1939 Chevy Business Coupe Street Rod

1939 Chevrolet Master 85 for sale in Wellsville, New York, United States

Item location: Wellsville, New York, United States
Make: Chevrolet
Model: Master 85
Type: Business Coupe
Year: 1939
Mileage: 540
Color: Champagne/ Brown Sugar
Engine size: '54 235 cu-in straight-6
Number of cylinders: 6
Power options: Power Disk brakes
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: T5 5-speed with overdrive
Drive type: RWD
Interior color: Camel
Vehicle Title: Clean
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Description for Chevrolet Master 85 1939

1939 Chevrolet Master 85 Business Coupe

A nearly rust-free California car that was driven to NY in 1973 when we bought it. It had a '54 235 cu.in. straight-6 engine installed at that time. Just finished a complete frame-off restoration with everything rebuilt or replaced.

A hot-rod needs a good engine. This engine was professionally rebuilt - re-bored .60 over; crank turned; line bored; decked; balanced; mild cam; competition valve job; Fenton ceramic coated, cast iron, dual exhaust; Fenton dual carb aluminum intake manifold; rebuilt Rochester carbs; Pertronics solid state ignition; Wayne cast aluminum valve and side covers; and much more. Custom dual exhaust and stainless steel mufflers end with the double-barreled shotgun stainless tips. It is beautiful.

The body was straight and rust-free with the following exceptions. The rear apron under the rear deck lid was thin in spots and had many pinholes, so a new section was welded in retaining the original U-channel that was in perfect condition. Additionally, there were a few small cracks and pinholes in the rolled lip on several of the fenders that were repaired. One front fender had been dented (from my wife's motorcycle falling over on it), and the passenger door got away from someone and ripped out the check link. The driver's side running-board appears to have suffered jumping a curb and has mostly been corrected - if you know where it is you can see a bit of remaining dent.

As for the frame and floorpan, they were amazingly clean with the exception of the radiator support bracket that was becoming rusted out - no surprise there. The radiator support was rebuilt and the entire underbelly was treated and coated with rubberized undercoating. The firewall and floor were layered with rubber sound-proofing and heat shield. The original rear motor mount had been severely notched for a homemade dual exhaust system, so it was removed and replaced. A rear transmission mount was added to the frame for the new transmission.

The original transmission was replaced with a fully rebuilt '90 Sonoma T5 5-speed overdrive and the clutch was rebuilt and a Wilwood hydraulic actuator installed. A Hurst short-throw shifter and Lokar double-bend shift rod were added. The flywheel was lightened and a new ring gear installed. The 3.42 rear-end is from a '96 Jimmy and the driveshaft from a '91 Camaro - all rebuilt with new bearings, seals, and brakes. A new Posies rear suspension system was added, lowering the car about 2½”.

The straight-axle front end was totally rebuilt, the springs Teflon lined (lowered the front end to match the rear), Cross-steering with Teflon lined rod-ends, a new Vega steering box and a Flaming River tilt-column were installed. Pete & Jakes shocks front and rear complete the suspension. Wheels are 7x16 Wheel Vintiques chrome rimmed with 215/65-16 tires.

The front brakes have been converted to disk using mid-sized GM rotors and calipers. A Kugel 90⁰ pedal assembly, Corvette master cylinder, 7" power booster, proportioning valve, Kevlar lines, and Lokar emergency brake cables complete the brake upgrades.

The radiator has been re-cored in brass and an overflow tank added. The electrical system has been converted to 12 volts with a one-wire alternator, starterrebuiltwith a 12V solenoid in the 6V housing and an Optima battery relocated into the engine compartment in a polished aluminum box. The headlights were converted to sealed beam and the "halo" lamps provide daytime running lights. New instruments are installed in a polished aluminum instrument panel. The courtesy light was outfitted with door operated switches. All new wiring and fuse panel were installed on the firewall under the dash, and a third brake light was fitted below the rear window. A New Port Engineering electric wiper motor replaced the old vacuum wipers.

All of the glass, rubber, and window tracks are new - the rear window and the rear quarter windows are tinted light gray. The interior is in camel mohair as original done by Hampton Coach. Hard to believe, but the chrome is all original, with the exception of the grill and the taillight trim rings that were re-chromed. The rest is in good shape with minimal pitting. The stainless steel hood and grill center strips were replaced and stainless steel door hinge pins, hood props, and door check links added. A bit of added bling comes from the stainless-steel vent covers on the front fenders.

After preparing the body it was sealed with Eastwood epoxy primer, followed by several high-fill primer coats sanded out until the little dings and scratches were gone. Urethane top coat/clear coat in Champagne and Brown Sugar finished off. The finish paint looks good from a distance, but close examination does give away it being a home garage job - the metallic paint is hard to work with - needed to have a spray gun with some sort of automatic stirring mechanism to prevent the color blotching.


My objective was to get this fine old car back to being roadworthy as an old-school hot rod with more modern performance and safety conversions in place - not as a show car. If that is what you are wanting, then this is a good starting point. Go for the big bucks professional paint job - personally, I did not want to go crazy about little gravel dings or scratches.

The unique handling characteristics of the straight-axle can give a Bonnie and Clyde experience when pushed hard into the curves that brings back a bit of nostalgia - as does the floor mounted headlight dimmer and the vent windows. The interior looks fine, but I have to say the seats are too bouncy for me. They would be the next thing that I would look at upgrading.

The carbs are in need of additional tuning as it is running a bit rich - two carbs doubling the fuel delivery is more than it needs, but gotta love the look - just need to find some jets. The engine certainly has much more "oomph" available now - it's not a big block, but then I don't think they look right in the long, narrow engine compartment. You can cruse at 60-70 with the engine loafing along in 5th gear, then downshifting to 4th brings the RPM up to around 2300 where the engine is quite responsive - lots of torque from the straight-6. However, the fuel pump is not able to maintain delivery at full-throttle for very long before it starts surging, so it may need to be helped along with the addition of an electric pump (or my lead foot removed). With just over 500 miles on it since the rebuild, I consider this car a work in progress, but quite roadworthy at this point.

We are downsizing and moving into an urban setting, so this car needs to find a new home. It is certainly more unique than the usual Mustang front end, big block, automatic transmission, air conditioning, and so on. It maintains its vintage appearance, but has many modern features.

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