The vehicle featured in this article is a fine looking restored 1939 Ford Half Ton Pickup.
The 1939 model year was a big one for the Ford Motor Company since it was the first year for the new Mercury nameplate which was a project pushed by Edsel Ford.
1939 was also an important year for Ford pickup trucks in as much as they sported the new design which was introduced in 1938. That same design was carried over to 1939.
This new design and styling that came out in 1938 really pushed the Ford Pickups into a more modern era. Ford Motor Company during the 30's was not known to make rapid changes and upgrades and the 38 truck line represented a major step in that direction since the last basic redesign was in 1935. 1938 was also the first year that Ford offered their cab-over (COE) trucks.
The 1938-39 Design
When you discuss the 39 Ford Pickup you need to look back one year to see the 1938 model with it's totally new cab. These trucks didn't look like anything that came before them. The front end had an oval barrel shaped grille. Some thought the new front end looked British. The new front end featured the industry's first front opening hood.
The cabs were larger as were the cargo beds that had not been changed since 1931. The dashboard was modernized and had recessed controls for safety. A major change in 1939 however was the addition of hydraulic brakes. This was something Ford had been dragging it's feet on for a long time. GM passed Ford by in this category and Plymouth actually offered hydraulic brakes back in 1928. What did not change to any great extent was the chassis which had a lot to do with Henry Ford thinking that anything more than a marginal change was unnecessary.
Optional equipment included a sliding rear window...a gas cap that locked...radio...dual windshield wipers and chrome bumpers.
This new truck design however lasted only two years for the 38 and 39 model years. Design changed for the 1940 model year where the half tons had a front end that more resembled the car line. The 1940 Ford Pickups also had improved mechanicals along with wider cabs.
1939 Ford Half Ton Specifications
Engine for this model is a 221 cubic inch V-8 L-Head delivering 85 horsepower.
Transmission is a three speed manual.
Hydraulic drum brakes were offered for the first time replacing Ford's mechanical braking system.
Dimensions for the 39 Ford Half Ton included a 112.0 inch wheelbase...weight averaged about 2,700 lbs.
Cargo bed was 77.7 inches in length and 46.0 inches wide.
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1939 Ford Half Ton Pickup Collector Trucks
There aren't many trucks out there from this era left to choose from. With that being said there are some fully restored beautiful looking models that don't come cheaply. As of this writing we've seen one show quality restoration offered at $67,000.
If you're fortunate enough to find a 38 or 39 Ford Pickup for a restoration project it appears there are ample sources for parts.
As of this date average sale prices for the 1939 Ford Half Tons range in the $12,000 to $30,000 range depending on condition and degree and date of restoration. This is of course for running vehicles. There may be offerings higher than that as mentioned above.
(Article and photos copyright 2016 Auto Museum Online)