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FOR SALE: 1939 Ford Convertible

by Dave on September 11, 2017


“Too nice to cut up…” It’s that timeworn observation you often hear about an old car, just before someone takes a hacksaw to its roof. In the case of Mark Kaplan’s ’39, you’re gonna want to pay attention.

In 1939, this convertible was purchased new by a family in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose. It was seldom driven, always garaged, and pampered with meticulous care. When the Columbia two-speed rear end stuck in high, the car saw even less road time and, in 1973, the family decided to put it up for sale.

Ron Dunn, a local BCRA vintage roadster racer, car collector and in the 1970’s and 80’s the proprietor of Santa Clara’s Vintage Ford Parts, heard the car was available and jumped on it. He drove it on occasional V8 tours and often parked it in front of his store as a rolling billboard. When he sold Vintage Ford the car went into his personal collection. In 2016 Ron decided to thin his herd and the convertible once again went up for sale — for only the second time in 77 years.

Our friend Marc jumped on it.

With only 61,650 miles on the clock the car is in incredible condition. The deep black paint appears original and, while there’s minor crazing on the front passenger fender and a small spot in back, Marc has brought it back to its original showroom luster. The body has never been damaged. It’s arrow straight and the doors and rumble seat lid close like a vault. With the exception of a small dent on the driver’s door handle, all the trim and brightwork is also in excellent original condition.

The top and interior are also original. The leather is still supple and the seats, door panels, and interior hardware show little wear considering their age. The top has all its hardware and, while original, has been re-dyed at some point in its life. The clock and radio both work, but the heater has been removed and lost to time. It even has the original Hurd ignition key, which also fits all the locks around the car. ’39 devotees will notice that, after buying the car, the original owner painted the dash, chrome plated the window garnish and door caps, and installed tinted glass – all subtle custom touches in his day. The car also sports dual exhaust and a reversed-eye front spring to improve its stance. A set of fender skirts was purchased back in the day and painted to match the car, they’re included in the sale.

In the early 1990’s Mr. Dunn contacted one of the Bay Area’s preeminent flathead builders, Furtado’s Machine Shop, and had them put together a 100 horse 1947-spec 59AB motor for the car. With roughly 3000 miles on it, it runs smoothly and with authority, with no drips or leaks.

Marc has gone through the car from top to undercarriage. He’s installed new brake linings, wheel cylinders and hoses, new Bob Drake water pumps, NOS brass thermostats, and a new dual-core original-style radiator. He’s installed new control cables on the Columbia overdrive and has it in perfect working order. Tires are also brand new: Firestone 6.00-16 whitewalls all the way around.

1939 was a big year for Ford. Considered by many to be one of the company’s most handsome designs, ‘39 was the last year of the two-seat convertibles, the last year of the floor shift, and the last year of the rumble seat. Solid, rattle free, and with no mechanical issues, this example is both gorgeous and an absolute pleasure to drive. It needs nothing except a new owner.

Asking $65K or best offer   Call Marc Kaplan at 831-234-5010









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