As with bikers, there are two schools of hot roddersthose who look at the machinery as art, and those who actually use the machinery as vehicles. This gorgeous 1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe seems to straddle the boundary between the two. Its beautifully built, but is fully sorted and has been driven quite a bit since it was completed. Once owned by NASCAR legend David Pearson, I suppose thats no surprise, and today its a great-looking and -driving cruiser that will be a hit at just about any show you attend.
If youre not familiar with David Pearson the man, you probably arent a true NASCAR fan. Pearson began his NASCAR career in 1960 and ended his first season by winning the 1960 NASCAR Rookie of the Year award. He won three championships (1966, 1968, and 1969) every year he ran the full schedule in NASCAR's Grand National Series (now Sprint Cup Series). NASCAR described his 1974 season as an indication of his "consistent greatness;" that season he finished third in the season points despite having competed in only 19 of 30 races. With little exaggeration, when Pearson showed up at a race track, he won. Pearson ended his career in 1986, and currently holds the second position on NASCAR's all-time win list with 105 victories; as well as achieving 113 pole positions. Pearson was successful in different venues of racing; he won three times on road courses, 48 times on superspeedways, 54 times on short tracks, and had 23 dirt track wins. He finished with at least one Top 10 finish in each of his 27 seasons.Pearson's career paralleled Richard Petty's, and together they accounted for 63 first/second place finishes.
So what we have here is an opportunity to purchase David Pearsons personal car, a Ford coupe that has a very personal connection. Early in his career, he raced a 1940 Ford coupe, and this car was built in tribute to that early racecar.
To answer your very first question about the car itself, yes, thats 100% original Henry steel in this one. No fiberglass reproduction body, no plastic fenders, just a straight, clean, honest car. In fact, there are very, very few body modifications anywhere on the car, simply because the original Ford designers nailed this one on the first try. Instead of radical sheet-metal surgery, the builders instead focused on getting the details perfected, which means high-quality metalwork, excellent gaps, and exact alignment of all the panels. This one fits together very, very well. And once it was straight, they went to work laying down a sophisticated, vintage-looking gray finish that could have been an original color. I bet youre surprised by how good a non-metallic gray car can look, arent you? I sure was. It is base/clearcoat paint, of course, so its deep a shiny (and will stay that way forever), but theres almost no metallic in it, giving it a very period-authentic look. Painting a hot rod a subtle color is always a gamble, tooit forces you to get the details right because there are no flashy graphics or colors to distract onlookers from the metalwork. This one comes together extremely well, and looks even better in person than it does in photos.
In the 1930s, chrome and other brightwork were how automakers defined themselves and they lavishly dressed up their designs with a lot of shiny jewelry. This 1939 Ford is no exception, and after decades of looking at de-chromed, monochromatic rods, Im so pleased to see chrome making a comeback. All of the original trim on this 39 was retained, from the V-shaped grille to the teardrop-shaped taillights, which, interestingly, are a popular installation on rods of all makes. The original bumpers feature a set of extremely rare accessory elephant ear bumper ends. The original headlights have been modified to include discreet parking and turn-signal bulbs inside the stock housing, and all the glass was new when the car was rebuilt.
In the power department, this car was built with the road in mind, not wowing show crowds when the hood was popped. Given that, its no surprise to find a small block Chevy topped by an Edelbrock 4-barrel under the hood. As I said, this car was built to be driven, and the engine bays almost workman-like appearance bears that out. I like that the money was spent making the car work correctly rather than on flash that doesnt do anything when youre behind the wheel. But all the basics are there, including power steering, a powerful alternator, and A/C, all situated inside a very easy-to-access engine bay. Theres some flash in the form of a billet aluminum air cleaner and matching valve covers, and chrome A/C compressor and alternator, but otherwise its just built to be reliable, powerful, and you wont think about it any more than you do the engine in your daily driveryoull just get in, turn the key, and itll start and run. Every Single. Time. I dont know about you, but Im the kind of guy who needs that kind of reliability in his hardware. Nice.
The chassis is like the engine compartmentwell designed, properly engineered, and nicely built, but showing signs of use, which only proves that this car is everything Ive told you. The transmission is a TH350 3-speed automatic, which is about as durable and reliable as you can get. Out back, theres a GM 10-bolt hanging on a triangulated 4-link system with coil-over shocks for a smooth ride. Up front there are tubular control arms with another set of coil-overs and a rack-and-pinion steering system that makes this car track and steer like a modern piece. The chassis itself is fully boxed with custom-made tubular crossmembers that make this coupe far stiffer and stronger than the original car, which means a smoother, quieter ride. And speaking of the original cars performance, youll be pleased to note that the original manual 4-wheel drum brakes have been replaced by powerful 4-wheel discs, including a set in back that look as big as some of the front brakes on lesser cars. Wheels are absolutely perfect-looking American Racing Salt Flat Special aluminum wheels wearing Z-rated 225/45/17 front and 245/45/17 rear Dayton radial tires.
Like the body, the interior looks not too removed from original. The seat is tan vinyl, but looks very vintage with its pleated cushions, and it may even use the original seat frame. The steering column and wheel are obviously modern billet pieces, but youll appreciate the tilt and the way the leather feels in your handsand you dont need a giant wheel to handle this car now that it has power steering. Settled into the very stock-looking dash are a set of digital gauges, although it appears that the original clock was retained in the glove box lid. That knob on top of the dash actually cranks the bottom of the windshield open, a great way to ventilate the interior and very effective in the pre-A/C days of the late 1930s. The shifter is from Lokar, and matches the billet brake and accelerator pedals. The door panels look very authentic, and feature original knobs and handles for the latch and window, along with the original woodgrained garnish moldings. The A/C controls have been hidden from view under the dash, and seat belts added in the name of safety. The positively massive trunk features an original style trunk mat and something you NEVER see in a roda spare tire. Like I said, the guys who built this rod knew it was going to hit the road and they thought of everything.
There are plenty of rods out there that are desirable because they border on artif you want one, check out our inventory because we have several. Then there are those that were never meant to sit still, cars that motor down the road without worries and with the same creature comforts we enjoy in our modern iron. The 1939 Ford shape is one of the most popular today for good reason, and doesnt need a lot of modifications to stand out. Trust me on this onethis stock-looking, gray 1939 Ford might be one of the most eye-catching cars around, and a little NASCAR history never hurts
. But the true beauty of this one is best appreciated from behind the wheel. Call now!
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