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Projects An Exercise in Practicality - 1939 Ford Early Custom

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by RainierHooker, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 2,018

    from Tacoma, WA

    It's been a while in coming, so I figured I'd finally get around to posting my most recent automotive escapade...

    When my daily driver, a 1984 BMW, started showing its age and wear it became apparent that we needed another, practical, car in the stable to assume daily duties while that car is off the road for some major rehab. And in the end, I did what any prudent fellow looking for a family car would; I started looking for a nice late-30s sedan.

    The wife, kid, and I rolled down to the Sacramento Autorama last month, and with a wad of cash, and a list of cars to look at between Seattle and San Fransisco, we figured we'd probably be bringing something home. We did. And here it is...


    Pretty nice, pretty strait 1939 Ford Deluxe Tudor Sedan. Nothing crazy, it's about a 30 year old restoration, a little rough around the edges, but with a very recent 59A with some major work done to it:

    Bored and stroked to 286 cubes with new crank, rods and Pistons
    Schneider 270F cam
    New flywheel and pressure plate
    Block Letter Edelbrock heads
    And a big ol' lump of carburetion on top


    The guts are good, and the motor is strong, but the builder never could get it to idle right or run without loading up. Gee, I wonder why?

    Anyway, plans are to turn this car into a nice 1940s style custom while retaining daily drivability and use as the family truckster.


    Stay tuned to see how it went, and will continue to go...
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  2. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 2,018

    from Tacoma, WA

    Since we bought the car in the Bay Area, it was going to be a little while before the shipper could get it home (no, driving it back was not an option due to the aforementioned tuning issues and family and work constraints). That left plenty of time to gather parts for the first stage of its metamorphosis from quasi sleeper hot rod to early custom cruiser.

    Edelbrock Slingshot, and a generator...

    New Plug Wires...

    New Blackwall Rubber...

    Freshly painted Wide-Fives...


    And a set of Lyon wheelcovers pulled out of the rafters...

    I also got some skirts for the rear. Then, after about a week, the car finally showed up...

    It was barely off the trailer before I spent the morning giving the car its first bout of restyling:
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  3. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 2,018

    from Tacoma, WA

    The day after the car came off the transporter, I ended up having to leave for three weeks on a business trip to Pennsylvania. Yesterday was my first full day back, and without wasting time I dug into the old girl.

    I got about 90% done with the engine bay...

    Just gotta finish up wiring, linkage, and a few other bits and she's ready for tuning.

    That brings us up to date. Once the engine is done I'll be talking cosmetics. Altitude first, and then a shave.

    Stay tuned...
  4. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

  5. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,245


    very nice--good progress thus far
  6. 40fordtudor
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,503


    So what's not to like? Wow.
  7. dlandberg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2012
    Posts: 364

    from Sweden

    Beutiful car and a great motor! Best of luck!
  8. Can't complain about any of that...........
  9. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 1,061


    You have a great start there.
    Watching this one as well.
  10. T&A Flathead
    Joined: Apr 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,894

    T&A Flathead

    I have thought if doing the same thing. I think a 36-40 Tudor makes a perfect family truckster. Your plans are great.
  11. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,841

    from Idaho

    You haven't shown us the exhaust system ... I'd be happy to mail you 2 1947 pennies for the heat risers.
    Atwater Mike and Pinstriper40 like this.
  12. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 2,018

    from Tacoma, WA

    The exhaust is kinda cobbled together @302GMC Red's Headers at the motor feeding into a Smitty on one side and some 'other' brand glass pack in the other. Looks like Red's tail pipes, but with evidence of a few different sets of tips out back. Currently it is sporting a hideous set of giant chrome tips.

    I'll be going through it and probably putting in a matched pair of Porters and cleaning up the back end with chrome pencil tips.

    The heat risers are plugged.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  13. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 2,018

    from Tacoma, WA

    Here's a shot of the back end, with the offending, huge, exhaust tips:
    BigO, straykatkustoms and Stogy like this.
  14. frosty-49
    Joined: Oct 13, 2014
    Posts: 118


    I think they have the most graceful lines in the front of any Ford made. Just love the the headlights the way they blend in. COOL car
  15. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,473

    0NE BAD 51 MERC

    I can't believe I of all people would say this, but I like the wide whites better. other wise it is great! Do not mean to be critical, I am actually kind of white walled out myself, but just an observation. Larry
  16. any plans on body mods ? or Appleton Spots..How much is the ass coming down ? yep those exhaust tips are pretty offending for sure! very nice... thanks for sharing ! @RainierHooker
  17. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 2,018

    from Tacoma, WA

    The rear end will be coming down about 3" with the help of a posies 'low' spring that I have waiting to go in. The front will then be adjusted to get a proper reverse rake, it already has a reverse-eye main leaf.

