Stored 64 Years: 1947 Pontiac Streamliner Woodie

Update 4/6/20 – This sweet woodie is back on the market! It’s listed here on eBay with some active bidding but how high do you think it will go this time around?

From 12/6/19 – There are some cars that require special mechanical aptitude to maintain and repair. Certain marques have their own intricacies that are just not known by the general pool of wrench turners. That’s really not the case with this 1947 Pontiac Streamliner Deluxe woody wagon, located in Auburn, California and available here on eBay with a current bid of $15,100, reserve not met yet. It would probably help, however, to know a good carpenter.

By the late ’40s woodies were on the way out – they were a mix of the old and the new but the new was rapidly pushing away the old and by 1950 or so, woodies would be a thing of the past. I know our British car colleagues kept up the tradition through the ’60s with the Morris but the trend was gone from our shores.

Today’s example is typical of Pontiacs of this era. It is powered by a 249 CI in-line 8-cylinder engine, good for 103 HP – Pontiac’s V8 was still eight years away. The interesting thing is that the seller says this Streamliner sat for 64 years but in the six or seven years that it was in active use, it did roll about 54,000 miles on its odometer. The seller further adds, “The car fires right up every time, runs good, shifts good, drives down the road good.” He details the things that he did to get this Pontiac back on the road and sounds like he went about it the right way. Typical for the time is a three-speed manual transmission.

This image of the headliner really did it for me, look at that woodwork! The finger joints are really impressive – you’d never find this kind of artistry in any current, mass-produced vehicle. Research indicates that Pontiac used one of two contractors, Hercules Body Company or Ionia Manufacturing to handle the woodwork. And I have to imagine that the cost and craftsmanship necessary to affect such artistry was the primary reason for the demise of this styling enhancement. As a matter of fact, a Pontiac Chieftain Eight model woody would have been the most expensive Pontiac model offered at the time.

As for the rest of the interior, it appears to be in sound shape too. It looks like there is a split seam in the front seat but the rest pretty much meets expectations for how you would expect a 64-year-old interior, with limited use, to look. There is extensive interior wood door trim as well which beautifully adorns and continues the entire “estate wagon” vibe.

The seller tells us this woody is in sound shape with zero rot in the body panels though it does have some woodwork that needs attention – that’s what I meant about knowing a good carpenter. While it is not stated, I would imagine that the wood components of the Streamliner are probably a dense hardwood like ash but I would ask our reader base to comment on that aspect of woody material employment. My research tells me that Streamliner station wagons of this era had a fabric material which covered the roof. The seller has replacement OEM material for this car – no mention is made regarding the condition of the existing roof covering but he does state that the top wood is “fantastic.”

A woody wagon like this is a disappearing part of Americana motoring – it really makes a huge visual statement in my estimation. And the originality and condition of this example just add to its attraction. Many of us that have owned and restored old cars usually have an idea of what to do with needed metalwork/fabrication – a woody, however, takes a different direction. Would the unique nature of a wood-bodied car deter you from pursuing something like this 1947 Pontiac Streamliner Deluxe woody wagon?

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Comments

  1. XMA0891

    A summer or two ago I sidled up to a very late-model Packard woody wagon in a grocery store parking lot. It was an enormous, pristine, dark green ark-of-a-car. I started speaking with the driver, a retired electrical engineer, and he stated, “When I bought this car, it was delivered to me in a box. It took me nine years, and $109,000 to get to look like this.” I would love to own any woody wagon; but it is a dreamer’s dream for me.

    Like 15
    • Glenn Schwass Member

      I wish I had the wood working skills to do this but I’d waste a thousand board feet of lumber to make one piece…But what a beautiful car.

      Like 6
  2. redwagon

    Ash and oak are ring porous hardwoods which makes their appearance rather two-toned and the vessels are apt to pick up water through capillary action. More than likely this is made from sugar maple which is a diffuse porous hardwood giving a more even, single color appearance to the wood, just as hard or harder than ash or oak and less likely to absorb water through capillary action. Ford built all of its early wood vehicles from sugar maple sourced from a Ford location near Alberta, Michigan.

    Like 23
    • lbpa18

      Red, there is more to your story I think. Would you care to expand how you came to have what appears to be a depth of knowledge on the subject most of us only dream of? Thanks.

