For obvious reasons, theyre called fat fendered Fords, the cars built from 1939 until the late 40s with rounded, full contours to their fenders, both front and rear. And they make some of the most memorable, fun to drive, and downright beautiful rods. This 1939 Ford cabriolet is no exception, and is one of the most beautiful, tastefully-executed hot rods weve ever featured; with reliable, well-sorted mechanicals and a host of creature comforts that make it daily driver reliable and comfortable.
Theres really not much you can do to make a 1939 Ford convertible more attractivethe styling was a home-run in the late 30s, and today theyre simply stunning executions of the art deco movement. With fine detailing, crisp contours, and excellent proportions, this is one car that the Ford stylists got exactly right. So when you build a rod like this one, the best thing to do is let the original curves and trim do the talking, and simply enhance whats already there. On this car, some of the trim was removed, the hood was nosed and shaved, and the rear end was smoothed, but overall, the vintage look has survived the transformation 100% intact. This is an all-steel car, with no fiberglass reproduction parts, which gives it a solid feeling on the road, and ensures long lasting durability no matter how far you drive it. The body was completely stripped and prepped before paint, the fenders were molded into the body, and the trunk lid was sealed to create a seamless rear end. Of course, overall panel gaps are better than Henry Fords workers ever managed, too. That iridescent blue paint glows, even under the harsh lights in the photo studio, and you can see from the reflections that there are very few flaws in the surfacehot rodders are famous for their concours-quality paintwork. The only notable and significant modification to the exterior is the 2-inch chopped convertible top and veed windscreen. Most guys take the easy way out and simply make a fiberglass lift-off top when they want to give their car the chopped look, but the folks who built this one went the extra mile and kept the folding mechanism 100% intact, as well as the side windows, then wrapped it in beautiful dark blue canvas. Not an easy feat and my hats off to them.
Chrome, as you can imagine, was refinished to show standards, and all the stainless was polished to a mirror shine. Up front, the original grille still stands guard in front of the radiator, and out back, those oh-so-cool taillights are actual 1939 Ford pieces augmented by traditional blue dots (theyre so cool, you often see them on all kinds of different rods). The license plate tucks up out of sight, and the glass is all new throughout the car.
Powering this gorgeous fat fendered rod is a simple, powerful, and reliable small block Chevy that has been dressed up for show. Theres nothing exotic about it, but on an early American hot rod, its awfully hard to beat the elegant simplicity of the timeless 350 Chevy. Topped by a four-barrel carburetor that uses a brilliant louvered air cleaner, it is powerful enough to move this steel convertible with real authority, yet still pulls down surprisingly decent fuel mileage on the open road. Traditional Chevy Orange covers the block and heads, providing a brilliant contrast to the dark blue paint around it, and anything that wasnt painted, was chrome plated. It rumbles through a throaty dual exhaust system that leaves no doubt that this car is pretty far removed from stock. A beefy radiator with an electric fan keeps it running cool on the open road or around your favorite cruising spot.
Like the engine, the chassis is made up of simple, reliable, rugged parts that have been detailed and polished to show standards. The transmission is a quick-shifting TH350 3-speed automatic driving an 8-inch Ford rear end thats geared for easy cruising. Up front, its an updated independent Mustang II type suspension from Fat Man Fabrications (Henry was using leaf springs and a rigid axle long after the rest of the industry went independent), while out back its a traditional leaf spring setup with a live axle. Power disc brakes up front handle the stopping chores. True dual exhaust handles the spent gasses and sounds healthy, while a new stainless gas tank and lines keep the engine fed. Painted 15-inch steel wheels wearing a set of original style FORD hubcaps and a set of 165R15 front and 235/75/15 rear Coker wide whitewall radials ideally complement the cars timeless look.
Inside, youll find a contemporary saddle leather interior that looks fresh out of a high-end luxury car. In fact, Id guess thats exactly where the 16-way power seats come from, especially considering the integral seat beltsa very nice feature in any hot rod. With a relaxed, plush look that only comes from gentle living; the seats are every bit as comfortable as they look. The rest of the interior was designed around these seats, with matching two-tone leather on the door panels and around the passenger compartment. The original dashboard was smoothed and filled, then stuffed full of great-looking Dolphin white-faced gauges with vintage-looking pointers very similar to what this V8 sported originally. The Olds Cutlass tilt steering column has been painted to match the body, and is topped by a gorgeous leather-wrapped banjo style wheel with a billet V8 horn button. In back, a leather-lined package tray has replaced the tiny rear seat, and features several trick compartments for access to things like the battery and amplifier for the stereo system.
All the docs come with this car too, so youll know exactly what went into the build. From installation instructions to operators manuals, there are no secrets to this car that you wont find answers to in the thick file of paperwork that comes with it.
If youre looking for a stylish car with room for true vacation trips and plenty of creature comforts, this 39 Ford might be the answer. Despite the beautifully executed modifications, this is still a car that can be best described as simple. Its the essence of self-control and restraint, wrapped in one of the most beautiful designs of the era. Then again, all of these traits can easily be blow aside with the slightest blip of the throttle. Just that quickly its transformed into flashing steel and spinning aluminum, which soaks up the road as quickly as it appears. An exceptionally nice car that is ready for many thousands of miles and years of fun. Call now!
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