    I'm kinda on the fence about spotlights. It'll probably come down to whether or not I can find a good pair of Appletons.

    Body mods are planned to be very simple. Not much more than a tasteful shave. I've been looking at every period picture of period custom sedans I can get and reading and re-reading my Dan Post Blue Books.

    I really like the trim treatment on this one:

    As for the blackwalls, I think they'll look much more at home once I get the altitude right. Here's what I've been looking at for inspiration (all photos credited to Kustomrama and Rikster's Custom Car Chronicle):





    Stogy and kidcampbell71 like this.
  18. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,590


    Good stuff, no GREAT stuff, you are doing it right.
    gwhite likes this.
  19. Lasalle ribbed bumpers... look good... the later Plymouth ribbed bumper look a bit bulky... looks like the hood molding was shortened in one picture... looking good ! 41 Stude taillights ???
  20. You are on the right track - most of the prewar customs were not overkill - but minimal in changes, enough to set them apart and give them a little more go to match the show.

    Are you running one of Vic Sr's original Slingshots? I have a very early Slingshot that I am planning on fitting later this spring. Currently running the original Hexagon twin carb intake - it's what was installed in early 47 and runs just fine - though those original Slingshots are just very special!

    Really dig your direction, my 41 hopup is just as it was in 41-47 when my Grandpa modded her up. These cars are simply great, a mix of elegance, hop up and boat loads of fun.

    Will be watching!
  21. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,309

    Model T1

    Nice car and like the way you are going with it. We've enjoyed our 41 for quite a few years. I'd never painted it yeller but it's been a fun driver.

    Also have a 39 Deluxe coupe that I drove years ago. Long story. It's just sitting and waiting. There aren't many cars I like more than a 39-40 Ford. Owned two other stock 39 Deluxe 4-doors.
    Still I can't see this car being your family daily driver in a big city. Good luck.
  22. Outback
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 1,179

    from NE Vic

    Love it, sub'd. been thinking along the same lines, playing with a 39std 4 door.... I know, it's what I've got.
    keep up the pics!
  23. I was looking for a 35-41 sedan when i came up on my shoebox. I love what you are doing with the car. but have to say i wish you would have went with white walls.other then that it's spot on what i wanted!great car man.
    cometman98006 likes this.
  24. Maladjusted
    Joined: Sep 9, 2010
    Posts: 56


    Outstanding car! I have driven by your house a couple of times hoping to catch you working on it.
  25. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 2,018

    from Tacoma, WA

    Thanks guys. I picked up a pair of flippers for the '39. Looks like I'll have a few options when it comes to rolling stock...


    As for the whitewall verses blackwall debate, I really think that the mid-40s look I'm going for says blackwalls and flippers. On the other hand, whitewalls and Lyons say late-40s or early-50s to me. In the end, I now have two options for covers, and two options for tires, as I still have whitewalls mounted on a set of wheels. Freedom of choice!

    I'll leave you with this pic of the car sporting the flippers before I send them off for chrome...
    gwhite, Outback and 41FordSuperDeluxe like this.
  26. I had about four sets of hub caps for my 49 Ford Coupe', when I got tired of the way the car looked, I swapped over to my Olds Flippers, to my 4 bar dodges caps, also had smooth set of Plymouth caps that looked's all about choices... and looks like you have two very nice go to options for that tail dragger... very nice
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  27. Wow, blown away by this...your plans for it are perfect.

    Great to see another period-perfect build coming together!
  28. 66gmc
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 580


    I think the blackwalls look fantastic on it, I look forward to seeing updates.
  29. The Brown Sound
    Joined: Dec 18, 2014
    Posts: 131

    The Brown Sound
    from Maryland

    Excited to see how this turns out! Looking great so far.
  30. ne'erdowell
    Joined: Nov 30, 2005
    Posts: 441


    This is great! I have a '41 Tudor and the plans are very similar. Have fun and please keep the updates coming.

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