Woodys Wagon is a car body style dating back to the early 1900s, and any car enthusiast that likes classics would love the Woodies from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. These cars are considered a symbol of the classic American style.
Although these wood-bodied wagons were not the first released vehicle, they were iconic and well-loved vehicles that also featured in pop culture. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the Woodies and their history.
- 1 What Is a Woodys Wagon?
- 2 History of the Woody Wagon
- 3 Woodie Wagon in Pop Culture
- 4 Top Woody Wagons From History
- 5 Conclusion
What Is a Woodys Wagon?
The Woodys Wagon, also known as the Woody Wagon or the Woodies, are cars with a wood body. The classic car featured wood bodywork or was designed to look like wood elements. This gave a look of wooden furniture, also found on the dashboard, rear tailgate and inner door panels.
The Woody dates back to the 1900s, and they were especially popular in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. In the beginning, manufacturers used a wood framework on the car’s structure. But after a while, they started using wood for other parts of the car. This was in a bid to make their cars more stylish, but it also made them spacious.
Woodies gained a lot of popularity in the United States, especially among families and outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re wondering who made Woody cars, the answer is almost everyone. Manufacturers like Ford, Plymouth, Nash, and Chevrolet made wooden cars in the 1900s, especially Ford.
Since Woodys required a lot of effort to build, unlike standard cars, manufacturers used to outsource the wooden body of the car to coachbuilders. It’s possible to get Woodys today, especially if you buy the Ford Wagon from auctioneers or second-hand markets.
History of the Woody Wagon
The Woody Wagon became more popular in the 1930s and 1940s. The Woodie as a wagon or utility vehicle started when carmakers made parts of their passenger compartment in hardwood. After that, Woodies were made as parts of convertibles and sedans and also on station wagons, whether they were basic or luxury vehicles.
Then in the 1950s, some manufacturers left the Woodie construction while others continued. Chrysler stopped making the DeSoto, Plymouth and Dodge, all wooden wagons, in 1950. Then, the 1953 Super Estate Wagon and Roadmaster Estate Wagon from Buick were the last wagons to continue wood construction.
By 1955, Ford and Mercury offered Woodies, making the cars look like real wood, including steel, vinyl and plastics. The wooden appearance became popular, as Ford, Chrysler, and G.M. offered a woodgrain on their cars until the 1990s. From the late 1960s, cars with wood construction started to become less popular.
Woodie Wagon in Pop Culture
Going to a golf course, country club, or a party in a Woodie became fashionable; the car began to show itself in popular culture. The first mass-produced Woodys Wagon was the 1929 Ford Model A wagon, and other options became more widespread. Due to its popularity, the car was also used in pop culture applications.
For instance, the top-grossing movie by Columbia Pictures in the 1940s, “Leave Her to Heaven,” which was directed by John Stahl, has a Woody surf wagon in the film. Since it starred Cornel Wilde and Gene Tierney, the movie offered a lot of popularity. There were many other American films in the 1940s with Woodies.
The Woodie was also popularly used in surf rock music and by surfers. For instance, the number one hit song in 1963, “Surf City” by Jan & Dean, had a lyric that said, “I got a ’30 Ford wagon, and we call it a woodie, you know it’s not very cherry, it’s an oldie but a goodie.” Another song was the 1963 “Boogie Woodie” made by The Beach Boys.
Even the government was part of the Woodie move. The US Postal Service issued a 15-cent stamp that celebrated the Woodie. Now, Woodys are one of the most popular vintage cars that you can purchase today.
Top Woody Wagons From History
Since Woodys were a trend in the early to mid-1900s, it’s not surprising that there were different options for drivers at that time. From Ford and Toyota to Chevrolet and Dodge, many carmakers manufactured woody cars. Here are some of the top options.
Ford Woody Wagon
The Ford Wagon was initially made as a cheap utilitarian vehicle, but it eventually became one of the iconic Woodies out there. The Ford Super Deluxe Woody was also released in 1941, equipped with a patented glass-sealed beam headlamp. The Woody car price was also affordable
The Ford Woody was powered by a 3.62-liter Flathead V8 221 C.I. engine with a three-speed manual. It also gave off 85 horsepower, and the engine was a great addition to the advanced radiator grill and front-end design. The cars were also designed with crank-up glass widows and swing-out rear windows.
Nash Ambassador Suburban
After the Second World War, the Nash Ambassador Suburban was released and gained a lot of popularity. The car featured panels constructed with ash, while the trim was made with real mahogany. The Suburban was the wood-paneled version of the Nash Ambassador and was released in 1946.
The wooden coachwork of the car was based on a classic sedan design from the 1940s. The Suburban was intended to be the flagship car of Nash, and it came with features like Cruising Gear overdrive, a remote control Zenith radio, and a Weather Eye. There were only a limited number of Suburban models released, with only 1,000 units offered between 1946 and 1948.
