Grass Valley couple cruises in their ’39 Chevy |

Grass Valley couple cruises in their ’39 Chevy

Rick Mullen has been a Chevrolet fan all his life, and he always wanted to own a 1939 Chevy Master Deluxe.

He and his wife, Margie, traveled all around California before they found their coupe through a newspaper ad in 2003.

A 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Business Coupe, Mullen’s car is a street rod, meaning it has an all stock exterior, with modern upgrades both inside and under the hood.

Currently, the engine is a 1966 283 cubic inch V8, but this will be upgraded to a high performance 383 cubic inch Chevy Stroker in the near future. When that happens, Mullen will also add an overdrive automatic transmission and have the front of the car “flamed,” with painted flames pouring across and around the long hood.

Mullen does his own mechanical work. He has pictures in his Grass Valley garage of former Chevrolets he has owned. Recently retired, both he and Margie moved to this area after careers with the Hewlett Packard Corp. Members of the Roamin Angels Car Club, the Mullens plan to show their ’39 rod during the upcoming Grass Valley Downtown Association Car Show on April 23.

The show allows car lovers to look at some of the best local vehicles and to participate in a people’s choice award during judging for categories including paint, engines, interiors, and “orphans,” those obscure models from companies no longer in production.

In 1939, the Chevrolet Master Deluxe Business Coupe was the fastest American passenger car, going from 10 to 60 mph in high gear. His car is one of 33,809 produced that year, and originally sold for $684 new. Mullen’s coupe is currently insured for $30,000, and that figure changes with every upgrade.

The Business Coupe’s interior holds two custom bucket seats that have replaced the original bench seat across the front. Designed with no back seat, the space behind the driver’s seat is ample enough for luggage, lots of groceries, or carrying packages.

With its chrome detailed dash area, the front interior is stylish. The whole car has a Hollywood 1940s film noir allure, evocative of a more suave and refined era. The steering wheel is new, as is the stereo system with six speakers, 10 inch sub woofers, a CD player, and an amp.

This street rod has been lowered four inches in back. Mullen also installed a 1967 Mustang rear end to join the Mallory electric distributor, Edelbrock Q-Jet Carburetor, Hooker Block Hugger Headers, a TH350 with Lokar Shifter, updated wheels and tires, power disc brakes, AC, new suspension, rack and pinion steering, and new tweed and leather upholstery.

This is not a hobby car. Both Rick and Margie drive their 1939 coupe around town, except when it rains. The car is fun to drive. Other drivers seem to appreciate it as well; waves, honks, and thumbs up are common.

As members of the Roamin Angels Car Club, the Mullens use their street rod to join others on cruises, on group drives to car shows, and for fun. The next time you see a stream of custom cars go by, honk and wave. You just might see the Mullens and their beautiful coupe.


The Union is looking for restored, customized or collector’s vehicles. Contact

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User