1939 Ford Half Ton / Photos, All Details

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 ford half ton pickup

1939 Ford Half Ton

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.

1939 ford pickup photos

New grille first introduced for the 1938 model year

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.

You may also enjoy the additional Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below...

 

The 1935 Ford Half Ton

The 1949 GMC Series 100 Half Ton

1938 Ford Half Ton

late 1930's ford pickups

Design for the 1938 and 39 model years

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)

1937 Imperial Airflow / See This Vintage Beauty

The beautifully restored automobile featured in this article is a 1937 Imperial Airflow. Airflow models were built by Chrysler from 1934 to 1937. Airflow was the name Chrysler attached to their newly designed streamlined cars. The iconic Air Flows are probably the most Art Deco American cars built. More on this later.

1937 imperial

1937 IMPERIAL

The 1937 Imperial and Other Luxury Automobiles

Chrysler's Imperial model was obviously a luxury automobile during the Depression Era 1930's. Buyers were few in relation to the pre depression years. With that said, prices for luxury automobiles were lowered where they were closing in on the mid priced range models. Both Cadillac and Packard had been building lower priced models. Imperial in 1937 was still somewhat below the Cadillac and Packard standard and what was being offered with the Imperial at it's 1937 price tag was considered a bargain. Large automakers who also sold mid and economy priced vehicles could lower price and still stay in the game. On the other hand, the depression years certainly had their share of bankrupt independent luxury automakers such as Auburn, Pierce Arrow and others.

In 1937 the C-14 Imperial line offered six models. The highest priced model was the convertible with a new car price tag of about $1,395. A great big luxury car, superb in beauty and performance, amazingly priced in the thousand-dollar range was it's allure. If you had a bit over $1,000 during the Great depression you could own an out-and-out luxury car that was relatively economical to buy and drive.  It's said that only 325 of these convertibles were produced so when you see one you'll know it's very rare.

imperial airflow

1937 Imperial Airflow

1937 Chrysler Advertising

When you take a look back at an automakers advertising you'll get a good idea of what they thought was important at the time.

The entire 1937 Chrysler line, Imperial included, was touted that it's engineering and design efforts had the goal of making Chrysler automobiles the safest on the highway. So what were some of these safety features? Included were a toughened chassis, all steel body, hydraulic brakes that had equalized pressure, safety glass windshield, elevated dashboard to prevent knee injuries, a defroster and a recessed instrument panel.

Chrysler Airflow

The introduction of Chrysler's Airflow automobiles got off to a rather slow start. During the first model year, 1934, total sales for both Chrysler and Imperial Airflows totaled just over 11,000 vehicles. This was not a good figure and unfortunately sales for the Airflows declined in each of the next three years.

What exactly caused the Airflow to fail? Most feel that the stalled introductory during the 1934 model year didn't help and others say that the concept itself was too much too soon. Perhaps introduced before it's time. You also have to consider the fact that the Airflow came out during the middle of the Great Depression which certainly didn't help. Consider one other theory. Luxury car buyers at the time had this belief that a long hood with a large hood ornament (think Packard and Duesenberg) meant prestige. Others thought that plus spare tires mounted on the side of the vehicle meant prestige. If either of these can be a a barometer of luxury car prestige, the Imperial Airflow had neither.

Even though Chrysler's Airflow didn't prove to be a mid 1930's success, the Airflow did influence other auto designs which you may be familiar with. The 1936 Lincoln Zephyr is one example.

chrysler imperial airflow1937 Imperial Specifications

Engine for the 1937 C-14 Imperial was a 273 cubic inch L-head straight eight delivering a rated 110 HP. The engine was considered state of the art in it's design. Included were aluminum alloy pistons and forged manganese steel connecting rods. The engine and transmission were also mounted on rubber in what Chrysler called it's patented "Floating Power".

Transmission was a three speed manual Synchromesh.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic with cast iron drums.

Suspension was built for a very smooth ride. The 37 Imperial featured double acting Aero shocks all around the car. Also independent coil springs on the car's front and steel leaf springs on the rear.

The 37 Imperial's wheelbase was 121.0 inches and the car weighed a heavy 3,850 lbs.

You may enjoy the Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

The 1955 Imperial Specs and Photos

The Rare 1941 Cadillac Convertible

Where to Find Serial Numbers on Classic and Vintage Cars

The 1937 Imperial Collector Car

All 1930's Imperials are popular collector cars. Relatively speaking, not a great number were built during these years and the number of survivors is small.

imperial dashboard

37 Imperial dashboard

Condition, model, degree of restoration are all factors on current values. Convertibles usually are valued highest. One sale of a 37 Imperial Coupe Convertible garnered about $150,000. As of this writing e also see a 1937 Imperial Airflow, fully restored, priced at $45,000.

