Real old-school custom built in late 1950s. 59AB flathead V8, Columbia 2-speed, chopped roof, nosed, decked, smoothed. Runs and drives great, awesome traditional look, ready to cruise anywhere!
We don’t know the name of the guy who built the car, but we do have photos of it dating back decades, and coming out of the west coast, there’s little doubt where its influences lie. It’s a real ’39 convertible, not a cobbled-up coupe, and while the top has been chopped and the bodywork slightly smoothed, there’s no erasing one of Ford’s better designs, because it’s identifiable at a glance. The long, low profile is reminiscent of a Lincoln Zephyr, and more than one visitor to our shop has confused this Ford with its upmarket cousin, so it has the right look. The burgundy paint isn’t vintage 1950s lacquer, but it’s the color that was on the car when it was first finished and looks fantastic in an elegant sort of way. The doors fit well, the hood opens easily, and while heavy, the trunk glides on well-oiled hinges. The car just looks great from any angle.
The burgundy and white pleated interior is a vintage-looking take on the first setup, which was also burgundy and white vinyl. In back, the jump seats were removed and the area was upholstered to match the door panels, then as well as today, making it a true 2-seater, although we’re glad the diamond-tufted side panels of old are gone. In the beginning, it carried its original floor-shifted 1939 transmission, but at some point, an enterprising soul installed a 1940 transmission with a column shift, which works well and frees up a lot of room up front. The gauges are original and functional, with a set of modern dials underneath the center stack to keep a better eye on the warmed-over flathead V8. Aftermarket turn signals have been added, and you’ll note that little toggle switch under the starter button, which is for the Columbia 2-speed rear end. There’s also a massive trunk that’s fully finished to match the interior, and the critical storage tubs at the rear are in excellent shape with no rust or rot to be found.
The car has carried a variety of engines, as is typical of vintage rods, and it currently runs a 59AB flathead V8. It’s not radical, but the bright red engine is bulletproof reliable, makes great sounds, and goes about its business without any fuss. We know there’s an upgraded cam inside because it has a nice lopey idle, and a set of tubular headers manage the exhaust. For reliability’s sake, there’s a giant radiator up front, new water pumps, and a 12-volt alternator that looks a lot like a vintage generator, so the look is consistent. You’ll note that someone with a sense of whimsy put this one together, because each plug wire is a slightly different color, which is purely intentional, and there’s enough chrome to make it worth opening the hood at car shows.
Underneath, it’s fairly stock. There’s still a transverse leaf spring holding up each end, and a dropped axle up front to give it a bit of rake. Glasspack mufflers make a wonderful flathead V8 sound that everyone tries to emulate but only a genuine flathead can deliver, and the system terminates in polished tips under the rear bumper. The floors are body colored and in good shape, with black suspension and frame components that show plenty of use but no critical issues. There are aluminum Buick drums up front (real ones, not those modern fakes!) and the Columbia 2-speed rear axle works as advertised, making this car a very comfortable highway cruiser, even on longer trips. The wheels are painted steelies with smooth polished hubcaps and the tires are 195/70/15 Coker wide whitewall radials that are currently reversed (whitewall in) but we have photos of the car with wide whites and no skirts from several years ago, and that’s a cool vintage look that could be duplicated simply by flipping the tires.
A lot of guys are building new rods that try to duplicate what this awesome ’39 Ford already has. Proportions are perfect, workmanship is impressive, and the timeless look will never go out of style. Add in the fact that it’s fully sorted, drives beautifully, and provides plenty of entertaining performance makes this cool coupe one of our favorites. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com