My 1939 Ford Standard Coupe Project

I found this car in a barn of old cars from northern Ohio in the Spring of 2001. After several trips to the barn to finalize my purchase, I brought it home in July, 2001. These web pages will tell the story of the car and the story of its restoration.  There are many close-up shots that I took in order to help remember how things go together.

1) The history of this car
2) The tear-down process
3) The rebuilding process 
4) The final touches


I will leave this link and these restoration pages online for the balance of 2008. If the new owner wishes to pass along any progress pictures, I will be glad to include them here.

The History of the Car

The car was originally purchased by Miss Elva Watts of Morral, Ohio in 1939 from the Ford dealer in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. She used the car until she died in the 1950's and left the car to her brother, Lester Watts, who sold it to his nephew, George Watts. George kept the car for about 3 years and sold it. The car may have passed through several hands in the 1960's, and was eventually purchased by a Mr. Bowman of Mansfield, Ohio. Bowman enjoyed buying old Fords at estate sales and other general sales. He kept the '39 Ford at his property, inside a farm building.

I heard about the Bowman collection of old cars in the spring of 2001, and made the trip from Cincinnati up to Mansfield with my brother. Bowman had passed away the year before, and his family was disposing of the many old vehicles from the collection. After enjoying crawling over and looking at the many cars in various states of neglect and ruin, I decided that I liked the little '39 Ford 60hp Standard Coupe. Practically all I could see initially was the grill poking out from under the many layers of old cardboard boxes, rugs, TV antennas, and other debris. In the tight confines of the barn I began to remove what I could, and managed to open the driver's door. Two things made an immediate impression on me. First, the odor was pretty foul....some critters had made a home inside at some point, even though the upholstery was very intact. Secondly, everything was there and I could stand on the running board and bounce on it without caving it down! It appeared to be a fairly rust-free car.

We settled on a price and I agreed to return two weeks later to pick up the car. I was excited that day as we pulled the car out of its hibernation and I winched it up onto the trailer. The good thing was that the old tires held air again, and that the brakes weren't locked up. Four hours later I pulled up in front of my home and with the help of my friends, we rolled her back into the garage, alongside my 1940 Ford Coupe.

In no time we noticed the smell in the garage that I'd noticed from the car. I opened all the windows and vacuumed out the years of dust and debris, but it still stank. I tried putting one of those ozone machines in the car for several days, but it hardly put a dent in the odor. Since I wasn't ready to start restoration of the car yet, I just left the windows open all through the winter to help air it out. It helped somewhat. In the fall of 2001 I pulled the engine and transmission out. The car came with the small 60hp V8 which was locked up pretty tight, and I hadn't planned on using it anyway, so these items were sold. There were some interesting old service station oil change records attached to one of the grill braces in the engine compartment. The last sticker on the car was the anti-freeze change by the local Sohio (later acquired by BP) station in 1969.

The car just sat until the spring of 2002 until I sold the '40 Coupe. With the sale of the other car, I now had the room to begin the process of taking the '39 Ford apart. Hopefully, you'll enjoy reading about this part of the restoration and understand what is happening when you see some of the many pictures I have taken. Click here to go to the Tear Down webpage for the rest of the story.







That is my skinny butt resting on the trailer

We washed some of the dust off before offloading the car


The Ford Flathead V8 Engine Website
If you linked to this site from another domain and you're interested in the early Ford V8 engines, be sure to check out the website
link above for loads of parts drawings, model identification pictures, engine specs, and more. It covers the V8 powered Fords from 1932 to 1953,
the years of the Flathead V8!