Only One Left: 1954 Campbell-Built Body Chevrolet 4400

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One of the well-known names in the Woody business from the days of yore is Robert Campbell, who purchased the old Waterloo Wagon Company in New York back in 1932 and transformed it into the Mid-State Body Company.  Their offerings included a variety of truck and station wagon-type bodies, with some falling into the very rare category such as this 1954 Chevrolet 4400 Woody Estate Bus, which the seller claims is one of only two 16-passenger transporter model bodies based on the Chevy 4400 produced for ’54.  But be forewarned this kind of rarity doesn’t come cheap, as the seller is hoping to pocket $355,777 from the sale, so if you’ve got some really deep pockets or are just curious like I was, this one can be seen here on eBay.  It’s located at Lucky Motors in Villa Park, Illinois.

We’d like to thank Barn Finds reader Jonny for sending us this tip!  Sadly, the other vehicle is said to have been destroyed in a fire, making this the sole surviving example, so if your automotive taste buds crave total exclusivity this one should be a winner.  This thing measures a whopping 23 feet long and has a height of 7 feet, taking the award for the largest body offered.  It was originally made for the Adirondack Lodge of NY to transport riders from the train station but has since undergone a no expense spared professional restoration, back to what is claimed to be better than its original condition.

This is actually quite the people mover, as there are 5 rows of seating inside, with a placement that actually looks quite comfortable and inviting, at least for short distances.  That roof offered an elegant surrounding for the passengers and still looks beautiful, with most of the original wood retained during the restoration.  The dashboard is mostly business, as the 4400 was typically more of a workhorse than a luxury cruiser.

Chevy offered two different inline 6-cylinder motors for the 4400 in ’54, including a 235 cubic-inch displacement and a slightly larger 261, although it’s not specified which is under the hood here.  Things in the engine compartment and on the underside look about as good as the inside and outside, and for more than a third of a million dollars, I’d expect nothing less.  It’s a beauty, but out of reach for most of us, although the seller has included the option to make him an offer.  What are your thoughts on this one?

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Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972Member

    OK, it’s one-of-a-kind and it’s really nice but seriously; $355,777? I don’t see it and it’s not just because I’m a FordGuy. That’s supercar money but I’m willing to see any and all comments justifying the six-figure ask.

    Like 28
  2. angliagt angliagtMember

    Again,they forgot to move the decimal point.

    Like 23
  3. geomechs geomechsMember

    I like what I see. This is something that I could never justify the price of even if I had the cash. But what a ride! If I had this I would drive it no matter how much it cost…

    Like 14
  4. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    The Ultimate Uber, with panache.

    Like 13
  5. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    You know, living in “Dollar Flats, Colorado”, I see what people spend. I’m clearly the minority on Social Security. BUT, in all fairness, these people have money, BIG money, regardless how it was gotten. So for someone to spend this kind of money on a prop for their business, is not out of the question. Being restored to “over the top” condition, it will fit right in here, where 2nd best doesn’t cut it. I really hate to gloat, but 2 watchers( one was me) and no bids, better lower their sights some. It really is a nice truck, but not “one of a kind”. All kinds of restored trucks like this, just maybe not in Illinois. Nice try, tho,,

    Like 15
    • Yblocker

      You must live in Summit County.

      Like 0
    • Will Fox

      I dunno Howard, only two built total, one burned to a crisp leaving THIS as the only one! You know of other `54 4400 Series chassis done up like this? I don’t. This is museum material in my book. There have been “other” multi-door shuttle trucks of this general variety built (Dodges, Packards, and the like) over the years for sure. How many survived? Probably able to count them all on one hand, and take away a couple fingers!

      Like 10
    • chrlsfu

      yup, da guys (& gals) w/the 3, 4 houses. One there, 1 Hollywood or Topanga, 1 south of france, an Whidbey or Orca Is.

      Like 1
  6. T. MannMember

    I like the 1954s windscreen the best, but,
    that is such a used-car dealer price…

    Like 4
  7. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    After viewing this vehicle on ebay. It is beautiful inside and out underneath super clean. That said it should be on Barrett-Jackson site or Mecum site. That’s where you’ll get the big bucks. Especially on a Saturday night auction on Barrett-Jackson. Good luck to the seller! 🇺🇸🐻🇺🇸

    Like 12
  8. LCL

    Anything is worth what the next person will pay for it.

    Like 8
    • Yblocker

      That’s an old saying, but not necessarily true, just because somebody has a boat load of money to throw around, doesn’t mean it’s worth it.

      Like 1
  9. James Quinn

    Dam! I only have $355,776.

