Restored 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Woody Wagon

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Woody wagons are as old as autos themselves. In the early 1900s, they were customs of a sort – a car company or owner delivered a chassis to a specialty coachbuilder and received back a woody. The vehicles were almost exclusively used for commercial purposes. In 1923, the short-lived Star brand, a division of Durant Motors, made a station wagon bodied as a woody. Then in 1929, Ford produced its factory-built woody, aimed at commercial users. But the new vehicle seemed popular with all manner of buyers, and Ford sold over 5000 of them in that one year. Chevrolet’s first woody emerged in 1931, with its body made by outside suppliers. Woody wagons were heavy, expensive to make, and difficult to maintain, so after a couple of decades, the woody faded off the sales brochures, and soon, only used versions could be had. Here on craigslist is a wonderful representative of this bygone era, a 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster woody wagon, with an asking price of $78,000. This imposing vehicle is located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We have Guntar Kramer to thank for this tip!

The Fleetmaster, arriving in 1946, was Chevrolet’s post-war version of the Special Deluxe. The base car was called the Stylemaster; trim levels determined submodels. Available in multiple body styles, all were powered by a 3.5-liter six-cylinder motor, with gearchanges courtesy of a column-shift three-speed manual. With only 90 bhp and that heavy wooden body, performance was not the point. The seller notes that this car has its original mill, which has been rebuilt. The odometer reads just over 120,000 miles, but clearly, this wagon is not showing its age or mileage.

The car’s interior is in near-new condition. One of the most charming features of this wagon is the wood “headliner”. Continuing the theme, the exterior roof is leatherette covering wooden slats. The seller indicates that the wood grain dash was restored by a well-known craftsman, and the seats, door panels, and roof were done by Hampton Coach.

Attrition among woody wagons has reduced the available population; that said, prices have been falling over the last ten years. This wagon is meticulously restored, though if you are an absolute stickler, the cars only came in Oxford Maroon and Live Oak Green, so this Maple paint is not original. That would not be my first concern here – rather, my focus is price. This vehicle has been for sale for several months. A top-notch concours example is benchmarked at $76k and this one sold several years ago for far less. My guess is if he’s a serious seller, he will need to consider a discount.

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Comments

  1. "Edsel" Al leonardMember

    Probably have over $100k in it…..nice ride but……….

    Like 4
  2. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    The fact that it was featured on Hemmings,who typically deal with high end classics, and now is on CL? Something not right there. The wagon was the top of the line, and therefore, the most expensive. I read, this cost TWICE what a 2 door sedan cost at over $2100 dollars, or over $34,000 today. I see it has the bent gas pedal I joke about, and people spend a fortune on advertising props, got some S.Cal deli name all over it, you know, the kind on TV, big smiles, everybody happy,,,

    Like 4
  3. Steve3n

    Now this “Woody” needs to be coupled to the same era wooden inboard boat. Take that to a car show.
    If I lived on a lake, this would be a nice combo.

    Like 11
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Like the car, but it’s too somber looking for me. Maybe if the seller
    dolled it up a bit, he might get a few
    more takers. White wall tires, some
    chrome speed line trim on the fenders, and fog lights would really
    make this wagon pop. But that’s
    just me. There was one such wagon
    like this one in my hometown in the
    ’60s and ’70s. It was owned by an
    elderly widow who would shop at the
    same Kroger store my parents shopped at about that time. One day,
    I was with my Mom at the store when
    she saw the old woman with a cart full of groceries walking towards the
    wagon and suggested that I walk over
    and help her load the groceries into
    the car. The old woman thanked me
    and tried to start the car and it didn’t
    fire up. I got my toolbox from the trunk and started checking things out
    under the hood. Turned out that it was a clogged sediment bowl on the
    carburetor where the fuel line fed into
    it. After cleaning the crap out of the
    bowl, I replaced it and the old 6 fired
    up and ran just fine. She thanked me
    again and drove away. And while I
    never saw her or the car again,.my Mom was very proud of me for taking
    the time to get involved and help the
    old woman with her car. Got a brand
    new set of Craftsman tools for Christmas that year too. Great find!

    Like 5
    • Charles Turner

      Well the car has been restored, so I’m assuming for the sake of authenticity the guy went with blackwall tires. What you refer to as “chrome speedline trim” was only used on the 1942-48 Fleetline Aero sedan & Fleetline Sportmaster sedan models. So just sayin’……authenticity, that’s all.

      Like 0
  5. Will Fox

    The craftsmanship alone that went into these we will never see again. A beautiful restoration, and it appears very correct of course. Back in `46-`47 my Dad was fortunate enough to get a New Yorker Town & Country cvt.! Perfect car to have for when they moved out to CA. Wish I could have rode along!

    Like 5
  6. KurtMember

    I bet seller can produce receipts justifying the price. That’s the danger of this hobby, we let love of cars overwhelm our budgetary common sense. Been there, spent that.

    Like 10
  7. TheOldRanger

    Wow, this one really brings back old memories. My stepfather got one of these around 1953 (7 of us kids) and we loved it because it had a lot of room compared to a 4 door sedan.
    He never appreciated any of his cars and he moved onto another car a year later (also used). This one would be a joy to have, but oh the upkeep on that wood.

    Like 4
  8. charlieMember

    It is “on” Cape Cod, not “in” Cape Cod. The Cape (as it is known) has a dozen different towns, so it would be “in” Provincetown, “on” Cape Cod. Or “in” Cape May, NJ, which is a town as well as the land form. And a handsome car that I would love to own.

    Like 3
  9. Kim in Lanark

    It always puzzled me why woodies hung on for so long after the market was large enough to have factory built wagons. It never made economic sense. What practical advantage was there?

