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1939 Chevrolet

By Vern Parker

Ralph Langford finds it easy to recall his first car even though that car is long gone.  An exact duplicate now occupies space in his garage.

When military service beckoned that first Chevrolet was placed in storage with the thought of eventual restoration in mind.

Reality eventually set in and Langford realized the car was too far gone for an amateur restoration so he reluctantly sold the car.

Then along came the spring of 2004 when Langford saw an ad offering for sale a restored twin to his first car.  It was a top of the line 1939 two door Master DeLuxe Town Sedan that the seller said had been restored.

Langford was smitten by the Mars Gray Chevrolet and made arrangements to rent a trailer to go fetch the car which was in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Next came the trip home to northern Virginia that he would rather forget.

"When I left Indiana," he says, "the weather was beautiful."  Then he and his Chevrolet were buffeted by strong winds followed by rain and then snow.  Before arriving home he encountered hail and fog.  This sort of weather wasn't supposed to happen on the first day of April.

The trip home lasted 15 hours.  Despite the weather woes the Chevrolet on the open trailer arrived unscathed.

Rolling on 6.00x16-inch wide white sidewall tires the 2,875-pound car is supported on a 112.25-inch wheelbase.

A 216.5-cubic-inch in-line six cylinder engine develops 85 horsepower which is transferred to the rear drive wheels via a new for 1939 vacuum shift lever mounted adjacent to the steering column.

Several optional extras include:

* Heater..........................$10.95.

* Electric clock...................9.95.

* Wheel covers....................9.90.

* DeLuxe steering wheel... 9.90.

* Country horn.....................9.50.

* Visor....................................2.45.

* Passenger arm rest..........2.25.

* Radiator overflow tank....1.95.

Both front and rear bumpers came equipped with two bumper guards each.  For further protection a centrally located bumper guard was offered.  The cost for the front one was $2.50 while the rear one was $2.75.

The cost of any accessories was added to the $720 base price of the car.

Atop the nose of the 16-foot-long Chevrolet is a "high wing" ornament.  At the other end of the car are the taillights positioned in pods mounted high on the flanks of the car.

An optimistic 100 mile per hour speedometer is in the dashboard.  Langford reports that the car handles well and provides a comfortable ride thanks to the knee action suspension.

The bulletproof engine drinks from a 14 gallon gasoline tank and is kept lubricated by five quarts of oil, just like Langford's first 1939 Chevrolet so many years ago.

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