00x16 look original as well. I don't think they make "Pennsylvania Rx Supertest Cord S-3" rubber anymore . . .
Dashboard is a masterpiece of Art Deco design. Fabulous painted metal creates the ambiance of lightly stained wood. Nickel plated accents duplicate the look of then-popular costume jewelry. Every single part seems infused with the designer's idea to create a harmonious environment; details such as the retracting ash receiver lid are simultaneously good-looking and
functional. There's simply no comparison to present-day throwaway products, sprouting black plastic appendages everywhere. Nevertheless, the Dodge was built with entirely modern?creature comforts. It features dual electric windshield wipers, Sealed Beam lamps, floating power, hydraulic brakes, telescopic shock absorbers, a column-shifted, synchronized transmission, tinted glass, a chromed horn ring, and a host of other innovations.
Through large, rear-hinged suicide doors, entry to the spacious passenger compartment is easy, even when wearing a top hat. Luxuriously equipped with arm and foot rests, woven grab handles, beveled-glass interior light, and (unused) ash tray, passengers will invariably exclaim: "This feels like Driving Miss Daisy!"
Roomy trunk sports original jute mats. Original spare wheel and jacking equipment are present, as well as some spares and a small tool tray. Also included is a set of new GOODYEAR tires of the proper size and a set of new inner tubes. We did not feel the need to mount the new tires, however, it might be advisable before embarking on an extended journey.
What was found in the felt-lined, locking glove box is nothing short of astonishing in its historical context:
* Owner's instruction book in its original envelope
* "Sentinel" first aid kit, incl. a bottle of "Mercuro-Chrome"
* Small upholstery brush
* Promotional lead pencil "Compliments of DeRail Pool Hall, Glenn's Ferry ID"
* Old bottle opener
* Parking stub dated 8/16/1941, from the "Glen Valley Rodeo"
* Small metal box containing "Buss Auto Fuses"
* "Ideal Split Shot" box containing. a tire valve and a fishing hook
* Pair of celluloid sunglasses
* "Travel Idaho with CONOCO" road map