References for this article include the Imperial Car Club...Standard Catalog of Chrysler, 1914 -2000 by James T. Lenzke (Editor) and Ron Kowalke (Editor)...The Birth of Chrysler Corporation and It's Engineering Legacy, by Carl Breer.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

 

1935 Plymouth PJ Deluxe / Specs, Photos, Model Details

Plymouth was created to be a more affordable line of automobiles for Chrysler. Plymouth would compete directly against Ford and Chevrolet. Affordability was a good thing during the Great Depression years and is exemplified by our 1935 Plymouth PJ Deluxe featured in this article.

plymouth pj deluxe

1935 Plymouth PJ Deluxe

The New 1935 Plymouth

The 1935 Plymouth was built new from the ground up. The 1935 models were completely re-engineered from the 1934 models. An example of this was that the engine was positioned more forward over the front axles. The passenger compartment was moved  further toward the rear increasing legroom and giving better weight distribution. The same X-frame was used but was improved.

There were two types of Plymouth automobiles for 1935. These were both PJ models but one was designated Business and one was Deluxe. The Deluxe line included a four-door sedan, a two-door and a four-door Touring Sedan and a Rumble seat Coupe. These were all built on a 113" wheelbase chassis.

As far as design is concerned, the 35 Plymouths started to have some streamlined looks losing some of the boxy look of it's predecessors. The front fenders had a pontoon look and curved downward. The rear fenders also had a more rounded look. Briggs supplied the bodies as they had in previous years.

1935 also saw a major change in how air flowed into the back passenger area. This included heat as well. Plymouth designers put a passage under the front seat which allowed ventilated air to get back there as well as warm air put out by the car's heater. This was a welcome improvement to those knowing how cold it could get in the rear passenger area.

1935 plymouth pjPlymouth Deluxe Vs. Ford Deluxe

Plymouth had some significant advantages over competitor Ford. This was nothing totally unexpected since Ford had the reputation of being slow on innovation. Many attribute this to Henry Ford's desire to keep things the same as much as possible. During the 1930's both General Motors and Chrysler made good inroads with potential Ford buyers.

Plymouth offered hydraulic brakes and Ford only offered mechanical. Plymouth had a tubular front axle and Ford an I-Beam. Plymouth offered manifold heat control and Ford did not. These are only a few comparisons.

The Deluxe and Business lines could be told apart by trim differences as well as interior appointments. As an example, wood grain dashboard and the ivory horn button was absent on the Business models. Regarding the exterior, all Plymouth Deluxe models had chrome plated brass headlights and taillights, chrome windshield frame and stainless hood rings.The Business models had lighter front and rear springs, different front shocks and no sway bar like the Deluxe.

Same Engine With Improvements

Engine re-engineering also took place. The same six cylinder power plant from 1934 was used but there were major changes. The block was redesigned to allow for more fuller cooling of the pistons, especially the rear ones. In addition, there were changes to the outside engine dimensions which occurred only in 1935. This meant that the 35 engine couldn't be placed in earlier models without some modifications.

Plymouth's Increasing Sales

Since 1930 Plymouth rose to third place in sales. In 1935 Plymouth found itself as the biggest low-priced car with hydraulic brakes, all steel body, new better weight distribution and better fuel economy. Plymouth's production for 1935  grew to over 350,000 units. About 250,000 vehicles were Deluxe models.

1935 Plymouth PJ Deluxe Specifications

As mentioned above, the engine in the 1935 Plymouth was the same six cylinder as in 1933 and 1934 models except with some improvements. This was a 201 cubic inch straight six delivering 82 HP.

plymouth pjTransmission was a manual silent synchro type three speed.

The Plymouth Deluxe had four wheel hydraulic brakes and semi-elliptical leaf springs were used on front and rear suspension. Wheelbase was 113.0 inches.

Frame was a reinforced  X-Type.

See these additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

The Very Rare 1936 Cord 810 Cabriolet

See This Restored 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe

Classic and Vintage Car Serial Numbers

A Beauty of a 1937 Imperial Airflow

Reference material and excellent books on this subject include…American Auto Legends by Michael Furman and Tracy Powell….and Art of the Classic Car by Peter Harholdt and Peter Bodensteiner.

1935 Plymouth PJ Collector Cars

1935 plymouth pj deluxe sedan

35 Plymouth PJ dash

All automobiles from this period are great collector cars. The 1935 Plymouths are milestone vehicles in as much as they were redesigned from the ground up. Their smooth lines and fresh contours set them apart. The engines for this model year also received major modifications.

The 1935 series were the last of the letter series Plymouth cars that started with the model "Q" in 1928.The 1935 Plymouth PJ was advertised as the biggest low priced car on the market that used about 20 percent less fuel than it's competitors.

As of this writing, the top valuations from various price guides for the 1935 Plymouth PJ Deluxe range from about $16,000 to $23,000. The convertible models have the highest valuations, ranging from about $25,000 to $39,000. The highest prices are those in mint restored condition.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)