The year 1938 was when Ford Motor Company began two-tier styling. This was Standard and Deluxe. In 1938, the two stylings were totally separate from the other. This hadn't been the case from 1932 to 1937. Competition had been fierce during the 1930's and Ford was losing ground to Chevrolet during the latter part of the decade.
In 1938, the Ford Roadster was a thing of the past. In 1938 Ford introduced this "two-tier styling" for both it's 60-bhp 82A and 85-bhp 81A series.
The small 60 horsepower V-8 engine was available in only three body styles, the coupe, the four-door sedan and the two-door sedan. Three less models overall were offered by Ford in 1938 and the "rumble seat" was about ready to be discontinued.
While the Standard 1938 Ford models used slightly modified 1937 bodies, the Ford DeLuxes came through with an entirely different look.
Ford's Standard models were produced with 1937 front sheet metal and the DeLuxe models came out with new, updated front-end styling.
The 1938 Deluxe Fords also had dual windshield wipers, dash panels and window molding of walnut wood grain and a "banjo" steering wheel. The deluxe models also came with a factory in-dash clock.
One design change see n in 1938 was a heart-shaped grille on the Deluxe models. Both models came with V-8 engines. The late 1930's Fords are also some of the more popular vintage hot rod models around. To give you an idea of the popularity of the Ford V-8 engine, by May of 1938 Ford had produced it's 5 millionth V-8 model. Ford's V-8 was originally introduced in 1932 and as Ford's manufacturing operations were able to do many times before, the engine was economically built.
The 1938 Ford Deluxe Convertible Club Coupe shown in this article is another example of excellent restoration of a vintage automobile.
Interestingly enough, after the 1938 model year, the Ford Convertible Club Coupe was discontinued. Another interesting fact was the creation of the Mercury Division in 1938 to fill the gap between the basic Fords and the luxury Lincoln line.
Changes Came Late to the 1930 and 1938 Ford Models
We've mentioned in several of our Ford photo articles the fact that Henry Ford was late in making changes. Changes that his competitors were much quicker to make. The ending of the Roadster models is just one example. Plymouth ended Roadster production in 1932 and Chevrolet in 1935. It took Henry Ford until 1938 to do the same.
Ford was also behind it's competitors in offering hydraulic brakes and individual front suspension. The changes were finally made when it became apparent that sales were suffering as a result. The country's economy was still affected by the Great Depression and Henry Ford's unwillingness to keep up with the competition didn't help matters.
The leading advocate for change was Edsel Ford, the president of the Ford Motor Company and the son of the founder. Most believe that the late 1930 Fords would have had a more modern look had Edsel Ford had more of the final say.
1938 Ford Deluxe Convertible Club Coupe Specs
The 1938 Ford Club Coupe Convertible had a weight of about 2,720 pounds and a wheelbase of 112.0 inches. The wheelbase of an automobile is the distance between the centerline of the front and rear wheels.
About 6,100 were produced. Total 1938 Ford automobile production was 171,193 units. Total Deluxe Tudor Sedan Production was 101,647 units.
The price range for the car was between about $725 to $850 depending on options. This particular model sold at $800 new.
The engine on the car shown in this article is a 221 cid flat head V-8 with 85 horsepower.
A 1938 Ford Deluxe Convertible Club Coupe could attract an auction price in the neighborhood of $200,000+. A 1938 Ford Deluxe station wagon went for $209,000 at a 2012 auction.
(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)