      Like 5
    • Barney

      I had a 1947 Chrysler Town and Country convertible at one time. The primary wood used was ash. Not saying your incorrect about this car’s wood choice but the T and C was a pretty expensive car in its day and the wood of choice was ash. I’ve owned two 40 Ford woodies as well and they had ash on them

      Like 2
      • wizzy

        There are several good books out there specific to Woodies available to folks who care to read them.

    • Crazy Dave

      When you drive through Alberta there is still a Ford script in concrete on the hill next to the pond where the wood was floated in. The former sawmill is now a museum. Also in Michigan’s upper peninsula (and less than an hour away) is Pequaming, where another sawmill stood and Ford had a summer ‘cottage’ which was actually a fairly large house. A large sawmill building is still there as is a water tower with the Ford script. The property is currently for sale. If any barnfinders decide to go on a fall color tour these would make interesting stops. It’s a very beautiful area in the fall.

      Like 2
  3. Will Fox

    Now THIS is a barn find! This one is fairly solid, no real HUGE wood problems that I can see–or that cannot be rectified–complete with factory skirts?! This is easily over $20K, just the way it sits and probably $90-100K when finished. A black `57 Bel Air this is NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like 12
  4. Jon

    Always liked the Ford/Mercury woodies but not enough to ever want one. However, this Poncho really strikes my fancy, that deep maroon paint, the lines, interior and dash, and the fender skirts push all my buttons. Pure class. Oh to be 20 or so years younger and a LOT richer than I ever was………….

    Like 11
  5. Del

    I have never seen one of these specific ones before.

    Its is a wonderfull find. Great shape too.

    A Show Stopper !!

    Like 2
  6. Wayne

    First time for me also. What a stunning car. As much as I like woodies, the wood repair and upkeep are way past my skill level. Give me bolts, a welder and a hammer and I can get through it. Give me a chunk of lumber and I will destroy a piece of nature’s beauty.

    Like 6
  7. Rj

    My Dad’s third and last Woodie was from Oldsmobile. It being a 1948 JadeGreen straight eight with a 4 speed Hydramatic. I had seen pictures of Woodie 1, while Woodie 2 was in my uncles barn. He no longer had animals but was ranching GM cars. He had about 20 nice looking GM cars in the barn and corral. As he would get one in top condition he would sell, than go look for more. Anyway my Pops drove the 48 Woodie until 1958 when he bought a new two-tone green 58 4door hardtop Fiesta wagon. The 48 Woodie went to my uncles barn to be gone thru and sold. I was hooked on wagons and my first go fast car was a 65 Chevelle 2dr Wagon with a 69 350hp 396.

    Back to this 47 Pocho I would love to own it. I believe I would be looking for a mild 400 or 455 to put under the hood with a 4 speed trans with BIG disks in the front and rear. Living in Arizona hanging VintageAir under the dash would be a must. The profile of this Streamline is near identical to the Olds I remember as a kid, and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings none if I were forced to drive it.

    Like 2
  8. Rj

    My Dad’s third and last Woodie was from Oldsmobile. It being a 1948 JadeGreen straight eight with a 4 speed Hydramatic. I had seen pictures of Woodie 1, while Woodie 2 was in my uncles barn. He no longer had animals but was ranching GM cars. He had about 20 nice looking GM cars in the barn and corral. As he would get one in top condition he would sell, than go look for more. Anyway my Pops drove the 48 Woodie until 1958 when he bought a new two-tone green 58 4door hardtop Fiesta wagon. The 48 Woodie went to my uncles barn to be gone thru and sold. I was hooked on wagons and my first go fast car was a 65 Chevelle 2dr Wagon with a 69 350hp 396.

    Back to this 47 Pocho I would love to own it. I believe I would be looking for a mild 400 or 455 to put under the hood with a 4 speed trans with BIG disks in the front and rear. Living in Arizona hanging VintageAir under the dash would be a must. The profile of this Streamliner is near identical to the Olds I remember as a kid, and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings none if I were forced to drive it.

    Like 1
  9. Dale watson

    I have woodies , 31 Ford ,34 Ford , 36 Ford , 50 Ford , 52 Buick , they all have special character. The wood is easy to maintain and takes about 40 hours to sand and revarnish . Last year we had a woodie show here in Maine with about 70 woodies . This Pontiac would be a easy restoration.

    Like 6
  10. TimM

    I just think these are so cool and show a time of craftsmanship and not mass produced plastic duplicates!! To me it’s just glorious that it has survived to this point!! Tin worms are sill a concern but termites could be a problem too!!!!

