Real Deal Wood: 1947 Pontiac Wagon

1947 Pontiac Woodie Wagon

I know we’ve featured a lot of wagons lately, but after featuring so many faux woodies I felt the need to feature a wagon with some real wood on it. And it just so happened that there is a barn find woodie that was recently posted here on eBay. This 1947 Pontiac Woodie is the real deal with a handcrafted hardwood body. It needs refinishing, but the seller claims it is still solid! If you’re in the Natick, Massachusetts area, this one would definitely be interesting to take a look at in person!

Pontiac Woodie Project

After being discovered and pulled out of the barn in 2010, it went into the seller’s heated garage. It has resided there ever since, awaiting a restoration that never came. Thankfully, the seller didn’t start pulling the car apart, so it’s complete and untouched. Restoring a woodie wagon is a massive undertaking that takes a considerable amount of time, knowledge, and skill so I understand why they never got around to it. Hopefully the next owner will have the means to get it back on the road!

Pontiac Wood Panel

In my younger years I was quite the avid woodworker, so when I look at a wagon like this I see both a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and a mountain of work. Getting wood panels to fit together so precisely, yet still leave the right amount of room for expansion and contraction takes the right equipment, exact math, and a steady hand. The seller claims there are two soft spots in the wood, which could require taking the body apart and replacing the effected panels. If they aren’t structural sections, I would be tempted to leave them alone and just reinforce those two spots from the inside. If the rot is severe, there are kits out there with all new wood panels, but I’ve heard their fit and finish isn’t the best.

Pontiac Woodie Roof

Certain jobs really should be left up to professionals and doing a complete restoration of a woodie is one of those jobs that I would want to have an expert address. Tasks like rebuilding the engine, brakes, and interior are simple enough. Even repairing rust is a job that most of us can do, but pulling out rotted wood and installing all new panels might be a task for someone who has done the job before. If you’re daring enough to tackle the job yourself, then I salute you and wish you the best!

1947 Pontiac Woodie Project

The seller doesn’t offer much information about their car, other than the things I’ve already mentioned, but they did provide a lot of photos. As you can see, it is going to need a lot of work, with a fair amount of that being rust repair and metal work. If the wood is still solid enough to be left alone, other than refinishing it that is, I would focus on getting it safe and road worthy. I’d leave the complete restoration to someone with the means to do one, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t still make it drivable and enjoyable. Whether you do a complete restoration or just get it running and restain the wood, this Pontiac will look amazing when it’s back on the road.

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Comments

  1. Rich

    This is one that I’d just get running and drive it as is. I like this patina on it. I’d definitely treat that wood to a nice coat of oil and marine varnish though.

  2. scott allison

    This is the same car you featured on May 12, 2014.
    I noticed it down in the Related Finds area at the bottom of the page!

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      Yep, moved from Mass. to North Carolina. Both are salt environments. Dang this thing looks cool..

  3. Vince Habel

    did not remember them having a wood headliner.

  4. scott allison

    I’d restore it back to original.
    Add a couple of surf boards on the roof, and jam to the Beach Boys!

  5. junkman Member

    This a nice looking example, albeit a tad rich for me. Not a cheap restoration though. When buying off the computer, keep in mind that all cars look better in the pictures.

  6. socaljoe

    Real Deal Rust too!

  7. Mike D

    the writer of this article is well versed on the job the woodwork would entail,, which is a lot! one would have to have deep pockets for this one! On one hand, it may be neat to see this motoring around town as is , but to bring it back to factory would be a real attention getter as factory, would also make it a trailer queen . possibly a few modern touches, but would leave it at least 90% factory

  8. shawnmcgill

    I absolutely love this one! You see Fords and Chryslers around, but when’s the last time you saw a Pontiac woodie?

    I just checked, and the bid is $10,300, and the reserve isn’t met. Still a couple of days to go. Like most everything I like, already priced out of my comfort zone. Whoever made the comment about how expensive the woodwork will be is spot on! I’m guessing that every piece would have to be custom hand made.

    If I somehow wound up with it, I think I’d have to just get it street worthy and enjoy it as it is. It probably deserves a high quality full restoration, but then you’ve turned it into a trailer queen, and it needs to be driven!

  9. RandyatBBY

    Brings back memory’s I had a friend in high school that had a 1947 Buick woodie that we drove all over Palm Springs in the sixties.

  10. Alan (Michigan)

    A car with great potential. So glad that the seller did not go ahead with the chop job. That seems almost criminal for this rare car. But I wonder if the seller is threatening that, just to push someone over the edge and into making a high bid, so that it won’t happen. I wnder how stratospheric the reserve is?

    Anyway, a good restoration tech is needed, and a cabinet maker/woodworker for the non-steel parts! But it could be absolutely beautiful with the investment of time and $. I wonder how many of the Pontiac woodies survive?

    Or, do a mechanical refitting and drive as-is. I like that idea too. Gotta love the straight 8. But the photo I want to see is not included: One from a side front, with the door open! I want to see how those fender extensions look when clearing the rest of the fender. The manufacturing guys must have grumbled a lot at the styling people when that design came in for engineering. Heh!

  11. geomechs geomechs Member

    It deserves a driver-restoration. Strip the finish off the wood, sand it down and refinish it, repairing rotted sections along the way. The metal should also be done. Mechanicals and a repaint, and get it on the road. Sorry, I’m not a fan of patina; I grew up with too many vehicles rusting away from the elements from the top down and patina just brings too many bad memories to the surface.

  12. tom999p

    Good thing the dingbat selling it didn’t cut it into a two door and restomod it like he said he was going to do…

  13. Woodie Man

    Great that it is one piece. Start with the wood………..figure ten thousand dollars to pull it apart replace the needed wood..not fill it, rebuild it, replace the top, eight coats of varithane etc,

    Pull the remaining sheet metal off of it down to the frame………..tear apart the frame, sand blast paint……………all new rubber bits on the front and rear end……replace all mechaincal parts in the front end and rear. rebuild engine and tranny if necessary (going to be necessary or at least all the seals).

    Put it all back together.

    A similar project on a well maintained ’47 Ford Super Deliuxe that needed a new door built and a new firewall from another car.but was a daily maintained vehicle till the rebuild………….cost 48 K in 1999!.

    You can see where I’m going with this………and thats not the interior leather seating and extra bits that always seem to need to be replaced

    Not that its not worth doing..But bring a bank account

  14. Tbone

    It would be a shame to restore this one in my opinion. This one could be preserved as is. Far more unusual to see an original car like this today, than one that all the “character” has been restored away. Once it’s restored, it can never go back. Bumps, bruises, rust are real life, and seem to tell a story to me. Yes, get it running, and use it.

    • tom999p

      I agree, occasionally I put unrestored cars in shows that are beaten, battered and rusted, and they get more lookers than the $100k restorations ten feet away.. One of them even made it into a car magazine (this months issue of Super Chevy magazine) and I didn’t even know it until after the magazine came out!!!

  15. RickyM

    Really lovely car – with Tom and Tbone on this one – don’t restore it, just make it a safe driver.. Would look great !

  16. David

    That’s strange, another Pontiac. I guess they used a different wood or finish because they seem to be the only ones that haven’t rotted to oblivion.

  17. cliffyc

    Restored,this would be amazing (it’s cool now),would beavers not be a menace ??(he asked- cheekily from the UK,those little chaps not native here!). Popular “Woody”,here (and in US,I guess),is the Morris Minor Traveller,look great wirh the ash frame all shone up!.

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