23K Miles! 1939 Chevrolet Master 85 Town Sedan

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

I can’t help but think of the 1939 World’s Fair whenever I see a car from that year. It was such a time of looking towards the future and the anticipation of better times ahead after a horrendous financial depression that lasted for a solid decade and then some. This 1939 Chevrolet Master 85 two-door Town Sedan is listed here on eBay “way up north”, in the words of Justin Wilson –  the Cajun Cook, in Shreveport, Louisiana. Bids are bringing the price to over $5,600 but the reserve isn’t met yet.

What a great looking car. The Master 85 was the base trim level whereas the Master Deluxe was the one you’d get if your uncle left you some money or you made it into middle-management at the firm. Just to clear up any loose ends on the 1939 World’s Fair life-is-good-in-the-future thought from earlier – I know about WWII looming and that huge cloud hanging over everyone’s heads, so it wasn’t all wine and roses in those days. But, the economy was starting to turn the corner.

Chevrolet sold more two-door Town Sedans than any other body style in the Chevrolet Master series, over 344,000 of them in both Master 85 and Master Deluxe trim! The rest of the lineup included a four-door Sport Sedan, two-door Sport Coupe, two-door Business Coupe, and a Station Wagon. The two-door Coach didn’t sell very well due to having a small truck for storage, which was the story with the four-door Deluxe Sedan.

This car looks very good and the rampant bidding shows that when an original car looks this good, bidders will step up the plate. I wonder what the final price will be, or if it will even meet the seller’s reserve? The seller says that this is a barn find with a mere 23,000 miles on it and it’s 99% rust free! The trunk is one reason why Chevy sold so many two-door Town Sedans and four-door Sport Sedans. The front seat is showing some wear but the back seat looks solid, although maybe a bit thin in spots.

The engine should be Chevrolet’s 216.5 cubic-inch overhead-valve straight-six with 85 hp. The seller says that it runs strong and has a new carburetor, master cylinder, brake cylinders, brake shoes, front shocks, bushings, battery, fuel pump, and more. Are there any fans of pre-war Chevrolets out there?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. kiteflier

    Oh yeah, the old man had one like this in1952 and kept it until 1964 then bought a Mustang. He would take us to a farm where we could fish. My brother and I would ride on the headlights as he drove across the field to the river. Heck those were the days of no seat belts and the old man drove with a beer in one hand and the steering wheel and a cigarette in the other. Car was built like a tank and you could balance a nickel on it with the engine running.

    Like 13
  2. Rodney - GSM

    1939 was the Golden Year. The dreaded depression was winding down, the bright future as seen in the New York Worlds Fair, promised a future full of television and, believe it or not, the introduction of “compact cars”. No one saw the horror of WWII marching toward them. This car was the symbol of that future.
    What a great bookmark in that chapter.

    Like 9
  3. bobhess bobhessMember

    Bought this exact car, minus engine and trans, while in college. Planned to put an Olds drive train in it. Tripped over the ’53 Stude Lowry coupe and built that one instead. Sold it to a guy in the dorm who spent a lot of time drooling over the car. He had a heavy duty V8 drive train he wanted to put in it and was willing to pay anything I wanted for it and did. As a restorod it’s a perfect car. My big draw, those bullet taillights. Still love ’em today.

    Like 3
  4. Pete Phillips

    Shift lever is on the steering column–I think 1939 is the first year for that.

    Like 0
  5. HoA Howard AMember

    While a great find, naturally, I don’t buy the 23K. Clearly it doesn’t have 123K, people just didn’t drive that much, but speedometers were not that reliable, and this car has more that 23K. Shouldn’t matter, there simply can’t be many like this. Note to new owner: please don’t turn it into a hot-rod,,,,

    Like 7
    • Christian Ferreira

      I own the car now. Found this thread and forum online. The car literally only has 23k miles. Found the original owners and several photos. I’ve since cleaned the car way up. Can be seen on my Instagram @zero_phucks! Has New whitewalls, a visor, paints all buffed out now. I’m in southern cali

      Like 1
  6. Kenneth Carney

    Come to think of it, I am coming into some money and I really like this car! But
    for the life of me, I’ve never heard of a frozen transmission unless they mean the
    clutch might need repairing. Seeing a car like this one reminds me of how we used to find ’em in the late ’60s. You know the
    drill, maybe one of your little old neighbors had one parked in their garage
    or you got one left to you buy your late
    Aunt Effie. Whatever the reason, it was
    cars like this one that got a lot car folks
    started in the hobby dirt cheap. Today,
    I’d just get everything working and drive
    it just the way it sits. Man I like this car!

    Like 6
  7. Joe Haska

    Freshman year of college (early 60’s) my friend and I rented a room in a house off campass, the landlord and his family were great and we got along very well. In fact so well, he let John and I use his second car. It was a 39 Chev coupe and it was pristine. Funny I knew how nice it was, but because of the time,it only interested me because it was such great transportation, for free. Have always been a Hot Rodder and early Ford fan, so the 39 Chev wasn’t my thing, imagine how I would feel now, if that 39 coupe was available now, times and attitudes change.

    Like 0
  8. Bob Mck

    I hope she is saved by someone.

    Like 2
    • Christian Ferreira

      I own the car now! It’s been saved! It’s in so cal and I drive it 3-4 days a week! Runs so perfect, buffed it out. New whitewalls. Super nice driver now!!

      Like 1
      • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

        I checked out you sight. You have some really nice customs. Obviously you’re very good at what you do, being booked up for months in advance. I’m glad you got the Chevy. Not sure of your plans for it, but I can tell you love it.
        God bless America

        Like 0
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    As a lad growing up in the 50’s a girl classmate’s father drove a car just like this. It wasn’t unusual in our neck of the woods to see cars from the thirties and even the twenties still being driven as family cars. My own father drove a 39 Dodge 7 passenger sedan until 54 when he finally parked it in the back of the farm and updated all the way to a 48 Dodge sedan.
    This is not a car I would personally want, but it has great potential.
    God Bless America

    Like 3
  10. Glenn SchwassMember

    I love the color of the wheels. That is one nice car. The engine looks clean. It only needs seats from what I see…

    Like 2
  11. Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

    Auction update: this one was bid up to $6,339 and didn’t meet the seller’s reserve.

    Like 0
    • Bob Mck

      That is all that it is worth today.

      Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds