Once on its new, solid foundation, the metalwork could begin, the result of which you see before you. Of course it'll eventually be covered by paint, in this case a deep gloss black, and like John Mearns' coupe that preceded it. While it'll be a shame to cover that coachwork, paint will transform this ragtop to the next level. Let's hope we can catch it before it heads off to Bill's New York home!

Rod & Custom Feature Car
Bill Maio
Katonah, New York
1939 Ford DeLuxe Convertible

Though the '39 showed up at Jeb Scolman's still on its original frame, complete with a Mustang II front (from an actual Mustang!) welded in place, and an 8-inch rearend on parallel leaves, it now rests on a new Total Cost Involved chassis, with that company's aftermarket Mustang II-style IFS, manual rack-and-pinion, and 11-inch disc brakes. The 8-inch from the original build was retained, hung on a four-link of Scolman's design, and Pete & Jakes coilovers. A Corvette master cylinder actuates the stock Ford drums and those front discs.

As well as the rearend, the GM 350 H.O. crate motor and 700-R4 trans were retained from the 'vert's previous incarnation. A trio of Rochester 2Gs now feed the fuel through an Offenhauser Tri-power inlet, flanked by early Chevrolet script valve covers, while Nixon "spark arrestor" air cleaners provide some vintage flash. Stainless ram horn exhaust manifolds do their job while looking cool. One of Scolman's custom column shifters takes care of gear selection in the overdrive trans, which was deemed healthy enough to drop straight back in. This was a driving car before work commenced after all.

Wheels & Tires
Wheel Vintiques 16x4.50 steelies are used at each corner, with matching 5.50x16 Firestone bias-ply rubber. Original Hollywood Flipper hubcaps fill the area inside the whitewall up front, the rear wheels hidden by the custom-crafted skirts.

Body & Paint
Deep gloss black paint will eventually cover the convertible, though it'll receive a few more custom touches before that happens. For now, it's been decked, had the door handles shaved, flush skirts fabricated, '47 Ford bumpers added, the firewall filled, and some moldings eliminated. Now, '39 Zephyr taillights grace the rear fenders, the driver side one flipping up to reveal the gas filler. Scolman also chopped the top by 1 3/4 inches, retaining the working convertible top, and pancaking the roof bows at the same time for a leaner profile.

The cockpit could best be described as sparse right now, though it has received a '40 Ford dash and a new steering column by Scolman, complete with a custom shifter assembly and topped by a very cool '54 Hudson steering wheel. The bare skeleton of a Glide split bench seat is in place, with little to show that the interior will eventually be trimmed in black with white piping and a black roof. The hand-fabricated floorpan, by Scolman, neatly covers the rear four-link, while remaining low enough to allow a rear seat to be fitted, should Bill desire.