With its new grille, stretched hood, and front fender-mounted headlights, the 1939 Chevy became a favorite for many vintage automobile collectors, including Kiyo Nishikawa of the Viejitos Car Cub Japan chapter. He bought this ’39 classic all original in Japan. The ’39’s design gave it a resemblance to the Cadillacs of its time. This was Chevrolet’s attempt to attract the business class by offering luxury styling for less money. Timing for their aggressive marketing campaign proved successful as America was starting to recover from the recession of 1937-’38.
One of the biggest changes the ’39 Chevy received wasn’t visually noticeable. It was the replacement of the troublesome Dubonnet-type knee-action suspension. They were swapped out for coil spring and wishbone suspension to give it a smoother ride. This was critical during a time when many roads and highways still needed improving and modernizing. With time-saving highways being built, the demand for ease of travel and comfort rose. The demand for trunkless automobiles dropped sharply; 1939 was the first year that Chevy didn’t offer rumble seats in any of their models.
A great era in American history was captured in the styling of this ’39 that now roams the narrow streets of Japan. Other than being a good friend of mine, Kiyo is a lover and collector of classic American cars with over two decades under his belt.
Vehicle Year/Make/Model: 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe
Vehicle Nickname: OG Deluxe
Owner: Kiyo Nishikawa
City/State: Central Japan
Club: Viejitos Japan
Engine: The 216 motor with Fenton headers, PerTronix ignition, and an Optima battery was installed at Cruise in Suzuka Mie, Japan
Body/Paint: Factory Marlboro maroon poly paint from Chevrolet was used
Interior: Original mohair interior
Sound: Clarion head unit
Wheels/Tires: Original / fat 5.60 Firestone whitewalls