Solid Project Car: 1939 Ford DeLuxe Coupe

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Introduced in 1938 to fill a gap in the Ford offerings between the Standard and the offerings from Lincoln, the DeLuxe was a sales success for the company. Over the intervening years, the DeLuxe Coupe has become a firm favorite amongst street-rod enthusiasts, so finding an original and unmolested example is becoming increasingly difficult. This car is just such an example and has generated its share of interest since being listed for sale. Bidding has risen to $12,600, although the reserve hasn’t been met. Located in Livermore, California, you will find the Ford listed for sale here on eBay.

The owner believes that the Ford may wear its original paint, and while it isn’t perfect, it has certainly held up reasonably well over the past 80-years. There are a few spots where it has deteriorated, and the paint on the roof has started to peel quite noticeably from where the car spent an extended period stored under a tarp. Rust appears to be limited to an area near the spare tire, with no other rust visible. The owner also states that he believes that all of the external chrome and trim will come up well with a polish, and I tend to agree with him on that point. I’m also a bit perplexed about the glass in the car, as it has a really weird look to it. The owner does suggest that if he were to revive the car, that he would fit a new glass kit, which suggests that there is damage to the existing glass which can’t be fixed.

While things don’t look that flash under the hood, it may not be all bad news. The heads were removed many years ago to complete a valve job, but this was never completed. All of the parts that appear to be missing are still with the car, along with a good radiator. My greatest concern is the fact that there appears to be a lot of leaf litter sitting on the top of the engine, and it makes me wonder just how much of it has found its way further into the engine. I would probably be inclined to pull the engine and investigate this further to ensure that all is well when the engine is fired up.

The interior of the Ford is also believed to be original, and it does appear to be in quite nice condition. The headliner has a bit of a question mark hanging over it, especially around the rear window and rear pillars, but the rest of the trim would probably respond quite well to a good clean. One area that could probably do with restoration is the dash because while it appears to be complete, the finish has deteriorated quite markedly, as has the steering wheel. Having said that, these are areas that wouldn’t really need urgent attention and could be used as they are.

As I said at the start, finding an original 1939 Ford DeLuxe Coupe is becoming difficult, and that’s what this one appears to be. It needs a bit of work, but none of this appears to be major. Good examples today are fetching reasonable money, and prices can vary from around $22,000 for a nice one, up to around $36,000 for an immaculate example, but $50,000 is not out of the question. I don’t know what the reserve is on this one, but if it’s reasonable, then this DeLuxe Coupe has all of the makings of a great project car.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. JerryDeeWrench

    Wow once again a great find. Has all the makings of a great original driver. Good luck to the winner hope he Love’s it enough to do the right thing.

    Like 8
  2. RoughDiamond

    Just a perfect example to fuel our fires knowing that if “these” 80 year-old Fords are still out there then there are plenty of muscle cars left out there too. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to find, preserve and enjoy them. I’m in! Hope you’ll join me.

    Like 13
  3. geomechs geomechsMember

    A real good cleaning for sure. Pull that engine and go right through it, give it what it needs and put it back in. I’d be tempted to drive it as preserved for a spell. Not very often you find something in as nice a shape as this one. If anyone feels the need to built a hot-rod there is a complete body kit available from a couple of suppliers over here…

    Like 7
  4. bobhess bobhessMember

    This car and the ’38 Chevy are about as tough as cars get. Started a ’39 Chev two door out of a junk yard and was amazed at the overall condition of the body. Had a complete Olds running gear set to put into it but life got in the way.

    Like 3
    • PatrickM

      The ’41 Ford Super Deluxe is in the same class…Ooops…Class

      Like 1
  5. HoA Howard AMember

    I enjoy Adams writeups, however, perhaps due to his age or where’s he’s from, he missed an important point about this car. While it did have a big hot rod following, it was the #1 choice for moonshiners and rum runners, especially in the South, where booze was still illegal. The large trunk and V8 made it the ideal car. Some rum runners were pushing 300 hp when most cops had maybe 100, and with the 2 speed rear, not much could catch them. Some say NASCARs roots began with the rum runners. How something like this survived not being turned into a gasser, is amazing in itself.

    Like 10
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Very good point, Howard. A lot of NASCAR drivers made their debut running shine. There’s a pretty good tribute to the runners in America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, WA.

      Like 2
      • Fred W

        Last week, in Floyd Garrett’s Muscle car museum in Gatlinburg TN, I saw an identical ’39 Ford Coupe that was a ‘shine runner back in the day, but retired early to museum life with only 50,000 miles. All original and looked like a brand new car. Can’t find a picture of it, but did take a photo of the museum in general. Most every car is completely original and under 50K miles.

        Like 5
  6. Jack Quantrill

    Man, these Ford’s had good lines. Made Europeans jealous!

    Like 6
  7. IkeyHeyman

    I respect the fact that the buyer of a car has the right to do with it what he or she wishes. However, if somebody buys this particular car and rods it, I can only hope that the bluebird of happiness continually craps on it.

    Like 10
  8. Bob McK

    What a perfect find!! Thank you. This has become a great day.

    Like 0
  9. FOG

    Great price, great find! Agree with the overview of comments. Do all the mechanicals, and just drive it. You’re not racing it, just reliving it’s past.

    Like 4
  10. Gaspumpchas

    All good thoughts, guys. Freshen up the flatmotor , possibly some speed goodies, this mill is the good one with insert bearings. Good luck to the new owner!! This will be the Belle of the ball at shows and cruises!!!


    Like 4
  11. John

    WOW… What a gem! Factory black paint? Man they just don’t come much cooler than this!! I’d fix it first. Make it reliable & safe to enjoy as is. After I fell deeply in love with it I’d most likely start a “drive-able restoration”… By that I mean work an area at a time back to new condition, then move on to the next while never dis-mantling it so it doesn’t become un-driveable in the process. This car would be a dream come true!!!

    Like 4
  12. Bob S

    My first car was a 39 Standard, and I would just love to own this little beauty. I would redo the engine, put some period speed parts on it, and enjoy the car. I would sure like to know what the reserve is on the car.

    Like 2
  13. moosie moosie

    What a nice old Ford , I was almost the owner of one of these in my high school daze except that Dad didn’t want any junk laying around , I had to wait til I was 45 to buy one & that was a ’40 2 dr. Sedan Deluxe. The one here for sale has 1940 headlamp bezels, otherwise a neat old ’39 Ford deluxe coupe.

    Like 1
  14. Dennis M

    1940 headlamp doors were an easy method of converting to the new for 1940 sealed beam headlights. A major improvement.

    BTW, Ford started using the Deluxe name with the intro of the 60 HP V8 in 1937. Some models available only with the 85 HP V8 were described as Deluxe. But you are correct that the Deluxe designation only became a separate model in 1938.

    Like 2
    • David A

      I was just going to comment the car isn’t 100% original based on the swapped headlights.

      Like 0
  15. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Bid to $17,400

    But “Reserve Not Met”

    Like 1
  16. Tom Over

    Has this’39 Ford sold yet?

    Like 0

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