Chevrolet Malibu is a popular Chevy today, and in 1967 and 1968, the series released a Woody Wagon. This was a wagon with a simulated woodgrain exterior side panel trim. Malibu Concours was also the luxury option in the lineup. It came with woodgrain trim on the door panels and dash. This was the same with the Concours Estate wagon.
Other features on the Chevy Malibu included upgraded cloth or vinyl bench seats, a center console with a floor shifter and carpeted lower door panels. There was also a Concours nameplate on the cars that set them apart.
The Dodge Aspen was a small Woodie wagon with a stylish wooden design. It was the smallest sedan and wagon combo, with a dull wooden exterior and a wooden trim in the interior. The trims under the Dodge Aspen, like the Volare Premier and Aspen SE wagon models, came with wooden designs.
The exterior was designed with simulated woodgrain on the side panels. What made this unique was the trimmed woodgrain panels with stainless steel frames that were matte black. There were also frames that looked like blond wood.
The Toyota Cressida was a luxury car, so it was no surprise that it followed the Woodys Wagon trend. Toyota wanted to overtake American automakers, so it needed to release a wagon that looked like the domestic wagons. Due to this, it made the Cressida with the vinyl woody sides.
The Cressida was the name for American markets, and globally it was called the Toyota Mark II. But global markets did not get the woodgrain trim. The Cressida looked like the Dodge Aspen wagon and it featured a brown color with vinyl panels. The Toyota Cressida is hard to find today, especially the Woody.
Ford Model A
The Ford Model A is known as the first Woodys Wagon, released in 1929, and is also the second most successful car released by the carmaker. The Ford Model A Woody was powered by a 4-cylinder engine with 40 horsepower and 3-speed transmission.
The Model A is known for being beautiful and rare, and most of those available today have been restored. It was also used by the Ford Motor Company in their 100th Year Anniversary during the promotion tour. The body is constructed with wood, steel hardware and proper flooring.
Packard Super Eight Station Wagon
The Packard Super Eight is a classic pre-Second World War American car that came with a woody version. There were only a few hundred 1949 Super Eight Woody Wagons built. The first Woodies were powered by a 6-cylinder 110 and 8-cylinder 120 chassis, and the wooden parts and amenities were made by hand.
There was also a Standard Eight sedan which came with a wood-paneled wagon with a semi-fastback look and white ash wood on the exterior. It also came with a split tailgate, which was becoming popular among wagons of that time. Most of the Super Eights had to be restored many times because of aging issues with the wood.
Buick Roadmaster Estate
The Buick Roadmaster Estate was popular because it was a Woody and also a typical American road trip car. The Buick Roadmaster Estate was first released in 1947 and remained a popular option. The instrument panel of the car was designed with two-toned woodgrain facings. There was also a two-tone woodgrain instrument panel.
Buyers could also get the Roadmaster Estate with simulated woodgrain sides and third-row seating. In 1954, the last Roadmaster Estate, which was a wood-bodied wagon, was produced. It was also the last Woody Wagon that was mass-produced in the United States.
General Motors also released the Oldsmobile Firenza as a part of the Woodys Wagon trend. This was released in 1982, and the Wagon was designed with peeling fake wood grain sides. The car was powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four in the entry-level trim.
The Firenza also came with woodgrain appliques and flashy multispoke wheel covers. It would be hard to find the Firenza Woody Wagon, although some have reported finding it in junkyards, or you can also find it in a second-hand or antique car market. The Firenza was available as a 4-door sedan, hatchback coupe, notchback coupe and wagon.
The Dodge Caravan is well-known as a minivan that soccer moms love, but the car also hopped on the Woody Wagon idea. Even if this was late, the car was still popular among parents and big families. The woodgrain trim option was discontinued in 1994 because it was no longer popular and was replaced with monochromatic and two-tone exterior designs.
The Caravan is known for its gorgeous wood paneling rather than being covered by wood like other cars of that time. It also costs less than $4,000, making it a family-friendly option. While you can get the Caravan today when looking for Woody cars for sale, there’s a good chance it won’t be in the best condition.
If you’re interested in the Woodys Wagon, this guide has offered you all you need to know about this unique car style from the 1900s.
Here’s a rundown of what we covered:
- Woodys Wagon, also known as Woodie and Woody, is a wood-bodied wagon that was popular in the 1900s.
- The first reported Woodie was the 1929 Ford Model A wagon, which was also mass-produced.
- Carmakers had to partner with carpenters, artisans and coachbuilders to make the wooden parts of the car.
- Woodies became less popular in the 1980s and 1990s, and carmakers only added wooden strips to their cars before eventually stopping the design altogether.
- Woodies were also used in pop culture situations like movies where the cars were spotted, surf rock music, and surf culture.
This is one of the popular types of car body styles in the 1900s, and if you’re interested, you can still get a Woody station wagon for sale online. However, take note that wood does not last forever, so you might have to look closely before making a purchase.
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