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Old 11-22-2017, 10:58 AM   #1
Randy1944
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Default 1939 Ford

Does anyone have pictures showing optional radios for a “commercial car”. I want to look for one and don’t know where to begin. Maker name and model no. Thanks
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

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Does anyone have pictures showing optional radios for a “commercial car”. I want to look for one and don’t know where to begin. Maker name and model no. Thanks
By commercial car, I must assume you mean light truck. If I am correct, understand please that no authorized radios were available from Ford. So, that leaves the proverbial door wide open for you if authenticity doesn't matter.
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

Thanks Kube. Yes, I have a pickup. I just want to find a radio that would have been used in that era. Thanks
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

As my friend Mike pointed out, radios were a dealer installed "extra", and were rare in trucks. Most of the prewar radios for cars and trucks were designed in two units, one for the radio, itself, and a separate control head that mounted in or under the dash. Some had separate speakers for trucks that mounted where they could be heard over the noise. Many of us had the old radios modernized with solid state insides, particularly with the ability to get FM. In spite of most effort, the original radios were plagued with ignition noise. Ther are several places that modify the radios. I have one in my '47 convertible.
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

One thing that should be kept in mind when considering radios, is the presence of AM stations in your area. If you want it to just sit there and look pretty fine, but if you actually want to use it, well, things may be a little different. I got the radio in my '51 all spiffed up and listened to the local "Oldies" station for about 6 months. One day, I turned on the radio, and my station was gone, disappeared. I looked around the dial, but since I'm not interested in crop reports and don't speak Spanish, I found I was out of luck. I think this is why a lot of guys pull the guts and convert them to FM. I'm gonna go another way and adapt my radio if hook up to an iPod; then I'll have total control over what I can listen to.
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Old 11-22-2017, 06:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

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A person can patch in to the antenna with an MP3 player

I've found a lot of OEM radio sets on flea-pay over the years just to look at the photos. The 38 & 39 Ford cars used the one that would fit under the dash with a built in speaker and low controls. It worked OK for them since they had windshield ventilation and mechanism for that. They were made for that particular type of dash and may not work in a pickup. Things changed in 1940 due to the solid mounted windshield with just a cowl vent and the radio controls were moved high up on the dash. I'm not sure what type of radio was used in the 1942 through 1947 pickups. All I've ever seen in the Ford name plates in the center of the dash on the later ones. A person would have to cut holes or go underneath the dash with an accessory radio.

I'd suggest using a glove box radio or control for one anyway. Maybe even a remote MP3 player set up so that you can at least have music.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 11-23-2017 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 11-22-2017, 09:41 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

39 radios were mounted in the center of the lower part of the dash, not below it. They were 2 piece units.
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Old 11-23-2017, 09:56 AM   #8
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Below? where did that come from?
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

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39 radios were mounted in the center of the lower part of the dash, not below it. They were 2 piece units.
There were two styles and yes, one style did in fact mount below the dash - towards the left side.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

The pickup (commercial car) dashes were blocky and solid in that era and not really set up to accept a radio set. I sure wouldn't want to cut holes in there.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

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Originally Posted by supereal View Post
As my friend Mike pointed out, radios were a dealer installed "extra", and were rare in trucks. Most of the prewar radios for cars and trucks were designed in two units, one for the radio, itself, and a separate control head that mounted in or under the dash. Some had separate speakers for trucks that mounted where they could be heard over the noise. Many of us had the old radios modernized with solid state insides, particularly with the ability to get FM. In spite of most effort, the original radios were plagued with ignition noise. Ther are several places that modify the radios. I have one in my '47 convertible.
Any info on who does these conversions? Do they leave the dash unit as is? The radio in my 37 does not work so this is of interest.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

Tommy, there are lots of places doing conversions, so you might want to ask about quality of work vs who does them.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:17 AM   #13
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Really?? Had no idea. Thank you. So... Who can do a quality job and has experience with early ford radios? Please.. So as to not Hijack the OP`s thread... PM me.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:32 AM   #14
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

Turnswitch is one company but there are more out there. The conversions take a large OEM radio set and gut it out with possible exceptions to some of the control mechanisms. They then put the tiny little guts from a modern type radio in there. The old big set is then just a nearly hollow shell. I'm not sure about whether they set them up for 6-volt positive ground or not but it is possible. Most are likely 12-volt negative ground. Modern solid state radios are polarity sensitive.
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Old 11-23-2017, 04:20 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

Thanks to all. I have decided to install an aftermarket radio under the dash just for appearances. I think I will then buy one of the new setups with remote controller. I will install it under front seat and power it off an optima 12 volt battery under the seat as well. What does everyone think of this? I love new ideas.
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Old 11-23-2017, 06:53 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

You also might be able to use an inverter (6 to 12-volt). I'm not sure how well it would work on an old 30 or 35-amp system but it might do OK in the day time. Lights on at night uses a lot of the available juice just for the lights on these old flivvers. Fifth Avenue Internet Garage might have something like that but they also might need a 6-volt alternator to run them.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 11-23-2017 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 11-24-2017, 03:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: 1939 Ford

Turnswitch does do 6 volt radio conversions as he did a 55 Ford radio for me. I have used him for two radios and he does a great job and is easily accessable by email or phone.
The company`s name is S&M ELECTRO-TECH Located in Blaine MN 55449
email is turnswitch@turnswitch.com
web site www.turnswitch.com
tel # 1-877-780-2861
contact person...Greg
They also can add an iPod or Sat radio hookup
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