1937 Ford Panel Delivery - $32,900
  • Overview & History
  • Specifications
  • Image Gallery
In fact, it has been in the same family’s hands since it was new, purchased by H&H Potato Chips as a delivery vehicle and used until the 1990s as part of the company’s fleet.

We love old cars with a story, and this attractive 1937 Ford panel truck is exactly what it appears to be: a delivery truck for H&H Potato Chips. In fact, it has been in the same family’s hands since it was new, purchased by H&H Potato Chips as a delivery vehicle and used until the 1990s as part of the company’s fleet. It was treated to a quality restoration when it retired from active service and was used for promotional events until just recently when the company was sold to a larger outfit and the H&H name was retired. With documentation dating back to the 1930s, this is a fantastic time machine that is not only a lot of fun to own, but carries a fascinating history that reminds us these vehicles were built to do a job, not merely look pretty.

Although panel trucks were the workhorses of the ‘30s, Ford only built about 7800 panel deliveries like this bright red truck. The 1937 trucks were heavily redesigned with a new grille, bumpers, and hood to further distinguish them from their automotive siblings, although they maintain many car-like features. The proportions are excellent, showing that an artist was at work in the redesign, not just an engineer interested in maximizing practicality. The big barrel-shaped grill still echoes Ford design, as do the headlights and twin horns, but it’s more substantial and fits the bigger delivery bodywork. Beautiful details include the ornate body moldings and built-in side-mounted spare tire with a matching metal cover—nice! The bright red livery with hand-painted lettering is how it has looked from Day One, and while Henry Ford himself didn’t much care for red paint, it sure looks good here! We believe the mileage of 28,615 is authentic (it was only doing local deliveries, after all) and as a result the body never really had much of a chance to get rusty or banged up. We do have extensive restoration photos, but none show any serious metal work or body rot, so it feels surprisingly tight and solid even today. Sure, there are signs of use and age after 25 years of show duty, but it still presents extremely well and we find it almost irresistible sitting here in the showroom. Add in a few chrome details, including the optional rear bumper, add some sparkle and we love the Ford Blue ’85’ emblems (representing 85 horsepower) on the hood and the single industrial-style rear taillight, and you get one of the prettiest commercial vehicles we’ve seen in a long time.

No surprise that the interior is spartan, but this truck thankfully carries two bucket seats so it’s not just a single-passenger machine. Take a friend along! The seat covers and door panels are durable black vinyl that’s in great shape, and aside from a small tear in the driver’s lower cushion on the side, it’s almost unmarked. Beautiful cream-faced gauges are framed by a big three-spoke steering wheel and there’s an accessory heater under the dash, ideal for chilly winter deliveries. Controls are familiar, with a 3-speed manual transmission, headlight controls on the steering wheel hub, and the starter button way over there on the left. The windshield cranks open for ventilation, and there’s a cowl vent to assist, so the truck stays cool and breezy on warm days. There’s also a correct rubber mat on the floor so it’s very low maintenance. The cargo bay is obviously built to do a job, but it hasn’t been bashed or beat up and the overhead cargo light works correctly.

Mechanically, the panel trucks used the same engine, transmission, rear end, and most of the chassis as other Ford passenger vehicles. That means a 221 cubic inch Ford flathead V8 rated at 85 horsepower. If you’re familiar with flathead Fords, you know that they’re energetic and fun to drive, and even saddled with this much panel truck, it remains nimble on the road. The engine was rebuilt and detailed with Ford Green paint and a correct air cleaner up top, and they even included the right multi-colored spark plug wires that were standard on late-30s flatheads. We just installed a giant new (and very expensive) radiator, so this truck should not have any problems with flathead fever. It starts easily with a little choke, idles nicely, and pulls the truck around with a pleasing V8 burble from the single tailpipe out back. Experts will spot a later voltage regulator on the firewall, which improves electrical system performance, as well as an accessory oil filter mounted on the driver’s side head. New wiring throughout ensures reliability and, well, there’s no much here that we don’t like.

We don’t believe the restoration involved removing the body from the chassis, but it remains clean and solid underneath with no issues that need attention. Sure, there’s some surface rust on some of the heavy metal parts and a bit of grime on the working bits, but since most of the floors are wood, rot is a non-issue. You will note that the brakes have been upgraded to hydraulic operation using period components, including a master cylinder mounted on the frame, so all of it looks like it would have back in the day. Transverse leaf springs were a Ford trademark until into the ‘50s, although this truck features tube shocks in back, which were standard equipment in 1937 and a real innovation. The transmission shifts easily, clutch take-up is smooth, and with 3.78 gears out back, it’s pretty comfortable at 50 MPH. There’s also a brand new stainless steel exhaust system that sounds right and will last forever. Gorgeous artillery wheels with chrome “spider” hubcaps and 6.00-16 Firestone wide whitewalls really make this panel truck sparkle.

Documentation is extensive, including gas ration cards from the ‘40s, maintenance receipts, restoration photos, original purchase records, and more. The history is tangible with this truck!

Harwood Motors has an extensive collection of early Ford V8 parts available, including spare engines, transmissions, a Columbia 2-speed rear end, and more, so if you’re interested in spares for this truck, please ask!

We’re smitten with this pretty panel truck. They’re unusual, they’re handsome, and it’s still practical today. Just imagine the fun you’d have with your company’s logo on the side, or take the paperwork with you to events and show everyone about how difficult it was even to deliver pretzels during the war. If you can’t find a way to have fun with this handsome little truck, you should probably take up a different hobby. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any car in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1937 Ford Panel Delivery
Price: $32,900
Stock Number: 117001
Mileage: 28,615
VIN: 183705938
Engine: 221 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.78
Wheelbase: 112 inches
Wheels: 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 6.00-16 Firestone wide whitewall
Exterior Color: Vermillion Red
Interior Color: Black leatherette
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