Wood You? 1947 Pontiac Woody Wagon

By Montana Danford

Have you ever wanted to own a woody wagon?  This may be the project for you!  You’re looking at a 1947 Pontiac Woody Wagon. For sale here on craigslist in the town of Natick, Massachusetts.  The asking price is $20,000 and while that seems like a lot for a project that needs a ton of work, these cars routinely hit six-figures when done right.  Thanks to reader Peter R for giving us the tip on this woody!  Keep reading to see if you’re brave enough to tackle this project.

Depending on your restoration skills, these cars can be very expensive to restore.  Certainly paying a shop to do the work will probably exceed the value of the finished product.  However, if you are a skilled metal and wood craftsperson, you may be able to turn a profit in the end (if you restore it for re-sale purposes that is).  The ad states that there is very little metal rot but that a majority of the wood will need replaced.  There are however, templates for the wood work, so a competent woodworker can reproduce the panels.

The engine is said to turn over but not run.  There is, however, a running 1954 straight eight that is included with the purchase.   The seller states the reason for the original engine not running is low compression on two cylinders.  If the compression issue isn’t due to catastrophic damage, it is probably fixable.  The finished project will probably be worth more with the original engine, unless you decide to go resto-mod and drop in an LS or other aftermarket power plant.

The seat upholstery looks pretty good.  I’m assuming that they’ve been re-covered.  The ad states the car was found in a “wooden building” in upstate New York.  Other than that, there aren’t too many details of what the current owner has done.  There are a lot of NOS (new old stock) parts included in the sale, which can be very valuable.  The NOS parts included are a second grille, two rear fenders and headlight trim rings.  It is also said that the stainless and chrome trim is all present and accounted for.  If that is true, this project just got easier.  Tracking down all the chrome on these cars can be very tedious and expensive.

If this is the project for you, I wish you good luck.  It will be a big project, but very rewarding in the end.

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Comments

  1. DrinkinGasoline

    This one is NOT for the faint of heart for sure. Not only would one have to be a mechanic…but a body man as well as a woodcrafter if a DIY restoration is envisioned. Plan on “years” if it is to be done right. Most would sublet the woodwork out while attending to the mechanical and metal work. I consider myself a halfway decent woodworker but I would not be so confident in My skills to tackle this. I’ve built fireplace mantles, replicated trim, beamed ceilings, etc…but this would cause me pause. I love woodies and there is no doubt that it should be brought back to it’s glory but it’s going to take a craftsman to bring it back if the work is not farmed out. Upholstery is the least concern.

    3+
    • 86 Vette Convertible

      What he said. I may not be the best metal worker but I’ve done furniture restoration and repair for over 40 years, some very high end stuff. I’ve even made some body parts for people over the years, it’s not something to look forward to. Making bucks, steam bending parts, hand working them – it takes a lot of time to do which equates to money. To make a body one-off would take an incredible amount of time to do (as in potentially years). If you could buy the parts would be one thing and costly, to make it from scratch would be mind boggling and extremely expensive.

      2+
  2. Dave Wright

    So……..Where did the authors name in the banner go? Another “better” idea?

    5+
    • grant

      I’d wager on it being a technical issue. Writers like their bylines 🙂

      0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Just making some tweaks. We will get it added up there somewhere.

      1+
  3. Metoo

    Surf City here we come.

    1+
  4. Mark S

    If this were my project I’d repair the original engine and drive train first then I’d do all required metal work than I’d do the wood work. I would try to save as much as possible, then I’d coat each assemble of wood with fiber glass weave fabric and apoxy resin. Now I know that there are those that would disagree with me but by doing this a lot more original pieces could be save even some of the soft pieces. Mildly rotted wood parts can have the rot incapsulated in the apoxy and would hold together for many years. All this would have to be done after prepping and staining the wood first of course. The metal I’d redo in original colours with a final coating of clear paint on everything. This car has good bones and would be fun to restore. JMHO

    2+
  5. steve pangborn

    Oh help me!! As a kid in 1953/54, we had one as our family hauler. I remember Dad restoring much of the woodwork on it while driving it. I loved that car and always look for them, but you don’t see them all that often. Wish I were 15 years younger and I’d tackle it, if nothing more than just for my Dad….but I have my hands full right now trying to get my 39′ Packard finished. Don’t see another restoration in my future. Dang, I like that car!!!

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  6. Howard

    I’ve had two str8 8 Pontiacs over the years and both of them had very little compression on the no 1 cylinder. A guy that knew his way around these engines told me it was cause the front cylinders ran lean because they were furthest away from the carb and the extra heat caused the valves to burn. I sold my 48 to a guy who polished out the paint, put some whitewalls on it and seat covers and flipped it for 10 times what he paid me. grrrr That’s been in my craw for 40 years lol I saw it going down the road about 10 years ago and it was still running with that dead miss on no 1 cylinder

    2+

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