Live Auctions

Surf Wagon! 1951 Ford Country Squire

A woodie! A for-real woodie built near the end of the wood/wood trim era. This beautifully restored example continues to survive the test of time and termites. The seller states that in spite of its like-new condition, this 1951 Ford Country Squire likes to be driven. It’s located in Laguna Beach, California and is available, here on craigslist for $39,000. Thanks to Pat L. for this tip!

The Country Squire was introduced in 1949 though it wasn’t called a Country Squire until early ’50. Using the name “Custom” the ’49 version did away with a wooden body and used wood panels and trim over a steel body. The seller states that this ’51 was the last of the true woodies and the wood paneling was, in fact, discontinued after the ’51 model year. Wood trim, however, was still employed by the Country Squire through ’53. Total 1951 Country Squire production was about 29K copies.

There are no underhood images but the seller states that this Ford possesses a stock 100 HP, 239 CI, flathead V8 with a three-on-the-tree, overdrive equipped, three-speed manual transmission. The seller claims, “Runs as smooth and cool as any flathead we’ve seen (and we’ve seen a lot!) In fact, when at idle, it’s hard to hear.” Curiously, about three weeks ago, I was in Laguna Beach and stood just about where this photograph was taken!

The exterior of this Country Squire is spotless! It has been refinished in an original color know as Shoal, a gray-green mixture. The finish is a mile deep and works perfectly with the brown and tan paneling/trim. Ditto the chrome and trim – spectacular luster. I’m not sure what has to be done to maintain automobile wood paneling. I have boat familiarity but that’s another environment entirely. Whatever the case, the cellulose fibers have either been properly maintained or professionally restored or maybe a little bit of both. I imagine that indoor storage is a must to maintain the originality of wood paneling/trim. Finally, it always seemed unusual that station wagons in this era were often two-door body styles. It’s definitely a big styling enhancer but not the best for functionality.

The interior has been reupholstered in a mocha-colored fake leather; as the seller suggests it’s perfect for wet swimming trunks. There is also a custom Hawaiian-flavored headliner that has been added. The dash, instrument panel, steering wheel, gauges, and door cards are just perfect.

The seller states, “It would be a shame to hot rod this Woodie as it’s such a great driver. The car has won a few Woodie car show awards, but truthfully, she ain’t no trailer queen as it likes to be driven.” That’s good to know, and I agree, hot-rodding this Country Squire would be a travesty but to each, their own. Being a driver is a great attribute, I will not own an old car that I fear to drive. That said, the price for this Country Squire puts it in the “Drive very carefully and watch where you park category”, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    I’ll “hot rod” anything but gems like this one. Wow!

    Like 9
  2. sir_mike

    Surfs up….don’t change anything please…

    Like 9
    • Stan Marks

      I totally agree, Mike.That includes the “surfer stuff”, too.
      Leave those stickers alone. If they are original, they’re worth big bucks. Back in the day, woodies were identified with the surfer culture.

      The woodie was closely associated with surfers and Surf-rock, e.g., “I bought a ’34 wagon and we call it a woodie” from the classic Surf City by Jan and Dean or the 1963 instrumental “Boogie Woodie” by The Beach Boys.

      Like 5
  3. Steve R

    I really like it, except they overdid it with the tacky surfer stuff. Removing most of the decals, surfboards and other trinkets would do wonders. The car looks nice enough that it stands up on its own merits, there is no reason for them to be they. Having that many items makes the owner seem desperate for attention.

    Steve R

    Like 12
    • Gray Wolf

      Steve R, you are not totally informed! This was the way it was done back I the day! These decals, not stickers, were the thing to have, just like you see the state decals on RV and station wagons, as validity to where you visited. They displayed the surf shops you visited as you drove the coast surfing. If these are the real “water slide” decals, they can sell for $30+ and are quite valuable. The owner isn’t looking for attention, just recreating the time period, or saving what was already there. If you surfed back then, you had a least one decal of a board you owned, on your car. Wagons just had big windows to display them instead of in your room. Most people would not remove them, as it adds value to the vehicle like this woody!

      Like 7
      • Steve R

        A handful of vintage water slide decals are one thing, but most, if not all of these appear to be vinyl decals. A few early decals go a long way but they age and fade in a certain way over time that isn’t present on these. All of the plaques on the dash and the pin striping on tire cover point to this being dressed up for show and there are way too many stickers of current manufacturers.

        I’ve been selling stickers and decals for years at swapmeets, I have thousands dating back to the 50’s, these do not appear to be vintage from the pictures in the ad.

        Steve R

        Like 3
      • Stan Marks

        You’re totally correct, Gray.
        I looked at these decals, with my magnifying glass. I can’t tell if they’re originals or not.
        I checked out pics, of other ’51 woody dash boards.They’re the same.
        Many of them did not have a wood tailgate. I’m figuring it was an option, back then.

    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Seems like every guy with a wagon with woodgrain
      just HAS to have surfboard (or two) on the roof.Many of
      these wagons are pristine.
      The surfers who actually used these for surfing bought
      them because they were cheap & most of them were pretty
      beat up.

