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Projects 1939 Ford Convertible Sedan Resurrection

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The 39 guy, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,549

    The 39 guy

    So after owning this car for 16 years I finally am ready to actually build it. After doing some initial work on it about 15 years ago it has has sat quietly at first in the shop and then stored in a car trailer while other projects took priority.
    I bought the car from an add in Hemmings magazine. It came from New York State.
    Hemmings Add copy.jpg
    I knew it was no cream puff when I bought it but the add proved to be pretty misleading to say it nicely. I paid a guy from the V8 club to go take a look at it and his report didn't scare me away. Most of the really bad stuff didn't show up until the body was sand blasted. That "never cut" comment I find to be really outrageous after looking at the previous body work that had been done on this body...
    Arrival 1.jpg
    I had it shipped out here to Washington State. Here it is coming off the trailer. The floor of the trailer was covered with rust.....
    Arrival 3.jpg

    Arrival 2.jpg
    First inspection
    I told the driver not to worry as I was expecting a rough car to be delivered. I must have been out of my mind! That's me the 39 Guy on the left almost 17 years younger than now.
    Front view.jpg
    Here it is when I first moved it to the shop many years ago.
    39 convertible Sedan Black_JPG.jpg
    Here is what I hope she looks like some day.


    I have a back log of pictures and stories to get us going on the build and will try to catch up with where we are now. This thread will be centered around the restoration of the body of this rare car. I collected parts for the build over the first 7 years and then stopped, realizing that if I did not finish the car the parts collected would go for for pennies on the dollar if I had to sell it unfinished. So now with the project underway the old VISA card is back in action. Back soon with more.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2024
  2. Like......and your go.........
    The 39 guy likes this.
  3. Looking forward to the build!
    I'm glad someone has had a project on the back burner longer than me! :rolleyes:
    Maybe I ought to start a thread. Probably would help with motivation.
    I completely understand and feel the same.
  4. Binkman
    Joined: Nov 4, 2017
    Posts: 392


    f102493328.jpeg Been there, done that. Mine came off of car carrier at 65 mph. Rolled a bunch of times, not an undamaged panel on the car including the frame. 18 months later it was back on the road.

  5. Love your project, looking forward to your progress.
  6. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 7,348

    Member Emeritus

    Have a customers Merc in the shop now. It is a treat to get to work on one.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  7. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,206


  8. After following your other 2 builds, I'm already "Watching" this one. Nice car, great builder.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  9. okiedokie
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 4,796

    from Ok

    I will be watching as usual.
  10. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 31,027


    Nice project, like the looks of the finished one that you using as a goal. Bob
    Hnstray likes this.
  11. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,549

    The 39 guy

    Thanks gentlemen ! I will try to keep it interesting and informative.
    Nailhead Jason and chryslerfan55 like this.
  12. It’s seems to me that the easy way out of this is to buy a clean four door on the cheap like 5k-7k ish and transfer as much as possible. The four door phaeton fetch a pretty penny and it would totally worth it.
    John Lee Williamson likes this.
  13. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,549

    The 39 guy

    Hi Abe lugo, I don't understand why so many people think that clean 4 door's need to die to bring another 39-40 with less doors back to life. I understand that coupes convertibles and 2 door sedans have more appeal but I have seen some very nice 4 doors restored and modified. I have actually passed up some really nice 4 doors just because I have owned and wanted to restore this 4 door sedan convertible.

    I recently asked a HAMBer that is building a coupe by way of cutting up a 4 door to take some measurements for of the rear doors of his ca rand he was nice enough to take the time to do that. I was hoping I could re purpose the door skins but my rear doors interestingly enough are longer than the the regular sedan rear doors. I am sure when he is done scavenging parts from his donor 4 door he will sell the left over parts to some other builder that can use them (Hey maybe even on a 4 door).

    As to the value of these Sedan Convertibles I have noticed several of them ( nice ones) go for less than 30 G over the past few years. There is a really nice one for sale right now that I could buy for much less than I will have invested in this one when finished. So why am I building it. It's a piece of history that has not seen the road in 60 years and I want to bring it back to life so that I and others can see, use and enjoy it over the next few decades. I enjoy the challenges and process of figuring out how to restore or replace and if possible improve each piece of the car. Sometimes I spend way too much time on a single piece of the car to get the results I want but that's fine with me.

    Having said all of that Abe I want you to know I am not really upset by your advice and will welcome other opinions and advice shared on this thread. I hope you follow along.
  14. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,549

    The 39 guy

    Side 1.jpg
    Amazingly enough the 39's door gaps were great as found. DSCN0706 R.jpg
    Unfortunately the floor of the car was wasted. This front section of the floor was covered by
    miscellaneous pieces of sheet metal and road signs.
    These were the rocker panels.
    Scan 1R.jpg
    After building a tube framework to support the body and maintain those door gaps to some degree.
    I loaded up the car and took it to a guy up the road for sand blasting.
    Scan 3.jpg
    The magnitude of the project is starting to sink in by now.
    Scan 2.jpg
    The rear of the car still looks pretty good before blasting.......
  15. Sam. I didn’t mean it in a bad way. Im sure you finished Or will finish up a nice car. And will follow. More than one way to finish a project, that is all.