    Like 15
  10. Yblocker

    So, you’re basically getting a bloated Woody, with a Stovebolt 6, for $377,000. And now that you have this big ole Woody, assuming one paid the price, watcha gonna do with it?

    Like 9
  11. Steve

    $355,777 worth of wood.

    Like 2
  12. jrhmobile

    Has something changed with the site today?

    Yesterday everything was fine, but when I got on the site today none of the pictures are appearing, and the thumbs-up symbols in the comments have disappeared. I can still click where the thumbs-up symbol WAS to uprate a comment, but the pictures have completely disappeared.

    Like 4
  13. Ed H

    It would be so cool for a business to use this for transportation, but the animals today would destroy it quickly.

    Like 9
    • Yblocker

      The animals today would destroy it? Are animals today that much different than the animals back then, or are you referring to the animals of the new generation?

      Like 6
      • JustPassinThru

        I expect he meant the upright kind.

        When this was built – and where it was put into service – people of that era, and of that class, RESPECTED property. Travel, by train or early aircraft, was a social event – people dressed as if going to church.

        I don’t know where the “Adirondack Lodge” is – I wonder if it was the Hotel Adirondack, in Long Lake, NY. That’s a fair jump from where the New York Central’s Adirondack Division ran, with its trains full of downstate tourists coming for the summer season. They wouldn’t be jumping up and down, and doing stretches on the roof stringers.

        A different time, more innocent, more civilized.

        Given the price, it’s out of reach for virtually all personal owners – even if one has the money, why do it? It’s museum material. And if that era is so far gone that museums don’t have interest in it…it’ll have to be re-listed, and price adjusted far down.

        And if that happens, I wonder what will happen to it.

        Like 16
      • JustPassinThru

        I got curious, so I did a search.

        The Adirondack Lodge apparently is in the Town of Webb, Herkimer County, NY – near Old Forge. I should have known that, having spent summers in the area when I was a kid and young adult.

        Much more high-rent than the Long Lake hotel.

        Yeah, I can see them using this for a shuttle, from the New York Central station in Thendara.

        Like 3
  14. My Blue Heaven '78

    Yeah, no pics for me also. Thought it was my puter.

    Like 0
    • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

      Our web host has been ironing out some issues. Thanks for your patience.

      Like 4
  15. BlondeUXBMember

    This truck has been on eBay for more than two years…

    Like 4
    • Frank Sumatra

      Two years does not surprise me based on the downturn in the travel and entertain industry during the C19 “disturbance”. There may be somebody out there with a upscale lodge or hotel willing to make a bet on this.

      Like 2
    • Rick

      At the price they’re asking it’ll probably be for sale for a few more years.

      Like 6
  16. nlpnt

    The way I see it, this could probably be recreated on a chassis that started out as something else like a box truck for around a hundred grand so you’re paying at least a quarter mil for history (if not originality since it’s been heavily restored).

    Rarity doesn’t really surprise me, I don’t see any real advantages it has over a single-door/full center corridor bus (of the type built by the thousands on chassis like this as small school buses) other than class and style (rapidly fading style in 1954 as lighter-duty station wagons had all gone to all-steel bodies).

    Like 4
  17. Yblocker

    I’ve never heard of the builder, I believe Cantrell Body was the most common.

    Like 2
    • Ron Bajorek

      big meet every year for Woodies (at least there was) in Waterloo NY, between Syracuse and Rochester, where this comapny was located. they Also Built Wooden School Buses

      Like 1
  18. Mountainwoodie

    Well, as we all know there doesn’t seem to be any price that a dealer is unwilling to ask no matter how ridiculous it seems. I harken back to another woodie where the predominant sentiment seemed to be that…..good luck.no one wants a woodie…..as the price fall. So extrapolating that sentiment out, this poor gal is gonna sit.

    I’ll bet someone in the National Woodie Club has a bead on this Campbell bodied “bus”. I’ll bet its mighty slow :)

    https://woodies.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=871106&module_id=302841

    On another topic, can I please seek BF’s indulgence and spell woodie, w o o d i e :)

    Like 2
  19. BravoCharelyWindsor

    Ebay watchers now up to 28, including myself. I suspect most of those are readers of this Barn Finds article inspired to watch what unfolds with no serious intention to bid, including myself.

    As far as the price, who can blame the owner for recouping the investment and avoid (minimize?) losses after shelling out lots of money for a (ill-advised) professional restoration. Too bad this wasn’t a talented individual restorer who invested their sweat equity rather than cash. It would be interesting to understand how much was invested and any profit above that at the asking price.

