Completely Original 1940 Chevrolet Woodie Wagon!

Here in America, production of wood-bodied wagons by car manufacturers had pretty much fizzled out by the early 1950s.  And since wood doesn’t hold up to the elements as long as steel (duh), woodie survivors are fairly rare.   If you see a woodie nowadays, chances are it’s been restored.  In fact, have you ever seen a completely original, unrestored woodie (that doesn’t resemble an old shipwreck)?  I haven’t…until now!  This 1940 Chevy wagon has been garage-stored for more than 30 years and is reported by its seller to be all original.  It’s offered for sale here on Craigslist for $65,000 and is located in Toms River, New Jersey.  Thanks to Barn Finds reader Russell Glantz for this truly incredible find!

The garage seems pretty packed with stuff so I will forgive the dim lighting and tightly cropped, poorly angled photos.  I’m surprised the seller didn’t take a few measures to better present this ultra-rare find in his CL ad.  Sure, the surfboard is likely an intentional prop, which is fine, but how hard would it be to take a minute to remove the random junk sitting on the hood?   Nevertheless, this classic beauty presents extremely well and the seller’s claim that it’s been sitting for more than three decades is validated by the old NJ license plate on the front.  The paint looks appropriately faded, but still nice.  The trim around the split windshield is intact, period hubcaps and whitewall tires are present, the door-mounted brass horn appears vintage, and most importantly, the acres and acres of this Chevy’s beautiful wood looks to be in fairly nice condition.

The condition of this time capsule is, as the seller describes, unbelievable!  It looks untouched and unmolested from its original days when perhaps it was used to ferry the family for weekend getaways to nearby points along the Jersey Shore.  Somehow it was then parked in the garage and forgotten by time.  The steering wheel, bench seats, and overall presentation of the interior remind me a lot of an old wooden Century boat my friend’s mother used to take us for rides in when we were kids.  It’s too bad the seller didn’t provide an inside photo of the car’s roof, which I imagine is constructed of a series of wooden slats, very much resembling the hull of a boat.

The seller’s description of the car is quite brief and he fails to disclose whether or not it’s in running condition.  No photos are provided of the motor which, if my research is accurate, is a Chevy 216 straight-6.  There is a picture of the odometer and it shows 11,764 miles.  The seller’s $65K asking price initially seemed high to me, but after Googling all sorts of woodies to try to learn more about these cars, I’m discovering there simply aren’t many Chevy woodie wagons out there.  Is this a one-off model? Is it a Master Deluxe or Special Deluxe series model?  Since information about this car is scant I’m hopeful there is some Barn Finds readers who can help shed some light on this rare and unique classic.  Here is a story about a California man who paid $64,000 for a restored Ford woodie wagon.  I’m thinking since it’s rare to find an unrestored, all original woodie in good condition this car potentially holds more value than one that’s been restored.  Is the seller’s asking price justified?  A closer look is certainly needed.

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Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    I don’t know why I get all revved up when I come across a woodie but I do. It’s way out of my budget so once again, I’m on the outside looking in. This is a nice car. It needs some detailing but it has a lot of potential. The asking price sounds a little optimistic but, as I’ve said before: You can always come down. I wouldn’t change anything; I would get it cleaned up and drive it. 55 is about as fast as I would want to go in this car. Just roll down the windows and enjoy the ride, and the single digit waves from those SUV jockeys who got stuck behind you…

    Like 30
    • Jay B Staff

      Geomechs, I’m with you 100% Keep this car as it is! You couldn’t have said it better.

      Like 15
  2. Chebby Staff

    Expecting top dollar, but seller couldn’t “invest” an hour into removing the junk from the car and wiping it down? If you don’t appreciate your thing for sale, don’t expect buyers to either.

    Like 36
    • Mike1955

      I kinda like to see them in their natural habitat to know how they were stored. But you are right, should be a few pics cleaned up!

      Like 13
  3. Classic Steel

    Anyone getting a woodie?🤪
    Sweet car .. i can here jan and dean singing “surf city “

    Like 7
    • Gaspumpchas

      ” I got A 34 wagon and we call it a Woodie
      She’s not very cherry but an oldie but goodie.

      Jan and Dean and Beach boys forever,
      Cheers
      GPC

      Like 11
    • stillrunners Stillrunners Member

      Nice car but thinking the new owner staged the surf board for the flip.

      Like 6
      • grant

        Totally. The surfboard is sitting on pool noodles. Don’t even think those were being made when this car was parked.

        Like 4
  4. ken tilly uk Member

    It’s got to be worth a lot more than the $64k red woody that’s been converted to a hot rod, fitted with a 350 cu in chev motor. Sacrilege to do such a thing. (Click on “Here is a story” above.)

    Like 7
  5. junkman Member

    I’ve said it before “Please show me a picture of the whole car”. A quick look at the pedals will tell of the mileage, as mentioned not much effort on the seller’s part. If it is as stated a museum should be its final resting place.