  16. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 31,027


    Oh my, they all get worse before they get better. Hope you have this photo blown up to poster size for motivation. This will be a fun project to watch. Bob
  17. And I think that's the main reason a lot of us do what we do. For the love, and passion, of bringing an old car back to good life.
  18. i.rant
    Joined: Nov 23, 2009
    Posts: 4,371

    1. 1940 Ford

    Looking forward to follow along. Sam, your build threads are excellent and so much of what you do can be applied to anyone’s project.:)
  19. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,549

    The 39 guy

    Kind of seems a little crazy to be so focused on things like building cars during times like this but it keeps me somewhat sane and happy.

    Welcome aboard i.rant

    Sure do Bob I have several pictures form TRJ #29 of Bob Bojorquez's CS in a poster frame on the wall in my shop.
  20. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,549

    The 39 guy

    I think I will do an initial tour of the rear quarter of the car so you can see what was found after the car was sand blasted. To say the least it was pretty much a shock, bondo covered many sins here.. It's good we waited until now to try to save , as our skill and tools have improved somewhat over the last ten years. This will be picture heavy.
    A PO that started this restoration back in the 60's must have only had an acetylene torchand some ball peen hammers to work with.
    Brass is everywhere on this end of the car.Some of this bottom corner had some welding
    done to it.
    All of this brass will be cut out and replaced.We will have to remove the wood to make some
    of the repairs to the C pillar.
    This area was covered with seam sealer. Note the rust on the C pillar support. The rest of the
    body shows little signs of surface rust after 15 years of storage in the shop and trailer after sand blasting.
    Should be interesting getting this wood out.


    This side of the floor had been covered with screwed on steel sheet when I got the car.

    Fortunately this section will be replaced by a new wheel tub so we can cut most of this
    brass brazed patch out.

    The trunk seal flange is pretty much ruined. We will replace it with new metal as needed.

    This area is the drivers side C pillar and inner fender.It is full of little 2x3 patches of
    steel. on the bottom inner fender area and 1 x 2 patches around the upper fender rim.
    I think this will be our biggest challenge of the rear quarter.

    This is the bottom of the C pillar on the passenger side.
    I will continue the tour in my next post.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
    Crusty Chevy, b-bop, Squablow and 5 others like this.
  21. Weedburner 40
    Joined: Jan 26, 2006
    Posts: 966

    Weedburner 40

    That repair work looks like it was done by a high school metal shop teacher back in the 60's. It will be a challenge but, super gratifying as you get each repair completed. Following.
    chryslerfan55 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  22. Nice thing, is the shape is there and not missing, just brass-boogered up. Copy, and replace.
  23. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 31,027


    This is going to be good! Past HAMB builds that highlight sins of past owners have a way of turning out GREAT! Quality of a build comes down to the small details that many just skip over. Bob
  24. 40ragtopdown
    Joined: Jan 13, 2015
    Posts: 26,824


    Looks like a great project. Looking forward to watching it come together.
  25. The difference between the guy who started restoring your body and the one that started mine is mine had not as much brazing, but a lot of tar paper covered in pink filler. It's like forensic archaeology.
  26. One of those "it's got to get worse before it gets better" situations.
    Thanks for posting, no doubt in your skills going forward on this great project.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  27. Yowza; tripped over this thread whilst looking for another one. Good to see you back on
    new project; really enjoyed the thread on your coupe a while back.

    It's unfortunate that so many of these rare/deluxe body styles were cobbled up by amateurs,
    back in the day, but back then they were Almost "a dime a dozen" too. And let's face it, we
    were all a little guilty, still in high school, practicing new skills on our first dream car.

    Anyhoo, looks as though the stars have finally aligned, and you now have the confidence in
    your skill level today to tackle this bigger challenge.

    Good luck with the project; let's make it a point to meet at the East/West Challenge, with our
    long term projects, in the near future.
  28. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,549

    The 39 guy

    Could be Weedburner, I guess it is a good thing that the PO even tried to fix the car back then. It takes an optimistic person with a lot of patience and vision to see this type of rust damaged vehicle through to a finished car.

    Yes Algoma 56, at least we have something to use a reference for the new parts.

    Details ,details,yep that's what it's all about.... We have spent a lot of time scratching our heads over the details the last couple of weeks. It is so easy to make a critical mistake on body shape and alignment during the early this phase of the project, and t may not reveal itself until you are deep into the final body work and fitment much later.

    Welcome aboard 40ragtopdown hope you enjoy the build.

    X38, Not only is it interesting to see what the previous owner did to the car but discovering how the various parts were assembled at the factory can be quite interesting.

    yep we have found a bunch of worse before it gets better things already.

    Well we have had enough tour for now. We got off on some other projects for a couple of weeks and then started working on the Tub again.

    We stood the quarter up on its C pillar and cut the tool box out.
    The original tool box had been replaced with some miscellaneous sheet metal although it would have worked it was way too rough and covered with bondo and tar.

    All we gotta do is copy this thing.......well and make it better. As far as I know no one makes a toolbox for the sedans. So I decided to make one. Like I said the shape of this box was good

    I think the previous builder wanted this thing water tight considering all of the tar applied.

    Soi I drew up a plan .
    I had some 16 gauge steel on hand and decided to make the box from that. I think that was little to heavy
    for this project but it will work.

    Left this flange a little long and trimmed it later. This as far as I have gone on this part for now. I left every dimension a little long for now and just tacked it together in case I have to take it apart to fit it in the car.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2024
  29. patsurf
    Joined: Jan 18, 2018
    Posts: 1,063


    you're making 16 act like 18!!-nice and crisp..

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