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Coupe or Business Coupe? 1939 Pontiac Coupe

052716 Barn Finds - 1939 Pontiac Coupe - 3

The seller has this car listed as a “Business Coupe”, but I think it may be a regular Coupe. In either case, it’s a 1939 Pontiac Coupe, of some sort, and it’s on Craigslist in Pella, Iowa. The price is “$17,000 Cash FIRM”.

052716 Barn Finds - 1939 Pontiac Coupe - 2

It sure looks like a great, original car. Well, other than the grille has been painted black for some reason, but it’s as straight as can be. There should be faded remnants of the Glyndon Green Metallic body color up to the center, vertical chrome piece. Where I think the “business coupe” designation falls flat is that a real business coupe should have the gas filler on the RR quarter panel as shown on this ’39 Chevy Business Coupe, not on the RR fender as shown on this Pontiac. It doesn’t help that there is only one interior photo and it’s of the front and there are no trunk photos. All of the research I dug up points to this being the smaller A-Body (115″ wheelbase) Series-25 that is not a business coupe because of the location of the gas filler neck, but I could be wrong. Do any Barn Finds fans have any experience with these cars? The bigger B-Body (120″ wheelbase) cars have the gas filler on the driver’s side.

052716 Barn Finds - 1939 Pontiac Coupe - 1

The Series-25 is the smallest of three body styles for these cars and they were similar to what Chevrolet offered in 1939. This car looks great to me, I love the finish as it is now, I would not change a thing! The seller doesn’t really give any info as to the running condition and there are no engine photos so I don’t know what powers this car, but they do mention that it’s a 6 cylinder. I think this may be a “Quality Six” model, which was basically a Chevrolet with a Pontiac front clip and other details.

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The interior looks like it may clean up fairly well. There isn’t much info given about this car other than: “6 Cylinder, 6 Volt 3 On The Tree. It is a Driver!!” What do you know about these 1939 coupes? With no rear interior or trunk photos, and the body style and size being exactly the same, is there a way to tell if this is truly a business coupe from just exterior photos? If anyone knows, it’ll be a Barn Finds reader!


  1. Fred

    As I recall, business coupes have no back seat (the businessman used that area for storage). Too bad we are missing that photo.

    Like 1
    • DENIS

      Fred, I agree, my weak memory recalls no back seat..my dad loved old cars and was always bringing home oddballs for Mom to drive…Chevy business coupe(we sat on the damn floor, Ford woodie 2 dr wagons, old Plymmies, I loved ’em all..didn’t realize we looked like ‘freakin hillbillies…lol…we had shoes! I like this Pont coupe but cant see the price he wants…

      Like 1
    • Wayne

      Fred this car is a Business Coupe I have a 39 myself I bought it the first time in 1962 from the original owner I sold a few years later and 42 years after that I bought it back I’m gentlemen I sold it to she changed only the motor and transmission he put an Oldsmobile 394 that I gave them with the car I had interior redone and added the opera seats out of a different car the opera coop had fold down the seats and the rear window slid back they opened a Business Coupe did not and the gas cap is right where you said it was on the right side on the fence

      Like 0
  2. RoughDiamond

    If someone had a real desire to either restore or build one of these cars, this one is probably about as original and untouched as one could hope to find if there is not an abundance of hidden rust. Must have been something driving that Pontiac back in the day looking out over that long hood from the driver’s seat. Based on the houses in view and the topography of the land, this looks like a very rural area and not one someone would travel to without a much better overal visual representation of the car ahead of time.

    Like 0
  3. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    .Lots of people call any Coupe a “Business Coupe, especially when posting internet pictures, but they are not.

    I don’t think this is a business coupe,

    In every true 39-40 Business Coupe I have seen, the fuel tank is located under the platform that would have been the rear seat bottom, and the gas filler is located in front of the rt rear fender, as shown in this picture of the 40 Business Cpe I have.
    I bought it to build a full fendered stock car, but found this Texas car too solid , and may sell it. It has a Mustang front end and 12 bolt GMC rear end already done.
    ( The Jimmy 12 bolt has leaf springs and 6 lug axles) and will make a great street rod.

    Like 0
    • Scotty G

      Boom! Thanks, Dave, that’s what I thought! I should have known that you would be the guy to ask about that.

      Like 0
    • Wayne

      Dave i own a 1939 pontiac business coupe I bought it from original owner I still have original ft seat but recovered years ago. The gas filler on fender also tail light on fender chevy was on body beside trunk. I have original sales broshure original straight 6 cly it is 25 series.

      Like 0
    • Don

      Business coupe has flush mount top door hinge-not exposed like the lower hinge, opera coupe has top/bottom door hinge exposed. Easy way to tell the difference at a glance.

      Like 0
  4. Dairymen

    Good luck getting that kinda money. You can buy lot better prewar coupes for that kinda dough! Looking over the hood of any prewar car is impressive (especially with straight 8’s, V12’s or V16’s)

    Like 1
  5. dj

    I’m pretty FIRM he’s not going to be able to get $17,000 CASH for it.

