Live Auctions

Tin Woodie: 1951 Chevrolet Styleline DeLuxe

Have you ever noticed how often the word “Tin” turns up in a car’s description? Pontiacs were known way back as “Tin Indians”. Going back even further, Ford’s ubiquitous Model T earned the moniker “Tin Lizzie”. And as the 1950s dawned and real wood station wagon components gave way to faux wood trim and Di-Noc veneers, the term “Tin Woodie” came into vogue. Today, for your review, we have just such a station wagon in the form of a 1951 Chevrolet Styleline DeLuxe station wagon. It’s located in Los Angeles, California and is available, here on craigslist for $14,000, OBO. T.J. gets two thumbs up for this discovery!

According to Hot Cars, 1950 was the first year that Chevrolet went “woodless” with their wagons. And in the case of this Styleline DeLuxe, less was more for ’51. As opposed to being fully slathered with imitation wood paneling and trim, the application was more restrained covering just the upper parts of the doors and quarter panels. The tailgate, however, still got the full monty. Sales were fair with a bit over 23K finding new owners.

The seller of this Styleline suggests that it could use “full restoration” and that appears to be the case. The rear pontoon fenders, in particular, are pretty rotted out. The exterior images are poor and not well aligned so it’s hard to make an objective assessment regarding the overall condition but the seller claims that this wagon is complete and that looks to be the case. An interesting collection of wheel covers adorn this Chevy’s corners, the ones on the front look like an aftermarket four-way spinner design – I’ve seen similar ones before but I can’t place them, any suggestions?

The non-running engine is a 92 gross HP, 216 CI, in-line six-cylinder arrangement that is connected to a three-speed manual transmission. It too looks complete but again the images aren’t very telling. It would be nice to know if the engine will turn over by hand but no particulars are revealed. A six-volt electrical system is still in place.

The interior is about what one would expect. The dash is surface rusted and the headliner is doing a disappearing act – the seating upholstery is in similar disarray. Typical for the era is the heavy chrome-plated center grille. It serves as a central focal point as well as housing the heater/defroster controls. I wonder how long it has been since that high-mounted analog clock has worked?

These early ’50s Chevy station wagons have probably not come into their own yet, at least when compared to the popularity of the Tri-Five trio but these are still notable cars with potential and station wagons are certainly a real draw. This example, as complete as it is, will require a lot of work to make operational and presentable. I’m thinking the $14K ask may be a bit high unless the seller has a lot of leeway on the OBO part, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Rare, rough, and overpriced.

    Like 6
  2. Rw

    Jim that’s the reason the Tin Worms eat them.

    Like 3
  3. Moondawg00

    Looks like a good $5000-7000 car to work on. Needs a lot of almost everything.

    Like 2
  4. Carnut

    Ad should read: “I just found this rusty crusty car out in a field in Washington State, and the owner just about gave it to me”.. now I am offering it to you suckers for $14,000…and if you want I can additionally charge you to tow it down and even make more money.. The guy is so lazy he uses pictures on the trailer and it’s sitting in a field.. in the end the buyer can make his or her own decision.

    Like 5
  5. BJG

    $14K for a rust bucket??? No thanks…

    Like 3
  6. Troy

    Looks like fun, add says the title is missing so that would take some doing to clear that up. For me because their are a lot of these around restored or semi restored I would I would get a Volkswagen touareg TDI all wheel drive train and put that in it

  7. James A Martin

    The price for junk is ridiculous. There is one for sale in colorado for 3000. No worst than this bomb. 14000 is a dream price for a rust bucket.

    Like 4
  8. Solosolo Solosolo Member

    A suggestion for the wheel covers? Yep, dump them in the deepest lake/river asap!

  9. George Birth

    Too much money for too little car. Seller needs to restore this for the price he’s asking.

    Like 3
  10. chrlsful

    some of my fav right here (my deff: “classics” late 30’s – very early 50s) and the woody-style to boot. Less varnishin to do here isa plus. But it will be a long time before that’s in order.
    Nota lot left here for his ask, “full rest0” he’s right. Not for the faint of heart, better be some 1 w/a passion for this one as it’ll B a long haul toward finish line. I’d certainly forgo the 800$ delivery…

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.