My 1939 Ford Standard Coupe - The Tear Down

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The work has begun! I've already removed the engine and transmission and sold those. I didn't want to use the anemic little 60hp V8, and I'd already located a '46-48 flathead (59A) that I plan to rebuild.

I've begun to take the wheels off too. The car is sitting up on four jackstands. You'll notice here and in later pictures that the car has a significant dent in its roof. Something fell on it while stored in the barn all those years.

I can see that the car was repainted some time over the original black. In some areas the newer paint is peeling off. Perhaps they didn't prep the old surface very well. The stainless trim is all there. The chrome is somewhat dull.

Parts are coming off....sometimes easily and sometimes not!  I'd have to say that I was pleased at how well many old bolts came undone. I used a lot of WD40 to help loosen the hardware. I only snapped of three or four bolts. Some body bolts have carriage bolt heads and I had to grind "slots" into the bolt head in order for a screwdriver to hold it while the nut was removed.

Safety glasses are a must when working underneath....lots of rust flakes and dirt fall down when you're banging away at old nuts and bolts.

It's amazing how much space a fender takes up in your garage! I'm quickly running out of all my needed SPACE. A couple pieces of sheet metal have to go down in the basement for now.

You can see what I saw.....the body and sheet metal were very straight (except the roof of course) and appear to be pretty rust free.

The bumpers were real straight, but the chrome is very cloudy. I tried a little chrome polish on a couple spots just for the heck of it. No good!  Oh well, I was figuring on rechroming anyway. All the trim is there, and it all looked good. Only one or two very slight dimples in the stainless anywhere on the car.

Check out the "wide five" bolt pattern on the wheels. Ford used this pattern from 1935 to 1939. No aftermarket wheels are available to fit this bolt pattern. You have to use adapters (if you want to keep the original brake drums) or change rear end and hubs to more modern styles.

Here's the door opening, and a shot of the interior before I took it all out. Door jambs looked straight and rust free. The doors closed nicely and didn't sag.....a common problem on well-used driver's doors.

It still smelled inside. I knew that taking the interior out would most likely remove the odor (it did!). As I tore the car down more, I began to realize that someone had "restored" the car some years ago. I'd guess that the work was done in the 1960's. Many of the rubber gaskets and seals were in too good shape to be over  sixty years old. Repaint jobs aren't unusual, but even the upholstery looked to be in better shape than it should have been.

Page 2 of the Tear-Down

The Story of My 1939 Ford