    Like 5
  11. Mountainwoodie

    I believe Ionia built the Pontiac bodies and perhaps the car itself. I think the frame is ash. Heres a little story on Ionia:

    http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/i/ionia/ionia.htm

    Streamliner station wagons ranged in price from $1992 for a standard Six to $2111 for a Deluxe Eight in 1947 I think; about $24, 500 in inflation ridden 2019 dollars :)

    We’ve had one on BF before…..according to Josh then only 10 remaining:

    https://barnfinds.com/lumber-wagon-1947-pontiac-streamliner-woody/

    As the owner of a ’47 Ford Super Deluxe Woodie, I always considered the Pontiac and Oldsmobile to be more elegant than the Fords. I just happened to bump into my Ford by chance back in 1990 so that’s what I got. But I still think the Pontiacs are more elegant.

    This one needs the work it needs and it ought to be done to preserve it. The passenger door on the right side looks kind of rotted so there’s that. Could be the photo or my eyes.

    Personally I dont think you can go wrong owning a woodie. There’s just something special about preserving a wooden car.

    Like 5
  12. Steve RM

    You have to wonder about the top. No picture of what’s there. It’s all covered by the new material. My suspicious nature makes me wonder why. The wooden headliner does look good though.

  13. canadainmarkseh Member

    Yes this is an elegant car and as for repair and restoration I’d be inclined to Ike this epoxy resins into any rotten areas followed pay a complete sand down. I’d then put a layer of weave fabric and epoxy resin down on all the wood. The fabric turns transparent once in the epoxy. Two more coats of resin then a sand down. Finally two more coats of automotive clear coat paint. You’d be able to drive though any rain storm without concern. As for the roof I’d take the fabric off and lay down some cedar strips followed by ebony stain, weave fabric, epoxy resin, clear coat paint, and it to would be repaired for a very long time. This process would eliminate the need for the annual sanding and varnishing process. And it looks if better too. I’ve had great success with this process on my custom sidecar body attached to my vintage gold wing. It’s been through heavy rain and even a severe hail storm. it been washed many times with a pressure washer at the car wash with no ill affects. Six summers of daily use no sign of rot.

    Like 3
  14. Sue Ditmire

    Don’t forget, that most cars are parked and not used, because something was wrong with them at the time they were parked. “Barn Finds” are almost never as great as we all dream they could be.
    Best of luck to the person who gets this car.
    Come see us if you need mechanical repairs. Ditmire Motorworks, Inc. 36 years of fixing and selling cars. Yes, including barn finds.

    Like 1
  15. Sean

    wow

  16. John H

    drool

  17. FRED J CONNOLLY

    HOW does one get in the driver’s door?

    Like 1
    • Rj

      Keep looking you’ll find your way in.

      Like 2
      • Mike

        Does Fred think the fenders are blocking the driver’s door?!

        Like 1
  18. Rj

    I believe our friend Fred is concerned with foot room. Maybe he’s thinking how in Helsinki he’ll get his feet in.

  19. Rj Keenan

    in and out might be on Fred’s mind.

  20. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    This beauty will land in the collection of some rich surfer dude in Orange County.

    Like 1
  21. Steve Bush Member

    Beautiful car! And it runs and apparently won’t need much to get everything right, although I would consult with someone like canadainmarkseh to be sure. I’ve never seen one of these before and I’m a Pontiac fan. Would be great to show up at the car shows with something this rare.

  22. Benjy58

    Had a Woodie once. I bought it off an estate when the owners were selling the house and I got a great deal. It was a 47 Ford Woodie when it rained the wood would swell up and it would be hard to open or close the doors. When it was dry it would squeak like a pen full of pigs. Kept it for a summer and sold it for more than I paid. Never again,

    Like 1
  23. Bill McCoskey

    It appears to be missing the entire bottom section of the left rear door. Let’s hope the owner has the missing pieces to serve as templates, or it’s gonna be a difficult job performing those repairs.

  24. PatrickM

    Bidding at $16,800.00. WOW! Yet, there is still some work to be done. And I still find fault with no underside pics and no inner tailgate pics. Here, again, if ya wanna sell it ,ya gotta show it. My Dad had a ’47 Pontiac woodie wagon. Hand painted light blue (LOL) metal fenders front and rear and hood, 3 speed on the column. I learned how to drive in that fantastic car. If I had the time, money and place, I just might enter the bidding circle. More pics, more pics, more pics, he chants.

  25. John

    Is the wagon still for sale and how can I see it in person?

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