Swayback: 1954 Woodill Wildfire

1954-woodill-wildfire

There were a number of American specials built during the 1950’s, but few were as handsome and unique as the Woodill Wildfire. The creator, Robert Woodill, like many other sports car enthusiasts of his day, desired a better sports car. While he was able to realize his dream, only a handful were ever built and very few remain today. This one is in very rough shape and is looking a little sway back. Hopefully it isn’t beyond saving. Take a look at it here on eBay out of of Greencastle, Pennsylvania.

1954-woodill-wildfire-engine

There were only 9 Wildfires built as production cars and the rest were offered as kits. This one came as a kit and was built on a Studebaker chassis and drivetrain. After years of sitting in the owner’s barn, the chassis has rusted away and as a result the fiberglass body is in rough shape. The straight six engine is looking rough as well and obviously doesn’t run.

1954-woodill-wildfire-rear

The most valuable and desirable part of this car is the Glasspar built fiberglass body, but it is in poor condition. It shouldn’t be too difficult finding a replacement chassis and drivetrain, but fixing the body is going to be a challenge and will require vast fiberglass repair experience. With any luck, someone will take on this project and save it from further decay. Sadly, the seller seems to think it is worth something simply because one was featured on the TV show Fast N’ Loud. We don’t see the added value there, but its role in Johnny Dark does sort of make us want one more…

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Comments

  1. Mike the Bike

    It’s hard to work up any excitement or enthusiasm, or see the potential in this one. There are so many other worthy and cool project cars out there that I’ve wanted for years, I couldn’t see investing any precious time or money here. Sorry, but I’m totally not feeling it. Can anybody tell me what I’m missing?

  2. memikeyounot

    You’re not missing anything in this car. I’m a car geek from way back and have never heard of this brande.

    It’s a car that’s really worn out and hard to even tell which end is which. I admire anyone who will do it and would like to see the end results, if there are any.

  3. Don Andreina

    Paint it yellow and sell bananas out of it. It’s an interesting piece of US arcana; apparently Woodill marketed it as the ’14-hour sports car’, theoretically taking 14 hours to build the kit. Somewhere out there is a one-off fastback.

  4. Dolphin Member

    “Chassis will need to be replaced as it is completely gone”
    “Fiberglass is all there but very thin”

    Hmmm…I hope that whoever tries to save it is real good at basic fabrication and actually gets down to it. This can’t take much more time out in the weather.

  5. paul

    Nice lawn art….. I guess.

    • paul

      Looks like the termites got to woody woodpecker.

    • Mark E

      A scrap MIG-21 from the former soviet union would be way more impressive as lawn art. Just sayin… ^_^

  6. Mark E

    Wow, is that a Kaiser Darrin in the Johnny Dark clip? Yes, you said what I was thinking when I saw the pictures…it will take a good ‘glass man’ to fix this one up! Hope the seller is not asking too much so this poor thing can get the TLC it so desperately needs!!

  7. KFD

    If it were me, I would get my hands on a modern S10 frame, section it to fit the Woody’s body, and throw a REAL 392 (you know, has a distributor, Made in America) Hemi in it, with a front-mounted Potvin and some ratty Chrysler Marine Valve Covers on it, and drive the snot out of it!

    • scot

      ~ front-mounted Potvin, made in America Hemi!!

  8. Dave @ OldSchool in Alabama

    .
    Stepchild of the Glasspar. It may be on a Willys chassis, which would have been one of the main options.

    We have a correct set of Mameco chassis rails, if anyone is interested in bringing it back to the original design..the bodies were made to fit ….. as well as a complete chassis with a 53 Hemi 331/354 you can take measurements from (it’s not for sale)

  9. Bryan Cohn

    A good looking car in its day, here are some photos of a good one:
    http://www.americansportscars.com/wildfire.html

    I think this one is beyond repair, the body being so out of shape there isn’t anything to restore. Jack up the radiator cap and drive a new one under it…..