    I’d like to see this go to a museum in the Adirondacks or perhaps in any other areas where such vehicles transported urban vacationers from train stations to lodges. Such vehicles are a part of those lodges’ niche in history before everyone had a car and drove directly to their destinations. And while I might be (am?) WAY wrong, perhaps it could make a niche high end, limited use, limousine. But I would hate to see it degraded to such use given the lack of respect and decorum in today’s society as mentioned in other posts. I’ve seen how reckless, disrespectful, and inappropriate wedding party members can act on an occasion when they should be on their best behavior.

    Good luck to this vehicle, may it find the respectful home it deserves, regardless of cost.

    Like 6
  20. Fish56

    Wow, nice vehicle. Just remember, it’ll cost you more when adding the 8% sales tax onto that bloated asking price.

    Like 2
    • Yblocker

      That depends on where you live, if you’re from out of state, you pay sales tax in the state you live in, not the state you purchase the vehicle. In my case, it would be much less than 8%, but still a bundle.

      Like 4
  21. Carnut

    I have seen a few Campbells and this might be the longest one left for sure- I built and owned Woodies for decades (sold them off when the market was sizzling).. about ten years ago when the woody market was on fire I sold my collection and stopped building woodies (it was a hobby).. the reality is that a man traded me two 1970 chevelles one convertible and one coupe.. I ended up selling those for twice then what I was asking for the woody and figured out building woodies was a fools game..don’t get me wrong they are absolutely beautiful and if anyone wants a suburban with the woodie look just google it.. a few pics will come up I built a few..not campbells just wood attached to the metal bodies.. if you a wood worker not too difficult to figure out… if your a laminator or steamer.. get to work should take a few weekends..

    Like 4
  22. mike gordon

    Must be so really good dope in the midwest.

    Like 0
  23. Mike Gordon

    must be some really good methamphetamine in the midwest.

    Like 0
  24. pixelpusher

    It’s a beauty… I own a ’53, unmolested 3800 (1 ton) panel. Mine and this is a lot like work to drive around. Would love to see this in person. A lot of fine woodworking went into getting this back to this state. Thanks for sharing.
    Makes me excited to sell my panel in the coming months! One less digit in my future for sure!

    Like 2
  25. chrlsful

    my dad said he “rode a plywood sided school bus” 5d/wk on Eastern Shore Chesapeake Bay during the ’30. I imagine the elementary aged 96 y/o back then in something like this, way too big for a DD that the station wagon woodies were. Probably bigger, not the light wood/dark wood panels either (but flat w/’studs’ to inside).
    This is awful late fora woodie (in big 3 production) as tin woodie replaced the other in the late ’40s (last woodie ’53 Buick)

    Like 1
  26. Yblocker

    I think for the price, some new battery cables might be in order.

    Like 0
  27. jwaltb

    If it hasn’t already been said, the market determines the value.
    It’s that simple, whether we or I like it or not.

    Like 0
    • Yblocker

      It doesn’t appear that anybody’s knocking down the door to buy it. Nobody is gonna pay this crazy money, in this market, or any market. Nobody with half a brain anyway.

      Like 0
  28. Bob

    Don’t see it getting that kind of money, but it is a beaut!

    Like 0
  29. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    One of my favorite sayings:

    Sometimes an item is rare because it was expensive when new, and few people wanted to spend that much money.

    I suspect this saying is appropriate for this vehicle, both when new and today.

    Even if it was $35,000, corporations who cater to tourists won’t buy this for a variety of reasons, first is the ridiculous price. There are multiple companies making small luxury buses with the latest electronics, wet bars, etc., and one can likely buy 5 of them for less than the price of this vehicle.

    From a simple standpoint of maintaining this vehicle while making regular trips carrying the public, that alone makes it a poor choice. I operated a large vintage limo service, and the only reason we were able to provide our vehicles in a reliable manner was because I also owned a fully equipped large restoration shop.

    Then we come to the big factor: Liability. I can’t imagine ANY corporation dealing with public transportation needs, willing to shuttle people in a vehicle where the only “safety” item is laminated glass.

    I suspect the owner of this vehicle has consigned it to the selling dealer, and already had placed a high price on it. So the dealer puts his additional profit margin on the vehicle. Sounds like a great way for an owner to get free storage, for a vehicle that probably won’t fit into his home’s garage.

    And if they do find a wealthy buyer who doesn’t care about price, or an overseas buyer needing $355,777 in laundry service, then both the owner and dealer will rejoice!

    The only other uses for this vehicle are as a toy to take to car shows, or as a museum piece. I know plenty of VERY wealthy people, and none would spend that kind of money on this type of vehicle. And museums don’t like to spend cash, depending on people to donate vehicles 99% of the time.

    Like 3

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