1939 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan review: cool classic car

1939 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan

About a clean pre-war classic, the handsome ‘39 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan can’t be ignored. With its reliable Flathead V8, tough 3-speed transmission and completely unaltered body, it was undoubtedly built to cruise and enjoy

1939 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan

With its wind-swept design and classic good looks, Ford’s DeLuxe series has always been a rare and highly desirable line of cars.

Not surprisingly, gearheads, customizers and 70 years’ worth of dedicated fans have elevated it to one of hot rodding’s greatest cultural icons. And this awesome Ford sedan, which began life as an authentic 1939 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan, has, with the help of a thorough frame-off restoration, been transformed into one smooth-driving show queen. The car’s build began with a complete tear down of its rock-solid fuselage. Once that fuselage’s sinuous panels were massaged to perfection, a glossy Burgundy basecoat was married to a thick clearcoat shell. And today, this sizzling classic is a national trophy winner that, despite being years out of restoration, still looks better than pretty much every car at any show its owner chooses to attend!


There really isn’t much you can do to make a late 30s Ford more attractive. The car’s streamlined styling was a home-run when originally introduced; and today, it’s a stunning example of some of the strongest elements of the highly regarded Art Deco movement. At the front of this razor-sharp sedan, a stainless-trimmed hood, which serves as the focal point of the car’s ornate façade, flows through a seamless, “V8” branded grille into a prominent, pointed chin. At the sides of that grille, sculpted fenders center pristine, chrome-trimmed headlights above a curved chrome bumper that’s complete with a blue accent stripe and small, chrome guards. Behind those fenders, small stainless wipers clear like-new glass that rides between correct chrome mirrors, a small, roof-mounted antenna and a tan canvas top. At the base of those wipers, streamlined stainless trim parallels simple chrome door handles, old school bear claws and traditional, covered running boards. And at the back of that trim, a vertically oriented trunk handle rides between a simple fuel filler, teardrop-shaped tail lights and a second chrome bumper that’s detailed with a matching blue stripe and two more guards.


As the company’s final Henry Ford-fueled innovation, the Ford V8 remains a durable, torque-rich powerplant that, thanks to solid engineering, has established an unmatched reputation in the classic and custom car community. And, in keeping with tradition, this stellar 1939 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan drop-top is powered by a correct 221 cubic inch flathead V8 that, thanks to relatively tame 6.12 to 1 compression, makes roughly 90 horsepower. The antique engine has undoubtedly been rebuilt, and probably looks much better today than when it growled off the assembly line. Aesthetically, the block, which perches a familiar oiled air cleaner and a rare 2-barrel Ford carburetor above correct, 24-stud heads, has been painted a traditionally dark hue. There are many accurate pieces like reproduction Ford hoses, a rebuilt 6-volt generator, and a “Ford” branded battery. Glossy black fenders, which are complete with an old school horn, frame all those pieces in a sea of trophy winning bliss. And overall, this sedan’s clean engine bay is a charming and 100% functional step back into a much simpler, and some would say much better, period in American automotive history.


Speaking of simpler times, take one look under this reliable Ford rag-top and you’ll see just how much the automotive world has changed when it comes to ride, handling and structural integrity. The car’s clean floors are finished in a predictable layer of Burgundy, while its heavy duty frame and factory-accurate suspension are veiled in a subdued coat of black. A correct 3-speed manual still lives behind the rock-solid engine, proving ‘simple is good’ by doing an excellent job of twisting an authentic, banjo-style rear end. In front of that transmission, a beam axle and transverse leaf spring remain just as they looked back in 1939. And the same holds true behind that transmission, where a second leaf and second solid axle help maintain ride height and perhaps add a little extra grip. Four wheel drum brakes, hydraulically actuated for the 1938 model year, are a welcome addition and a big performance upgrade on the road. There’s a painted, single-pipe exhaust system to give the flathead its unmistakable voice. And everything rides on a set of chromed, 16 inch artillery wheels that spin fresh 6.00-16 Ford whitewalls around blue-detailed, “V8” branded hub caps.


This sedan’s warm and welcoming interior looks straight out of pre-war America complete with simple fabrics, tasteful use of wood graining and awesome art deco gauges. The car’s cockpit centers on big, heavily bolstered seats that are supportive and feel soft enough to take a nap on. At the sides of those seats, simple door panels hang painted handles below wood window frames. At the bottom of those panels, traditional, round foot pedals front an old school shifter, a heavy duty driver’s mat and plush passenger carpets. Above those pedals, a stylish and simplistic dash hangs attractive stainless trim around unique Bakelite buttons. In front of the driver, a painted banjo steering wheel frames a “DeLuxe” branded steering column. And behind the cockpit, a fully restored trunk conceals a full-size spare tire beside enough room to haul a day’s worth of necessities.

1939 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan

Cool and classic, this 1939 Ford Deluxe Convertible Sedan is a vision in pre-war authenticity.

You really can’t ask for a more impressive blend of old school style and solid driving characteristics. And you certainly can’t build anything this nice for the time or money it takes to drive this car out of our Charlotte showroom. Ready to step up to something different? This awesome drop-top is ready to show and go