Maine Barn Find: 1940 Ford “Woodie” De Luxe

I have had the opportunity to review some really nice woodie wagons over the last several months. All were either in nice, original condition or had been completely restored. This 1940 Ford, unfortunately, is neither. Nevertheless, it still warrants a review. Located in South China, Maine is this 1940 Ford De Luxe “woodie” wagon and it is available here on eBay for a current bid of $14,300, twenty-one bids tendered so far.

Right off the bat, the fabric roof covering is flayed to the point of mostly non-existence. It creates an interesting perspective as one can see the longitudinal “stringers” (rafters?) that comprise the roof structure. Imagine that being allowed with today’s safety standards! Ford informational details from the day indicate that the construction is comprised mostly of Maple with some Birch used as well. The side paneling has been painted, at some point in the past, probably with a brush, and in places where the paint has worn away, some notable deterioration is present. You’re going to need a good carpenter to help with this car. The steel body components, fenders, hood, cowl, etc. appear sound, however. There is a light coating of surface rust in places but no signs of rust through or crash damage. The running boards may be an exception, they look a bit shakey.

The interior is pretty rough. It’s dirty and worn and has an obvious headliner issue. Some of the door cards are missing and while all three seats are present, they will need new threads. It’s hard to get a good look at the floor, the covering looks decrepit but the real concern is the condition of the steel pans – no way to know for sure if there is any rust-through present. The instrument panel is intact however; unfortunately, it looks as if the clock is missing. No word regarding the operability of the instrument panel gauges.

Under the hood is an 85 HP,  221 CI, flathead, V8 that does not appear to have turned a revolution on its own in a very long time though the seller claims that this Ford is driveable – that seems questionable but I’ll have to take his word for it. The seller makes no mention of the engine’s condition or its status but it is safe to assume that it will need some work if not a complete tear-down and rebuild. As is usually the case, there is a three-speed manual gearbox backing up the flathead.

This De Luxe woodie wagon is one of about 4,400 wagons produced by Ford in ’40 though I was not able to find a breakdown between the De Luxe and the standard woodie wagon. So, this Ford is not exactly rare but it’s not commonplace either. These are, nevertheless, very popular cars but there is a lot here to consider as far as undertaking a restoration is concerned as there is metalwork, interior, mechanical, and woodworking to be facilitated and the woodworking piece is probably the biggest challenge. It would be interesting to know if any of our readers have ever owned a woodie and if so, how did you handle the carpentry needs?

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Comments

  1. TimM

    The metal looks in good shape for the most part but get out the carpentry tools for the rest!! Cool find without a doubt!!!

    8
  2. Scott M

    Wow, great car! My two ways of looking at it- deep pockets and basically a donation of love to the hobby, or a good set of skills and a reasonable return on investment. Either way, a unique car saved!

    9
  3. ken tilly UK

    Some major surgery needed here.

    2
  4. AMCFAN

    My take is while a cool find it is going to take a pile of money to turn this into anything useful. It’s like taking a parts car and adding new paint.

    3
  5. Rodney - GSM

    Unless you enjoy sanding off your own skin with 60 grit sandpaper, this project may be a step too far. While admittedly a really great car in its day, it is hard to see an emotional or financial upside on this one when there are many better examples available. The question is, how much “skin” do you want in this game?

    4
  6. Woodie Master

    I have restored many Woodies and constructed numerous parts from scratch (steaming)..this is not for a amateur.. and I know a real wood shop would not touch it with a ten foot pole.. right now the woodie market is deader then a door nail in snow..even if you got it for free the cost to restore or the man hours necessary would not be worth the effort or money spent. It’s a parts car pure and simple today in 2020 with Covid and everything else going on.. just being realistic..

    12
  7. tommy c

    Someone said paint it the same as the Porsche but the painter heard PORCH

    6
  8. Joe Haska

    The Woodie Master, must be called that for a reason ,because is dead nuts on,correct about this car. Even if you got it for free in the market right now, you couldn’t restore it and sell it for what the restotation cost.
    The math dosen’t lie, but if you think you have it, knock your lights out.

    3
  9. dougie Member

    This is a no brainer. The car needs to be saved. It needs a Sugar daddy that can get the top craftsmen to do the job. Price -no object. Ending upside down.- doesn’t give a s..t. Please daddy. Step up and take one for the team.

    6
  10. charlie Member

    The wooden header on my ’39 MG drophead was rotted, the rest of the top frame pieces, and the top itself, a replacement, were OK. So my landlord and I reproduced it in oak. It took many hours, but it worked. That was just one piece, and we had the old one as a pattern. I suppose now one could fill in the bad places, sand it down, and use a 3 D printer to make a new one out of plastic. I had a ’40 Standard woody I paid $75 for, in much worse shape than this, and sold it for $275 two years later having not had time to do anything with it. It had NO useable wood, except the roof slats which because the canvas rubberized was solid, survived intact. My wife cried when I towed into the driveway, and my 3 year old son cried too, since he thought it would be our only car. “It’s all broken,” he said. My wife’s friend who was there, said, “At least it’s not another woman.” which made my wife feel a little better. When we met in 1968 I had a ’54 Corvette, a ’60 Jag XK 150, the ’39 MG, and a ’56 Chevy as my everyday car. So she was on notice.

    8
  11. Mountainwoodie

    While I agree with Woodie Master as to the cost of restoring this car, if it is a complete and original car it needs to be saved. They arent making a new ones!

    Back in the day when I was looking for a woodie to buy I wanted a ’40 as I always liked the front end. While I ultimately bought a ’47, I dont regret doing it. There is just something otherworldy and transporting about sitting in a woodie. Its like its 1947….the good part of 1947.

    I’m sure someone with the time and a hundred grand to restore it will buy it. I hope so.

    5
  12. Eastcoastwoodie

    I own the a 40 deluxe wagon dubbed the recycled40fordwoodie. My project can be viewed at http://www.recycled40fordwoodie.blogspot.com

    This one is a total loss.. all new wood needed.. it would be amazing if the front pans and rockers were not rusted.. the engine even if it runs, would require a total rebuild.. should the future owner need woodwork.. find me at eastcoastwoodies.com

  13. Richard Martin

    Calling on Jay Leno, come forward, Please!

    1
  14. Don

    Buy it + leave it alone.
    Option #1Use it in a Stephen King movie..

    Option #2park inside your restaurant + say Clark Gable once drove it 😁😁😁
    Option #3
    Donate to museum

  15. Regg

    There’s someone somewhere for everything.
    Let the market decide.
    Hopefully if the owner gets an appreciative buyer he can let it go to someone worthy.
    At a point it’s not so much the money as it is the right buyer.

    1
  16. Lee Matthews

    It deserves to be saved

  17. tommy c

    Driven at least the way it is.

  18. Kim Hunter

    There are guys out there with lots of time and skill who like a challenge. A great project for a retired cabinet maker or boat builder etc.

    1
  19. Pete

    $500.00

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