    Like 0
  6. Rocco

    Still, it’s a cool looking car.

    Like 0
  7. Dairymen

    If he gets rid of the “1” in the asking price he’ll be pretty close.

    Like 0
  8. Terry J

    I’ve seen a “Business” coupe or two with the trunk opening into the cab area with no back seat. I guess for long sales samples, but perhaps in the 30s – 40’s sleeping in the trunk on a long road trip was common ? Terry J

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Most business coup bodies were not “pass thru” from the trunk area to what would have been the back seat area, due to stiffening X ribs in the body. Business coupes typically had cheap hardboard panels below the glass,and a flat floor, designed to carry suitcases, boxes, tools & more. Today we call the same basic concept an “extended cab” pickup truck. What most people don’t realize is how late American car manufacturers offered a “car based” business coupe [AKA a “utility” 2-door sedan]. Listed below are 5 “last year” examples [per the NADA price guide for antique vehicles].
      Packard: 1951
      Chevy: 1955
      Ford: 1959
      Plymouth: 1959
      Rambler: 1961

      Years ago I had both a ’51 Packard 200 business coupe & a ’57 Plymouth Plaza business coupe, both had stick shift & OD, heater, but no radio, & the Packard had a “delete clock” option! The Packard, with the 288 straight 8 & OD would give me a consistent 21mpg on long highway trips.

      Like 1
  9. Rick

    It is not a business coupe just a coupe that is priced 10/12 grand too high.

    Like 1
  10. Dave Wright

    We would call this a club coupe.

    Like 1
  11. Glen

    Certainly not cheap, but it sure looks nice.

    Like 0
  12. MJM

    Great patina, all original and great possibilities for bringing back a true original but at $17,000.00 it’s way overpriced. If the seller stays firm on his asking price this is a car that more than likely will never see the restoration it truly deserves .

    Like 0
  13. Mark S

    The seller will lower his price when he gets no takers, or he will push it back in the barn. I would bet that he doesn’t want to sell and is maybe getting pressured by his wife so up goes the car at a redicules price. Very nice car though would look incredible restored back to original. With maybe some brake upgrades.

    Like 0
  14. pontiactivist

    I would love to find a less complete rough one of these to turn into a gasser. Big rear tires, high front end, American racing wheels big and little, fenderwell headers, angry sounding stroker motor ( my 488 would be a start! ) lose the bumpers, and go terrorize the neighborhood.

    Like 0
  15. Pete

    I like the car regardless of what he is calling it. Don’t like his asking price at all though. Pretty sure I could get a nice fully restored one just like it for less money.

    Like 0
  16. John Carmody

    Ya I agree the price is way to high. I own a 1939 Pontiac 2 dr sedan model 26. Here what I know . I built this car back in 1982 as a street rod, sold it in 86 just bought it back last year from the same guy I sold it to. There is a small and a big series. The big series is a model 26 six cylinder and 27 6cyl or straight 8. they share the same body with some models of cad and buick. they have a 120 inch wheel base . Also they have stainless trim on the side of the body . The small body is the same as the chevy body it does not have stainless trim on the body and it has a shorter wheel base. The chassis is Pontiac only not the same as chevy. The dash panel is the same as 1939 chevy. The car shown here is a business coupe because of where the gas filler neck is, same as chevy . They other one would be in the left rear fender. The small series is called a model 25 and had a flathead 6 cyl. A good price maxed out would be $6000.00

    Like 0
  17. Don

    Business coupe had fixed quarter windows, opera coupe had the rear jump seats and the quarter windows slid open, small knob handle on the bottom forward edge of the glass, window slid open just like a side slider house window.

    Like 0
  18. Dana Hehn

    I am now restoring my mother’s 1939 Business coupe. Have always just kept her going and driveable. She was the first owner and it has always been our family. Style # 2527. 115 wheelbase Gas cap is on the passenger side fender. We took off the gas tank to repair some rust, it was under the trunk. No back seat. Fixed rear side windows. I am 66 and learned to drive with this car. Have pictures of her all her life!

    Like 0
    • Dylan

      Also they do not have an exposed upper door hinge on the business coupes

      Like 0
  19. William McDonald

    A 1939 Pontiac coupe was the first car I remember being in. Our family consisted of my parents, my twin brother and myself. There was no backseat, only a shelf extending from just below the back window to the the front seat backs. There was a panel extending from the front shelf edge to the floor. Either my brother or myself rode on the shelf looking at everything sideways . A kid could only fit lying down. My brother and I switched between the shelf and my mother’s lap….strong memories from 1944. Can anyone identify this Pontiac model? Our next car was a maroon 1941 Pontiac coupe that was kept until 1954.

    Like 0
  20. Don

    What you described is a business coupe, the other model that year was an opera couple which had flip down, side mounted seats and sliding quarter windows

    Like 0
  21. John w

    Can you tell by the vin. Tag what model it is ?

    Like 0

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