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Stevezilla

Value of a 1939 Chevy

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Hello, I am new to this forum and really quite new to the classic car world but I've been looking at a 1939 Chevy 4 door sedan with 60-61 thousand miles on it. It's had 3 owners total and almost all the parts on it are original including the tires. The engine itself will crank but it needs to be re-timed. The interior is in great shape. Some rust from age and the outside does have quite a few smaller rust spots as well. There are some minor dents to the body but no considerable damage. As of two years ago it was street drive-able but the owner is older and hasn't had it our of the garage since then. I dug around online for how much I should about buying it for but did not have a lot of luck. Is there anyone here who could give me a rough ballpark range I should about purchasing this for? I do have some pictures but I need to resize them down a bit and remove plate information before uploading them.

Thanks for your time,

-Steve

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Post some photos. Not running? Maybe less than $10,000. Depends on the over all condition.

Go to a place that has magazines for sale and get a copy of "Old Cars Report Price Guide." Gives an okay ball park figure.

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I'm a little unsure about how the image up loader works in this site but here we are. The one window with tape does have all the parts needed to seal it but he just does not have the arm strength anymore to finish it.

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ahh, this brings back memories. Had a '39 sedan that I sold back in '91 or so. IMHO, the best front end for Chevy in that decade. A good friend still owns the '39 two door sedan he restored in the 70s!!

That said, sedans - 4 door especially do not carry big values. I know of a pretty decent driver quality 4-door sedan in NYS that has been for sale off and on for around $9K that is up, running, and in good all aoround shape. Personally I would value this car between $3 - 5K as it sits - if it is solid. Closer to the $3K if it is not a smooth running car. Still, a pretty cool car for not a lot of $$ - not sure what's up under the hood, could be a replacement engine in there, the originals were grey & the Chevy 6 had babbitt bearings until the early 50s - they are not great highway speed distance cars for that reason. Not super critical - in fact, if you can date the engine and confirm that it has insert bearings, you might be ahead of the game.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)

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Can you get more photos of body and some of interior? First glance, I would offer about $3500. Having been in storage and not running it may cost quiet a bit to get it roadworthy. From what you have said it needs new tires because old tires are dangerous. Brakes should be rebuilt, you sure want to be able to stop if you get it rolling. If it was running 2 years ago, with fresh gas and good spark it should run or make attempt to start. So, it may be more that just setting the timing. Don't gloss over rust. Some surface rust like on the dingie on the rear fender can be cleaned up and primed and painted. But spots of rust that have penetrated the metal is cancer and has to be cut out and new metal welded in to stop the spread. Check nooks and crannies where dirt and moisture can collect for rust. Check the under side for rust and also damage to the frame and suspension. Lift the carpet or floor mats and check floors for rust through. Also check trunk floor and spare tire well for rust through. I think the battery on this car is under the floor on the passenger side just in front of the seat. Take off the cover and check the battery box. Because of being exposed to the road dirt and water and corrosion from the battery the box may be toast. Check battery cables to be sure they are in good condition. Are they the proper size, not 12 volt cables? Red cable to starter in picture looks too small to me. Pictures don't show an air cleaner. You will need an air cleaner for the proper air flow through the carb and most important to keep dust out of the engine.

Edited by Bob Call (see edit history)

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If in running condition I'd say $3K-$6K tops for this kind of vehicle in the condition it's in. $6000 if you really want it but even then you would be reaching. As mentioned, the 4 door sedans are not very sought after.

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Yes, engine color indicates it might be a 235. Looking at the rocker arm cover I'm thinking it's a 216 that has been painted 235 blue. If you can get the casting numbers off the block and the engine number stamped on the block near the distributor and post them here some Chevy guy can interpret them.

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I am looking at a good driver in Detroit and he is asking $4900. No rust on top or under but needs paint but runs like a top. I know I can get it for 4000. I would hesitate to go beyond 2500 on yours. Wayne

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Here are a few more pictures. Interior pictures as well as some more motor pictures looking a little further into the compartment and one from the back. I appreciate all the information and advice so far. I will get a hold of the model numbers soon.