  10. P Trout

    A True barn find.
    Also, quite a pile of trash at the moment.
    the good news… it’s a kit car.
    That means one can pretty much throw everything away except the body without repercussions.
    I don’t see this as a money maker. It’s a “labor of love” car.
    Someone that is REALLY GOOD with fiberglass should grab it and fix the body.
    Drop it on a modified 40’s Ford v8 sedan chassis, and drive it.

    Since it is not one of the 9 built at the factory, it will never have their value.
    But that does open up the door for a real enthusiast to build his 60’s dream car,
    without the rest of us crying about “originality”.

    BTW, the Woodill that was on F-n-L ended up in the hands of a serious collector:
    http://www.chicagovintage.com/gallery/woodill/1953-woodill-wildfire/
    seems he was ok with the modifications too.

  11. OldHippie

    Looks similar in overall appearance, but this is NOT a Woodill Wildfire. Proportions are wrong, it doesn’t have the dual cowl humps and the hood, doors and trunk lid are incorrect shape. Maybe a poor homemade copy.

  12. Bill Graham

    This car is in such a sorry state, It hurts me to look at it. These aren’t particularly good cars, but that owner should be ashamed.

  13. michaedo

    When I saw the story title and saw the
    first picture I thought the car was a victim
    of a wildfire. Still do.
    Starting bid of $3.5K. No bids so far…
    go figure.

  14. ConservativesDefeated

    I want to be constructive.

    I cant

    The seller is delusional

  15. Wiley Robinson

    This is basically $3,500 for the title and the VIN. I think the best thing for this one is a cosmetic restoration so it can be used as a static display in a museum. It is real, it is rare but maybe not the most desirable “pile” that’s ever been found. I think that honor goes to the Bugatti in the lake.

  16. Jim-Bob

    I think this is too far gone to rescue. It seems like the fiberglass is warped pretty badly and you would basically have to start from scratch and make a new body. The trunk lid shows just how bad the car is and no amount of work will save it. If I am wrong though, I would think a new tube chassis fitted with modern suspension would be the way to go. That way you could get 4 wheel independent suspension and 4 wheel discs in the reconstruction. Add a modern EFI V8 (or turbo 4) and 6 speed manual and you’d have a fun driver.

  17. Joe Howell

    If that poor thing was a horse someone would have shot it and put it out of it’s misery by now.

  18. BradL

    Watch one get built in four hours.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIGAooBGSUw

  19. BradL

    The more I look at this the less I think it’s a Woodill.

    The front fenders are too flat on top. They don’t curve down to the headlights like a Woodill.

    The door is cut square. The rear of a Woodill door is swept back.

    It has the right tail lights, but the rear quarters are too long and narrow.

    The Woodill has a double rise across the dash. This one has a single smooth arc.

    What this car is I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a Woodill Wildfire.

  20. Larry

    I’m at a loss for words !!

  21. craZee

    Looks like a pony after a 400 lb man tried to ride it

  22. Charles

    http://classicglasspars.com/

    Look through the photos and you will see a completed Wildfire.

    Glasspar was a boat builder in Illinois who are credited with the introduction of the world’s first production fiberglass boats. The design for the first fiberglass Chris Craft boats were a Glasspar design. The hull design was so successful, that Donzi and others used the design on their boats until recent times. The company was later sold to Freedom Boats when the original founder/owner decided to retire. Freedom Boats relocated the company to Florida. Freedom folded after a few years.

    Ironically Glaspar’s founder decided that he did not like retirement, and started another boat company which operated until his death sometime around the early 90’s.

    The only reason that I know this is that I own a 1990 Freedom Mach 1 22 foot sport cuddy with a 454 Chevy/Mercruiser Bravo I powerplant and wanted to learn as much about the history of the company and the boat. I had no idea that they also built a kit car body. This car body came from a very inovative company.

  23. Don Whitnell

    Does anyone know how I can contact the owner of this car. I need parts real bad

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