    Like 7
  6. Ken Carney

    Hi Geomechs! Agree with you 100%! I’d
    have to teach Mom to drive a 3 on the tree or let my BIL drive us around town in
    it. My memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I think
    that a company named Hercules provided
    all the wagon bodies for GM as they had
    yet to build a wagon plant. I also think
    that it was ’41 when they started building
    these in-house. Oh sure, I have enough
    here to make a prtrait–but a porttrait’s
    all I’ll have too. I like the car but I can
    think of better ways to spend $65K.

    Like 6
  7. Robert White

    I’ll get a Woodie when my bank account gets a woodie too.

    Bob

    Like 2
  8. canadainmarkseh Member

    If you can’t afford to buy this woodie, then buy an old panel truck and make your own woodie. That is about the only way I could afford to buy a woodie. And I’d build it out of cedar that stuff will go 30 years before it rots out. I’ve said this before on here that I’ve given serious thought in turning my 1951 dodge Mayfair 2door hard top into a phantom woodie. I know these are very desirable but $65k seems excessive to me the other thing about these is they are high maintenance. You have to be keeping an eye out for deterioration you have to keep refinishing the wood too, depending of course on it’s exposure to the elements.

    Like 3
  9. Jay E.

    It looks like it should come right off the set of “On Golden Pond”. What a time capsule, wouldn’t change a thing except a bath and proper storage. Wish there were more photos to wonder over. I’d pay just to see this car.
    57 Chevy completely restored or this? Choices, Choices. I really have a hard time wrapping my head around having 65K to tie up on either one, 10K seems to be my limit on a car these days, but apparently there are plenty of others with cash to burn.
    Then there are burned up, rusted out Mopars… Can you head shake and eye roll at the same time?

    Like 2
  10. bobhess bobhess Member

    For that money it should come with lifetime termite protection. If it’s that good a car it would nice to see it outside and clean.

    Like 4
  11. Stilbo

    NADA Values
    1940, Chevrolet, KB Master 85 Wagon:
    $51,800-$103,000
    Wood isn’t specifically mentioned but this seller is in the ballpark.
    Mechanical restoration, cleaning, buffing you’d end up with a gem probably worth a lot more than the selling price.
    Especially since much of the mechanical stuff is still available at NAPA.

    https://www.nadaguides.com/Cars/1940/Chevrolet/KB-Master-85/Station-Wagon/Values

  12. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I guess I was about 5 or 6 years old when a family from our church went o vacation in their woodie wagon. While driving through San Francisco a concrete mixing truck flipped over on their car killing the father and severely injuring other family members. One boy (Wesley) had to have several skin grafts resulting in lifetime facial and body scars.
    Woodies were known for being squeaky noisy wagons, but with a great deal of charm. I like the looks but am not inclined to own one.
    God bless America

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      My dad could never figure out what people saw in woodies. When he was a kid, he was in cub scouts and boy scouts, and went to some camps in woodies. ‘Cold, drafty, dusty and squeaky, were the terms he used to describe them. He said the dust almost choked you to death on some of those mountain roads. Of course I never shared his attitude, however, if I occasioned to have one or access I might see firsthand what he went through…

      Like 4
    • Ken

      Gee…what a cheerful, uplifting story to begin a beautiful Saturday morning. Thanks for sharing…I guess.

      Like 2
    • Robert White

      If God blessed America you would not have politicians, John.

      Bob

      Like 5
  13. Ken

    If this seller wants me to buy this car, he’s gonna take it out of the shed, wash it, and take a lot more pictures. As Chebby said above, if you want top dollar, make it presentable.

    Like 1
  14. robert

    be advised many of these woodies are not factory manufactured, but during WW2 ,you could send your sedan to waterloo, ny and get a woodie wagon back.
    I had the privelige? of creaking to Boy Scouts in one of these in the late 1950’s

    Like 1
  15. Teerod

    Yes woodies are insanely priced, great if you have one, but it s*cks if you don’t. Yes they can be drafty, squeaky and noisy until they are modernized.They were designed to be as tough as a truck but still look good at the beach or the mountains or at the country club. But remember there is real wood on the inside too and combined with the smell of leather seats its an experience like no other. I have two. I must be crazy.

    Like 1
  16. Gaspumpchas

    Teerod, I worked for a guy that had a 34 ford Woody. All original, still had mechanical brakes, v8 flatmotor. To me , this is one of the nicest old cars I ever saw. Original faded beige paint. The flattie started on the second revolution no matter how long it sat or how cold it was. It stopped well, straight as an arrow, and there wasn’t a squeak or rattle in the body. Like you said–driving this beauty is an experience like no other!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 3
  17. Franklin Jarvis

    Always nice to see barn finds. For some reason this one just does not look right. It appears that it may have been restored or refurbished once in its life. Still a nice find but I would check it closely to verify.

    Like 1
  18. Gregg

    Seats totally wrong. Color wrong for 1940. Wood trim incorrect. Dash wrong color. Antenna in wrong place. Not an original factory body from Campbell, the company that made the bodies for 1940 Chevrolet wagons. This is likely a body made by some independent manufacturer in 1940 (or later) or a home-made body.

    Like 1

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