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Here, in SoCal, that car is worth pretty big bucks, the Bomba lowrider guys consider the 39 Chevy four door to be the Holy Grail

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When and if you finally acquire this vehicle, and you're trying to get it to run, the first thing I would do is replace those high resistance spark plug wires with the correct low resistance type that were original to the car in 1939. Those fancy yellow wires work great on a modern engine with an HEI system but not on that old Chevy. I agree with Wayne, $2K-$2.5K on the price.

Edited by Larry W (see edit history)

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I would agree. 2500-3500. Needs paint and chrome looks rusty. Those 2 things will price you past a nice running local show car before you correct them.

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Here, in SoCal, that car is worth pretty big bucks, the Bomba lowrider guys consider the 39 Chevy four door to be the Holy Grail

I agree, the Master Deluxe is holiest of all, but the 39 is a huge low rider car. Maybe it's me but I would say $3,500 to $5,500 is a fair price, everything is pretty much there to put it on the road (which will take every bit of 3K after tires and brakes and whatever else)

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Original tires with 60-61K miles? Very unlikely. They often wore out in 15-18 K miles in those days, and they would be 76 years old. What brand? Originals on Chevys in '41 and possibly in '39 too were Goodrich Silvertowns. I would be on guard that there may be other "original" parts that aren't what someone thought they were.

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Here are some pictures of requested information. The first is the general car model numbers. Second is the engine stamp. Third is the battery compartment.

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If you buy this car the first thing to replace is the battery cables with the correct gauge (1 or 0 gauge) rather than the cables for a 12 volt system that are on it now. These cables will cause slow or no cranking in hot conditions. The correct size cables should be about as thick as your thumb.

Edited by 61polara (see edit history)

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That's not an engine stamp. It's a casting number. Two different things.

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Looks like the actual engine number is stamped on the machined pad next to the distributor - just visible in the picture of the block casting code.

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That 888941 looks like a low enough number to be a 216 casting number from the 30's early 40's. If it was a 235 I'm pretty sure the casting number would be a 3000000 number as GM part numbers grew with age and the late 40's ushered in the larger 3000000 numbers Gm used through the early 70's. The zeros of course would be actual numbers not just zeros. probably the second digit would be a 6.

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The 235 does not have the full side cover like this has, and the only 235's with the stud valve covers were the early Powerglide cars. It looks like the original engine, not many people replaced a 216 with a 216

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Original engine or not is not going to make a dime of difference in the value. Actually the 235 would have been a nice upgrade. It could have been replaced but I don't even think there is a way to tell if that engine came in that car originally there are no Matching numbers in those years that I know of. Maybe a date code or series would be in the stamped number but not the cars vin.

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To my knowledge the only thing you'll get off the engine is the year and general application (car, truck, commercial truck). At least that's what I've found for my 37 216

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Original engine or not is not going to make a dime of difference in the value. Actually the 235 would have been a nice upgrade. It could have been replaced but I don't even think there is a way to tell if that engine came in that car originally there are no Matching numbers in those years that I know of. Maybe a date code or series would be in the stamped number but not the cars vin.

Correct just a date code, and there is no application bcause they were all the same.

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Block casting number 838941 is correct for a 1939 Chevrolet. The head casting should be 838773.

This block casting was for 1939 only, but the head was used for several years.

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As Mustang58 said, these cars are very popular with the Chicanos, et al, and for good reason. They are very attractive with the wide outside sun visor and a few options, of which there were very many. I do not see any on your car; probably a standard and they also had a deluxe model, but I do not recall what they called them -- fleetmaster comes to mind. I know something of what I speak. I sold for $2800 a 4 door deluxe, in no where near as nice of condition as the one you pictured) version very quickly on ebay. This was about 10 years ago. I should add that, as far as I could tell (I drove the car under tow), these were remarkably good cars, solid, good suspension, etc.

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