    Like 0
  10. Kenneth Carney

    There was a car just like this in my hometown of Bloomington, Illinois back in the ’60s and ’70s. It was owned by an elderly widow who
    shopped at the same Kroger store my parents often shopped at as well.
    One Saturday morning I was with my
    Mom at the checkout line when I saw
    this old woman with a cart full of groceries walking towards that very
    same car. Mom asked me to go and
    help the woman load them into her
    car as she was struggling to load it
    herself. After we finished, she thanked me and went to start the car
    and it didn’t start so I grabbed my
    toolbox from the trunk and started checking things out under the hood.
    Turned out to be a clogged sediment bowl on the carburetor where the fuel
    would enter the float bowl. For our
    younger readers, it’s a small glass
    bowl that connects to the bottom of
    the carb at one end and to the fuel line at the other. After cleaning the
    crap out of the bowl, I replaced it and
    the old Chevy started and ran like new. The woman thanked me again
    and drove off and I never saw either
    her or the car again. And Mom? She
    was very proud of me for taking the time to fix the woman’s car for her.
    Somehow, I got a brand new set of
    Craftsman tools for Christmas.
    Good times, great find!

    Like 11
  11. CarbobMember

    I like this a lot. I haven’t seen a Chevy Woodie like this in some time. Seems like most of the woodies are Mopar Town and Country which I also like a lot. Of course I don’t have the bank for any of them. LOL. I don’t really know what this car is worth in today’s market. I wonder what it would really take to satisfy the seller. Once again BF provides the salve for my old car itch.

    Like 3
  12. HCMember

    Just Woody, beautiful, original and yes, sexy. The seller/owner has done a great job bringing this car back to this condition, so he can ask anything he wants for her. Where are you going to find another one in this shape? So I won’t complain about the price he’s asking. He’ll get it.

    Like 2
  13. George Birth

    Many people see the word antique and immediately see $$$$.
    While this is a a beautiful old car, the upkeep on all that wood ain’t going to be cheap. And with a vinyl top you can expect to have to replace it at sometime in the future, and that to won’t be cheap.

    Like 0
  14. matt

    Kenneth Carney…
    Yeah,
    Oil bath air cleaners too.

    Like 1
  15. Bakes

    Absolutely stunning restoration. This car is going to go for a lot of money but it also has had a lot thrown into it. Would be an absolute riot to have this car out on the Cape and tooling around all summer. Good luck to the seller!

    Like 1
  16. HCMember

    I’m guessing that’s a 216 6 cylinder engine and that the 235 came a little later. In any case, yes whoever brought her back to this condition has spent plenty of time and money. This quality car needs to pulling a similar age Chris Craft boat behind it. Great find

    Like 4
  17. Mountainwoodie

    All things considered, I think the price is low.
    Of course I have a vested interest in the prices not collapsing. Part of the reason that prices fell in the last decade was the big sell off of the Nick Alexander collection. Alexander owns a BMW dealership in LA I think. He bought up many cars from people I know. He had a shop that did nothing but restore them. The sales proceeds apparently went to charity….and many of the cars sold for stupid money.
    I think its fair to say if you bought a Nick Alexander Woodie you may take a bath. If you own a Woodie because you love them for what they are, you’ll be fine. It’s practically a spiritual experience to own one. Ever since I first saw them, I was hooked and fortunate to get one a long time ago. .
    Chevies aren’t seen as much at Woodie shows so there’s that. To my eye they are a little more austere looking than Fords. This one is very well maintained. The color change may or may not affect the price. Eventually as they aren’t making any more the market will snap back. I mean folks are paying ridiculous prices for cars we used to buy and sell for a grand, so while some may think the Woodies time has passed, I’m guessing its still to come.

    Like 2
  18. Göran Eriksson

    Hello.

    Here in Sweden at a automuseum we have The Beach Boys
    tour car for the early years.. a 1948 Chevy woodie that there
    parents had to drive becuse they were to young to drive..
    Nice car..

    Göran in Sweden

    Like 2
    • Mountainwoodie

      Goran

      Very Interesting. Maybe the museum would like to join SoCal Woodies or San Diego Woodies.we’d love to know more about the car and how it got to Sweden where I spent a summer in Helsingborg in 1976.

      here are some links to the two clubs

      https://socalwoodieclub.com/

      https://sandiegowoodies.com/

      Like 0
  19. Kenn

    Amazingly, I see no complaints about the “Continental Kit”! As far as upkeep of the wood is concerned, if it is sanded and varnished annually there won’t be much, and for someone who loves woodies, as I do, it’s a pleasurable way to spend time. Wish I still had the 1948 Ford Sportsman convertible owned in ’53.

    Like 1
  20. Kenneth Carney

    Yeah Matt, that was there too. And
    when I was poking around under the
    hood, I noticed that the engine bay
    was nearly spotless and the engine
    itself was almost clean enough to
    eat off of! Seems like the old woman
    was very picky when it came to the
    wagon. All the maintenance items
    had been recently done and tagged
    with the correct stickers and decals
    in place. Can’t say what made me
    think to check the sediment bowl on the carburetor but I’m glad I did. If I
    would’ve needed parts to fix the problem we’dve been out of luck as
    the auto parts store on Division Street
    had just closed and wouldn’t have been open til Monday. All I could think of at the time was “What if this
    lady was my Mom?” Would anyone
    stop to help her? Anyway, I found it to
    be a real treat to work on such a well
    ordered car with all the setting instructions in place. Getting it going
    was a snap and I had a good time doing it.

    Like 1

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