It’s my personal opinion that the 1939 Ford Deluxe—specifically the Tudor two-door sedan body style—is one of the best designs to ever roll out of Dearborn. The pontoon fenders, fastback body, grille that looks like the bow crest of a Blue Riband liner, and even those industrial-looking wide-five wheels are all highly evocative of that moment just before World War II when a lot of 1930s trends reached their zenith. The style came back after the war, sure, but by then they were just placeholders for the futuristic designs everyone knew were on the horizon.
This 1939 Ford Deluxe listed for sale on Hemmings.com, nicknamed Ruby by its current owner, retains its original 85-hp, 221-cu.in. flathead V-8; floor-shift three-speed gearbox; and “banjo” rear. It also features a lot of subtle updates to make operation feel safer on modern roads, or as the ad puts it, to make “an excellent ‘driver’” and a “dependable, beautiful car that you can drive and not just show.” In fact, it’s said to be “recently driven on a 1,000-mile trip.”
The hidden updates, or as we sometimes call “road ready” changes to classic cars, include radial tires that look like stock bias plies; a repaint of the original Garnet Maroon color with two-stage paint; a six-volt alternator and a 12-volt inverter to feed a power port for things like GPS and phone charger; tubular shock absorbers in place of the lever-arm Houdaille units; a rear anti-sway bar; dual exhaust with glasspacks (a great sound for a flathead, it’s worth noting); an electric fuel pump “for back up” controlled by a dashboard switch; LED turn signals and emergency flashers; a manually controlled electric fan on the radiator; sealed-beam headlamps; and a fresh overhaul of the hydraulic brakes (1939 was Ford’s first year for them).