1938 Ford Lineup

Also heavily redone for the 1938 Ford lineup was the station wagon, which this year came with standard sliding glass in the rear doors and rear quarters -- that had cost $20 extra in 1937. The screen-side variation with side curtains was deleted.

Previously located on the tailgate, the spare tire moved inside into a special storage area behind the driver's seat. The wood paneling was new, and Ford's Iron Mountain, Michigan, plant now produced the wood bodies and shipped them directly to the various Ford assembly plants. Previously, the Upper Peninsula facility had cut and trimmed the wood components, which were then shipped to Murray Body Company's Detroit plant for assembly.

The 1938 Ford Tudor sedan was no longer offered in a DeLuxe model.
The 1938 Ford Tudor sedan was no longer offered
in a DeLuxe model.

Two of the more interesting Ford authorized accessories for 1938 were the rear fender shields (skirts), at $9 for the pair, and rustless-steel wheel hub and spoke covers, priced at $15 for a set of four. The latter added a bright touch to the otherwise dull wheels.

Also available was a $3 Kool Kushion for summer comfort, radiator cover for $1.25, center bumper guard for $1.75, road light for $5, DeLuxe steering wheel for $7.50, oil filter for $3.25, air cleaner for $3.75, tire repair kit for only $.20, and a long list of other safety and appearance items.

The 1938 Ford DeLuxe convertible coupe was part of the reduced lineup for the year.
The 1938 Ford DeLuxe convertible coupe was
part of the reduced lineup for the year.

For 1938, the number of available body styles was reduced by three. The unpopular flatback Tudor and Fordor sedans were omitted from the 1938 Standard and DeLuxe lines, and the DeLuxe group also suffered the loss of the attractive -- but slow-selling -- Roadster. And that was only the beginning. By 1939, the Club Coupe, Club Convertible, and Phaeton would be all dropped, to be followed the next year by the Convertible Sedan.

Had Edsel Ford had his own way, the 1937 and 1938 Fords would have been much more modern automobiles than those that were offered to the public. The hapless Edsel, the Ford Motor Company's nominal president, had long advocated the adoption of hydraulic brakes, independent front suspension, Hotchkiss Drive (in lieu of the heavy, cumbersome torque tube), and a number of other improvements already featured by the competition.

How much of a difference that would have made to Ford sales may be open to debate, but there's little doubt that thanks to Henry Ford's intransigence, his company was headed for big trouble.

Even so, Ford produced its five-millionth V-8 in May 1938, and in November the 26-millionth Ford rolled off the line. And despite their anachronisms, Ford cars of this period were serviceable and long-lived machines. Powered by the 85-horsepower V-8, they were also clearly the performance champions of their day.

For vehicle specifications of these Fords, continue on to the next page.

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