80-Year Old Clean Slate: 1939 Ford Pickup

This 1939 Ford pickup offered for sale here on eBay is the perfect starting point for a terrific street rod project. After many years of storage in West Virginia, the eighty-year-old solid rolling chassis has been pulled from the barn into the sunlight and awaits new glory.

Ford was making big progress on their pickup line as the nation approached World War II. Pickup production began in 1925, but the major design and engineering changes accelerated in 1932 when, spurred by Chevy’s V6, Ford made their new V8 available. This 1939 model saw minor updates from the big changes that were made in 1938, including a completely new cab and bed, a large oval grille, and big curved fenders. This truck is a largely complete example, with its sheet metal in great shape, considering the truck is fast approaching a century in age.

One of the really cool features is the crank-out windshield, allowing flow-through ventilation into the cab. The seller states that the front windshield is crack-free and operates smoothly. The rear window is missing but is easily sourced.

The spartan interior is actually quite attractive in an art deco way. The four-spoke steering wheel is in good condition, missing only the center button, and will be easily refurbished. The optional heater still hangs under the dash, and gauges are complete. The clutch is situated to the left of the steering column, with the brakes and accelerator on the right along with the floor starter pedal. Bench seat upholstery is in good condition, though it’s hard to imagine it hasn’t been replaced over the many decades of use.

The seller states that the chassis rolls freely and the transmission is still in place, but there is no engine. That’s of little concern, however, as this pickup is the perfect candidate to become a street rod with a crate motor and new suspension. The engine bay is solid with little rust and is spacious enough for a modern small block. Turning this old-timer into a cruising classic will be a big undertaking, but every ingredient is there for a successful project.

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  1. NotSure

    I really love the styling on this truck! This was the first year for hydraulic brakes on Ford pickups IIRC. While I agree that this would make a good street rod, I also think that it might be better to take it back to its original configuration. There must be a few flathead V8 engines about to get one back in this truck. Good write up and nice truck!

  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Something this straight and true should be restored; too many of these got butchered and there just aren’t enough originals left. I would be tempted to install a later flathead with some go-faster goodies but that would be it. Some original brake drums with the wide bolt pattern to accommodate the original steel artillery wheels and you’re off to a good start. Now I’ll be the first to admit that they do dress up nice in resto-mod livery but they still dress up nice in original too. But here’s how rare they are. I take a lot of pics of cars and trucks; over 20K are in my archives, and I’m still counting. But this is the ONLY ’39 I’ve got and, it’s resto-modded. Yes, the owner did a great job but–.

  3. Old Car Guy

    I didn’t know that Chevrolet had a V6 in 1932. To think of what I have been missing all these years.

    Seriously, I like these pre war Ford pickups, I still kick myself for not buying in 1970 a ’39 Ford PU which in today’s terms would have been considered a resto-mod. It had a 389 tri-power, 4sp B&M hydro, Pontiac narrowed rear end with air shocks, bucket seats and tuck and roll interior, mag wheels and all bodywork done still in primer. The only thing it needed was paint. All for $300.00.

  4. John C.

    Wow! this old boy has the original hot water heater in it! I don’t know what they are worth nowadays but back in the 80’s that unit would bring $300.00 plus at the flea market. My first project at 15yo. was a 38 Ford pickup. All original drivetrain later model bed. Had fun learning as I worked on it.


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