Whatever name you choose to use, vehicles with wood bodies possess style and character missing in today’s robotically built steel vehicles. Once, almost every conveyance was made of wood: boats, chariots, wagons, trains, even airplanes. The wood-sided wagons, convertibles, sedans and trucks seen here all wear the vestigial tails of their wooden predecessors.In their heyday, woodies were often the most expensive cars offered by a manufacturer and many tallied impressive sales figures.
Woodies have always satisfied the need for stylish transport of people and parcels. The earliest woodie automobiles were utilitarian adaptations of the ‘Rockaway’ horse-drawn carriage and canopied express trucks.
By the thirties, fashionable American woodie station wagons were pressed into service by lodges, inns and country clubs. At about the same time, wealthy land-owners with country estates adopted the woodie for suburban transportation – frequently with a chauffeur at the wheel. In Europe, wood was utilized by coachbuilders of exquisite vehicles for the aristocrat.
During the World War II, wood construction saved steel for critical war-time uses. After the war, the middle class found mass-produced woodie wagons perfect for family travels. The popularity of woodies for personal transportation peaked mid-century.
By the late fifties and sixties, used car dealers had plenty of cheap, poorly maintained wood-clad cars. Surfers found these bargains perfect for hauling their longboards in search of the perfect wave. A sub-culture and a car became legend.
These old woody cars are a real joy to look at. If you are not familiar, a woody is type of a car with a rear part of the bodywork made of wood.
The wood is then finished in a clear varnish, either over the entire wooden area or just on the framework. In Europe, early woodies were usually built on luxury car platforms, such as Rolls-Royce. Woodies have been produced from all kinds of cars and makers. Pricing for a restored woodie may start around $50,000 and could go as high as $200,000.
TO BE CONTINUED