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Rumble Seat! 1939 Ford De Luxe Convertible

Ford’s De Luxe series arrived in 1938, expanding the selection of vehicles to suit buyers’ economic circumstances. Where once Henry offered mechanically identical Model As clothed in a multitude of body styles, now differentiation occurred under the skin too. The Lincoln K cradled its owners in high style and conferred bragging rights for its V12; the new Mercury was a well-equipped full-sized vehicle with plenty of power; then came the De Luxe and finally the base Standard. Designer Eugene Gregorie must have been a very busy guy. Little did he know he was creating an enduring design that collectors would appreciate eighty-odd years later, as evidenced by the frisky bidding on this 1939 De Luxe two-door convertible here on eBay. The price has reached $23,300, and the reserve was lifted just as I was clipping the last photos.

Subject to a home restoration several years ago, this Ford has been owned by one gentleman since 1983. He has since passed and it’s time for the car to find a new caretaker. While storage hasn’t been kind to its condition, the flathead V8 does turn over. The original 221 cu. in. was good for 85 hp and had improved torque thanks to Ford’s switch to a new carburetor; the factory gearbox is a three-speed floor-shift manual. Notably, 1939 was the year Henry Ford caved to competitive pressures, finally equipping his cars with hydraulic brakes. The seller has purchased a new wiring harness, radiator, and door lock – presumably, these needed replacing.

A layer of dust coats every surface, but wear seems minimal. The De Luxe model gave buyers a stylish steering wheel, locking glove box, two sun visors, two tail lights, and dual wipers, along with Gregorie’s signature grille, teardrop headlamps, and extra side trim. This was the last year of crank-out windshields and rumble seats. The seller notes that the convertible top is in good condition.

The floors appear new, and photos show the running boards and door bottoms are clean and rust-free. This car needs a thorough cleaning, and at least enough mechanical talent to make it run again. Comparable cars for sale are few and far between – most of the convertibles I found are the less graceful four-door versions. While this example – also a convertible coupe – is much finer, it’s also more expensive at $57k. Might be a little more in the bidding here, before the clock stops – what do you think?


  1. Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

    This is a very nice write up. I was honestly very saddened reading how one gentleman owned it since 83 and that Il thinking it was most likely him that restored it himself a long time ago. This was his pride and joy, and sadly now hes gone. This looks like a solid Ford from a beautiful era with Juice brakes too. Its got good bones, you can just tell. I really hope someone buys this and keeps it original . The Banjo steering wheel is one of my all time favorite wheels. And a rumble seat as well . It looks like it would be fun driving with the top down and a couple of friends in the rumble seat. ( Would that even be legal nowadays to ride back there?)

    Like 15
  2. Nelson C

    Fabulous styling. The rumble seat would be great for parade duty but may get you pulled over at any faster speed. “Rumble Seat” may be my favorite John Mellencamp song.

    Like 5
  3. Bellingham Fred

    Nice write up again, Michelle. The last year of the crank- out windshield, except for convertibles, and woodies. These models have the wipers at the bottom of the windshield. Easy to see why when you think about the motor, linkages etc. above the windshield when you put the top down. The profile of the woody roof probably wouldn’t leave enough room. As I write this it is still at $23k with just over an hour to go Unless there is a flurry of last minute bidding someone is getting a great deal.

    Like 7
  4. Blu

    Very good write up. Twenty minutes left on auction and at 23k which is very good price for this solid of car will be interesting to see actual price.

    Like 4
  5. Blu

    Just sold 23,300 great price.

    Like 12
  6. Harrison Reed

    I always loved the look of the ’38 Ford DeLuxe foor door sedan; but, what do I know? The ’39 standard carried-over the ’38 DeLuxe features, but was modified just enough to make the design far less attractive. The ’38 standard was a warmed-over ’37 — an entirely different body shell. The ’39 DeLuxe was a face-lift on the ’38 DeLuxe. And the ’40 Standard was a lot like the ’39 DeLuxe, but with the ’40 chevron-Style tail-lamps (usually, just one: a second one was optional on the standard). The new ’39 Mercury looked a lot lije tge Ford DeLuxe in front. I was young then, and held a keen attention toward the changes in automobiles from year to year. Since my father drove Packards, I took a particular interest in those. Nice car here for fans of this kind, and a nice price!

    Like 6
  7. Billy Beavers

    Ah, an old man’s dream car to ride the great grandson twins, in the rumble seat!! Thanks for posting.

    Like 3
  8. Harrison Pierce Reed III

    Billy Beaver: SMILE when you say, “old man”; I have teen-aged great-grandchildren!😊

    Like 3
  9. Bama

    Relisted. Buyer must have backed out, or was a shill bidder.

    There is the twin to this car about 45 miles from me. I talked to the elderly owner, his dad bought it new. He inherited it when his dad passed, said it was going to go to his grandson when he died. His has had one repaint back in the 1960’s, and the engine was rebuilt about the same time. I talked to him at length, trying to buy it, but he said it will stay in the family. It’s no trailer queen, he drives it quite a bit.

    Like 2

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