Untouched For Decades: 1938 Ford Coupe

Looking worn but better than some neglected vehicles, this 1938 Ford Coupe “has not been running for many, many years,” according to the seller. Offered here on eBay from Lake Park, Minnesota, bidding has reached nearly $3000, but if you must own it, click “Buy It Now” and it’s yours for $7500.

Having been redesigned the prior year, the ’38 Fords carried on with few exterior changes. If you liked the patina of the first picture, that nicely sanded primer might break your heart. We can surmise that it signifies either the starting point of an overall body rehabilitation, or a cover-up of worse damage than the rest of the car. If you hate Minnesota rust to begin with, you were probably already crying.

Inside, the 1938 Ford received a new dash with recessed controls to improve safety. Many owners added police-style spotlights to their civilian cars as a handy accessory to aid in lighting a path between buildings and the car, illuminating locked garage doors, finding lost dogs, or determining what sort of animal is getting into your chicken coop.

This coupe got the smaller 136 cid flathead V8 that debuted in 1937.  It produced 60 HP and thus became known as the “V8-60.” The optional 221 cid V8 made 85 horsepower. (Some details courtesy of Wikipedia.) The seller of this car warns that its V8 is “stuck,” challenging the buyer to transform this unified mass of metal into a rotating and useful engine again. Moving parts never take well to sitting for decades; plan on replacing many components before taking this once-handsome coupe on a moonlight drive. Thanks to the popularity of 1930s Ford coupes, many parts are reproduced today. Given the bodywork already started, the buyer probably has complete restoration in mind. What destiny do you picture for this long-parked, V8 two-door, and how realistic is the Buy-It-Now price?

Fast Finds


  1. DrinkinGasoline

    To #e!! with the thoughts of Rat Rod Rustina ! It’s not patina…It’s plain old rust. When was the last time any of Us saw one of these ?? Pure restoration….anything short is blasphemy !

  2. DrinkinGasoline

    I’ve got half a mind to bid on it just so it’s not subjected to the Home Depot rattle can clear coat idiots.

    • Mountainwoodie

      Tell it like it is!

  3. Jay M

    Great find. And a pretty complete car, too.
    Mind you, I love all 37 & 38 cars and trucks.

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    Nice car for sure. I hope this gets restored and driven–not hot-rodded. Maybe drop in a V8-85 and take the V8-60 and clean it up to display in the living room; it wasn’t a very powerful motor by any stretch of the imagination. Henry Ford built it to help satisfy the demand for six cyl. engines from his dealers and customers. But he hated sixes so he came out with the 60 which had to cost as much to build as the 85.

    A ’38 Standard! It all but makes me weep. I had a ’38 std. 2 door slant back that I kept outside of town at a friend’s place. I went out one day to move it over by the shop so I could start working on it and there it WASN’T. I was sick. My friend was somewhat of a drinker and some guys from out of town came in, boozed him up and talked him out of it. I never forgave him, or the guys (whom I knew for years) who got it. If I could’ve charged them, I would have; but that would’ve also gotten my friend into trouble. I did keep the motor (V8-85) and transmission, the rad and several engine bay parts, which, I might add, those A-Ho’s tried to talk me out of later. I told them that they were in possession of stolen property and it better be returned the way it was. Trouble was, about that time, their landlord locked them out of the shop they were renting and took possession of everything inside to cover back rent. My beloved ’38, now butchered beyond recognition went somewhere down the west coast.

    • Mountainwoodie

      Unbelievable. That knife must still be sticking in your back! Lowlifes.


    My thought with I am to assume the advertising done is true period to the car. My guess knowing and having friends, old school families in the body shop business always had vehicles that were purchased wrecked and rebuilt. Their personal cars were all appeared as new current models and they changed them out often. They repaired them all themselves. They also built their trucks and wreckers. It is what they did.

    That being said this car may have been in a fender bender or two. The car does look straight and says a lot if it had been crashed.With the age and current deterioration it is hard to tell without taking it apart.

    The body men of yesterday were craftsman in their own right. You can’t unwreck a car but correctly work out the damage. The end of these true wizards of metal were fazed out once Bondo brand plastic filler came to market. Many still refer to plastic filler as Bondo.

    • Ray

      I agree with your comments about body shop owners and often employees rebuilding damaged vehicles. Both for personal use and resale. Really nothing wrong with in either case so long as the work was well done.

      And, as you remarked, many bodymen of yesteryear were excellent metal men, knowing how to work a panel to restore it’s shape, not just replacing parts. That said, to think they were ALL that way is not accurate. ‘Lead slingers’ were just as common as ‘bonds Billiys’ . It is not difficult to find thick lead filler on older cars.

  6. Vince H

    Headlight rims appear to be from a 40.

    • Lee Hartman

      Those were an aftermarket conversion to accept sealed beam headlights. Very common in the day, many were bought from J.C. Whitney.

  7. Peter S.R. Member

    ’38 Standard is so much more aesthetically pleasing than the more common “rat nose” Deluxe…

  8. fish56

    Looking at the all the bodywork services available at one time from the car’s owner, pretty amusing given the condition of the car.

  9. Jerry Brentnell

    what this thing needs is a engine transplant say a 51 mercury flathead with 3 stromburg 97s on top and chase down a lincon zepher transmission or chev s15 5 speed and shut up its there and build your self a 50s hot rod

  10. John

    Unless a person has a fat wallet, I smell a rat, :)

  11. Mark-A

    Anyone know what this actually means in the EBay Description?? “NEEDS ALLOT OF WORK” what is ALLOT anyway?? This is a major annoyance to me ESPECIALLY when almost all Electronic Devices have SPELL CHECK installed! If people can’t take the time to read through their Own ads why should I when they don’t?

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.