      Like 2
      • Gray Wolf

        I have a ‘66 Impala S/W, put the boards on the roof or inside, not equipped with wood! Yes wagons were cheap (not Nomads) and they transported people and boards. Cheap hotel and great for the drive-in!

        Like 1
      • Stan Marks

        They were cheap & beat up, because most surfers were dirt poor.

        Like 1
  4. Larry Ashcraft

    The dash doesn’t look right. Looks like a 49 or 50.

    Like 1
  5. FrankFitz

    1951 Ford station wagons used Dashboard from 1950 Ford. It is correct on this car.

    Like 6
    • Larry Ashcraft

      Thanks, I didn’t know that. My first car was a 1951 Ford Tudor, but that was over 50 years ago.

      Like 1
    • Will Fox

      Why? Locally we have a `51 wagon with the correct `51 dash.

      Like 1
  6. TODD F

    After ’51 the wood trim was actually applique over metal which gave rise to the term ‘tin woodie’. So the owner is correct, this was the last year for the ‘wooden’ woodie.

    Like 2
    • Gray Wolf

      A “tin woody” is a total metal car, no wood at all! I believe Chevy started the year with wood, then went to metal the same year. From then on they were “tin woody’s”.

      • Todd F

        Chevy and Pontiac, maybe Olds switched over to tin woodie construction, midyear 1949. I know because I have one of the last wooden Indians built.Tin woodies are faux wood plastic appliques over a metal body, or in other words, all metal construction.Ford graduated to all metal after 1951 with the exception that the tailgate on the 51 was all metal. The only wooden woodie made after 1951 was the Buick, for two more years until 1953.

  7. gaspumpchas

    In the movie “A summer Place” with Troy Donahue and the smokin’ hot Sandra Dee, there was a 51 woodie used at the inn. Often wonder what happened to the Woodie, wagon that is. Stay safe and good luck!

    Like 1
    • Stan Marks

      The ’51 Woody, used in “A Summer Place”,was probably one of the studio’s picture cars. During the 70s, I worked at most of the studios, in the transportation dept. I also drove stunts on many cop shows, too.The major studios had a garage full of vehicles, used in shooting movies & TV. They would hire outside vendors, who specialized in old cars, from the 30s,40s,50s & 60s. They would bring them in on car carriers. On shows like Rockford Files, Kojak, Adam12, Starsky & Hutch, etc., the studios owned them. We would have multiple cars in each show. We would use one or two, to bang up. They spent a lot of time in the body shop. When we shot American Graffiti, the studio owned most of the main cars, like the ’56 white T-Bird, ’32 yellow Ford Deuce coupe, ’55 Chevy & the ’58 Impala. These were considered feature cars. The Woody used in A summer Place, wasn’t considered a feature car. No telling what happened to that. Some of the most notable cars, were the ’68 Mustang Bullitt car & ’58 Plymouth Fury (Christine)

      • gaspumpchas

        Hi Stan- fascinating experiences thanks for sharing!!!

        Like 1
  8. Richard Romm

    These later ’51s did NOT have wood on the back tailgate, so this one is correct as I remember it, complete with the ’50 dash.

    Like 1
    • Stan Marks


  9. Stan Marks

    Terrific little story, on the ’39 Ford Woody.

    Like 1
  10. Gray Wolf

    Stickers do not last very long because they are outside and water slides (decals) last much longer, but do fade. I am going to have to replace a couple of vinyl stickers that are cracking, but my decals are good to go! I would like original decals, but not for $30-$50 plus!

  11. Phlathead Phil

    Sha-weet! Don’t get no better!

  12. Jenkins Leon

    A 51 car had a different dash. the wheel is 51. We had a 49 wagon and I’ve owned many 49-50 cars and to me this dash is not 51.

  13. Jenkins Leon

    Stan: Exactly!!!!!!!!!! The last view you showed is a true 1951 , my brother had two which they called victorias. The only thing I can come up with is the one featured could have been in the middle of a model change. Read the willys jeepster featured and see some of their model changes. Leon

    Like 1
    • Stan Marks

      BTW… This one is a ’51 Crestliner.

  14. Stan Marks

    Glad I could clear things up, my friend. Have a great weekend.

  15. David Scully

    Back in the day, (1960’s and 70’s) I owned and drove all of that series of woodies (one ’49, two ’50s, and two ’51s). That is a mostly correct ’51 – the dash was the same as in the 49-50 models, but I don’t ever remember any chrome stripping on the dash boards – that was a 50-51 Crestliner thing. The steering wheel is correct. My ’49 had a wood-covered tail gate – all the others were flat wood-colored tones (light and dark brown) over the steel stamping, never body paint color like this one – I cannot recall any wood grain paint on the dash or interior window frames. All of my cars had chrome frames on the windshield and the 50-51s had a ‘Custom’ spear on the fenders. One of the ’51s was a Fordomatic – the only one I’ve ever seen.with that option, and it was slooooooow (too much weight I guessed)….

  16. David Scully

    P.S. to my last comments – In my car crowd in San Diego and in the National Woodie Club, we called all the wagons after 1951 “steelies”… I very briefly had a ’50 Mercury woodie and I recall it had a wood-grained dash

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