Frank Hainey has lived his dream for 20 years with his dark green 1940 Chevy Special Deluxe Coupe. It is powered by a military GMC inline six 302-cubic-inch engine, which he restored and rod-converted at the Auto Hobby Shop as an Air Force officer while serving at the Los Angeles Air Force Station (LAAFS).
He found the car stored in pieces in a leaky old garage in Los Angeles. He did a frame-up restoration, disassembling and repairing the body, then painting it dark green. He redid the interior in a beautiful complementary tan color.
The modified GMC 302 engine was rebuilt from the ground-up with a heavy duty crank shaft, an Isky E2 cam, big valves, Arias four-inch diameter pistons with four-inch strokes, an HEI distributor, and a four-into-one homemade header.
“The modified ’40 Chevy develops very high torque at the low end, but flattens out at 4000 RPM,” said Hainey.
His own homegrown intake manifold consists of three 90-degree bent steel tubes with matched balance tubes, and to top it all off, a high fuel flow Webber 32/36 downdraft carburetor.
Hainey appraised the performance of the car on three annual trips to the Antique National Car Races at the Fontana California Dragway.
“It works quite well,” he said. Actually, the Coupe hit the quarter mile at 88 mph in 15.9 seconds in one of those races.
In 1968, a fellow officer at LAAFS invited Hainey to attend a Catholic dance for college alumni. The fellow officer bowed out, but Hainey went anyway.
Frank Hainey met a lovely young woman named Joan while at the event and asked her to dance. It must have been a good dance as Hainey left with her phone number. Later he called and asked her for a date. Joan said, “He was a really nice guy, so of course I said ‘yes.’”
The couple married in 1969 and has shared 41 wonderful years together. They have one son who is married with three children – ages one, three, and five years.
Hainey served 20 years as an Air Force officer which included time at the Pentagon in the office of the AF Director of Space. He shared an office with Mike Collins, one of the Apollo 11 astronauts. He also met Ronald Reagan while working on the then-classified Star Wars Program.
The Haineys chose Fallbrook as their retirement community because it put them in close proximity to their son and his family. They said they liked the “rural, small town atmosphere and friendly people.”
Every Thursday the Haineys volunteer their time managing the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store (operated by St. Peter’s Catholic Church) in Fallbrook.
They are both active in the FVCC. Frank Hainey chairs the renting of swap meet spaces at the Memorial Day weekend FVCC Annual Car Show.
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