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)

1935 Chevrolet Half Ton Truck


1935 Chevrolet Half Ton

1935 Chevrolet Half Ton

Chevrolet produced only passenger cars through 1917. The company introduced its first truck models in January of 1918 when they came out with two different four cylinder trucks. This was also the year that Chevrolet became a part of General Motors. Since that time Chevrolet has always been a top contender in the American truck market. Another important note is that Chevrolet did not build the finished pickup truck between 1918 and 1928. The company provided the buyer with only the chassis and cowl. A coach maker would be required to complete the truck body.Buyers would purchase and install aftermarket bodies during this era.

During the middle of the Great Depression, both Chevrolet and Ford battled it out in the passenger truck category. In the year 1935 there weren't a great many people able to buy a new car or truck. Just like during any severe financial downturn, people drove what they had for as long as they could. In many cases this lasted quite a long time.

Modified and restored 1935 Chevy Truck

Modified and restored 1935 Chevy Truck

Because of the discontinuance of civilian automobile manufacturing in 1942, many who managed to keep their cars and trucks running didn't buy new until after World War Two. Pickup trucks like the 1935 Chevy half Ton just kept being used for perhaps ten years or more.

1935 Chevy Truck Specs

The beautifully restored 1935 Chevy Half Ton Truck shown in this article is a great find. Chevrolet made news when it introduced the light truck industry's first overhead valve six cylinder engine in the year 1929. It should be noted that it didn't take main rival Ford Motor Company long to respond. Ford came out in The main Chevy truck engine from 1929 to 1954 was an Oldsmobile inline straight six. In 1955, Chevy added a small block eight cylinder.

1935 Chevrolet Truck

1935 Chevrolet Truck

The six cylinder engine on the vehicle shown has a 206.8 cubic inch displacement producing sixty horsepower. The truck's wheelbase was 112.0 inches. At new, this 1935 Chevy half Ton costs about $470. A relatively low price in 1935 and obviously a reflection of the nation's poor economy at the time.

Wood Cabs

In 1935 some of the truck cab was built with wood which of course deteriorates over time. Soon the wood was replaced with all metal. Restorers of these wood cab trucks either replace all wood with metal or find reproduction wood parts. In some cases the wood is such that it can be restored without replacing. Several companies today supply the reproduction wood. Some of these parts include window framing and roof supports.

Chevrolet total truck production was about 138,000 units. This was quite below both 1934 and 1936 production numbers. Out of the total number of trucks built by Chevrolet in 1935, a little over 50,000 were half ton pickups.

Following are links to two additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll find interesting. The Old Ford Trucks of the 1930's and the 1931 Chevy Coupe.

Also see our article on the Classic 1940 Chevy Half Ton.

1935 Chevy Truck interior

1935 Chevy Truck interior

Auto historians may remember that it was thought to be the 1935 Chevrolet Half Ton Truck chassis that ushered in the era of the SUV. This design in 1935 hardly compares to what many of us think an SUV to be. Regardless, this 1935 Chevy model actually had three rows of seats and could carry eight passengers. Chevrolet named the model the "Carryall". The term "SUV" denotes a sport utility vehicle and by all means this early 1930's SUV really pushed highlighted the feature of "utility" as opposed to what we today would describe "sport utility".

The 1936 model Chevy pickup trucks changed very little from the 1935 models. The engine did put out about another three horsepower. The 112.0 inch wheelbase was the same as with the 1935 model pickup.

Collectors Prices

Like with all vintage autos and trucks offered for auction, the condition and degree of restoration is the key factor. As of this writing, the 1935 Chevy Half Tons that have been auctioned recently have received bids from about $16,000 plus.

(Photos from author's collection)