This ClassicCars.com Marketplace featured listing is a 1939 De Luxe Ford for sale in Aviston, Illinois. This is begging the question, when is a Ford not a Ford?
America in the late thirties was nearly a decade past the devastating stock market crash and economic tailspin of 1929. The peak global unemployment hit 24.9% in 1933, and the global GDP was off 26.7%. But, by the end of the 30s the public was getting back to the business of spending money. Car companies looking to cash in on the public’s desire for more upscale products began marketing efforts geared towards that end.
General Motors had different brands that offered each consumer at every rung of the financial ladder something that they could grab ahold of. Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Chevrolet at the time were targeting those with varying levels of disposable income. Just like today, Chevrolet was selling the entry level products and Cadillac was the most aspirational brand. Not too dissimilar, over at Chrysler the brands were Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, and Plymouth.
Ford was doing the very same thing with Lincoln, Lincoln-Zephyr, Mercury, and Ford. Lincolns would have been the most expensive line produced by Ford, while the Fords were the entry level, comparable to Chevrolet. But, Ford wanted to expand its reach with a new brand that was between a Ford and Lincoln that would address the growing consumer desire for upscale products. This spawned the brand known as De Luxe.
Both prior and after the demise of this stand-alone brand, Ford used the Deluxe name as a superior trim level. But, from 1937-1940 the De Luxe Ford was its own sub-brand.
What made this model cool was a greater emphasis on styling. In fact, as each model year changed, the styling elements were handed down to the standard Ford model line-up, like an older sibling handing down clothes that they’ve outgrown. Thereby, the 1939 De Luxe had a different front grill from the 1938 model. However, by 1940 Ford had outgrown the De Luxe brand, and Mercury was filling the needs of the very same consumers. It was a redundant brand and only duplicating marketing and other expenses.
But, the models from the late thirties are reminders of that time. This 1939 De Luxe has been restored and modified to offer a slightly more modern interpretation of the car. This has taken home several awards at NHRA Shows. The exterior is in keeping with the original model. The paint and chrome sparkle, highlighting the pleasing body design.
New leather, front power seats replace the worn fabric seats. Matching leather covers the rest of the other interior parts, providing a pleasing user experience. Overall, most of the interior has been updated to retain the essence of the 1939 De Luxe. However, a few considerations were made for usability. Perhaps one of the most important features of this De Luxe is air conditioning, which can be a deal-breaker for some.
Originally, a 221 cubic-inch motor with a one-barrel carburetor was fit into the 1939 De Luxe, and that only managed 85-horsepower. Although that might have been fine and good in ’39, that is insufficient for many living in this century. This green machine doesn’t disappoint. Under the hood of this 179.5” coupe is a 350 V8, coupled to an automatic transmission. This also touts a 600 CFM Edelbrock carburetor, a polished aluminum manifold, power steering and brakes, and more.
To view the listing on ClassicCars.com, click here.