Tin Woodie: 1952 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe

“Tin Woodie” was the nickname for the first all-steel station wagons after wood-bodied wagons were discontinued. Demand for woodies were in a decline by the 1950s as their wood panels required a lot more maintenance than steel bodies. And they were expensive to build, so wagon manufacturers gladly went to full steel. This 1952 Styleline Deluxe is one of Chevy’s first “tin woodies” and is in great mechanical condition. It’s located near Tacoma, Washington and available here on craigslist for $11,500. Thanks to our reader, Ikey Heyman, for sending this tip our way.

The first post-war Chevies after World War II went into production for 1949 and would run through 1952. The pecking order for trim and features was the Styleline Special and then the Styleline Deluxe, which was Chevrolet’s best seller before and after the war. The post-war models were better equipped than their predecessors, with options like automatic transmission and tinted glass becoming available. The steel-bodied wagons were in their third year of production in 1952 and saw 12,756 copies made that year. Thanks to Old Car Manual Project for insight into woodie and non-woodie production.

This 1952 Styleline Deluxe wagon is said to run and drive great due to a good deal of mechanical work. The original 216 cubic inch “Thrift-Master” inline-six has been rebuilt, along with the front end. Also new are the tires, shocks, exhaust, and complete brakes. The seller tells us that the buyer could get in and drive it away with no worries. The Powerglide automatic was still a new choice in ’52 and this wagon has one. The body looks good for the most part, but the original paint has about had it. It looks as though it was two-tone at one time, brown with cream accents. There is no visible sign of rust and the chrome and glass all look to be in good order.

The interior looks acceptable for the vehicle’s age, but a lot of tape has been used to help keep the front seat cover together. The paint on the dash is a bit faded and the headliner okay, but far from perfect. The area that may need the most attention is the storage compartment out back, where the floor covering and wall panels are a bit distressed and the paint on the tailgate has some surface rust.

From the ads we see online, the Deluxe “tin woodie” wagons are commanding far higher prices than the sedans, so the asking dollars for this car doesn’t sound so high. If all it needs is a cosmetic restoration inside and out, this could prove out to be quite the nice find.

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Not sure the asking price isn’t a bit high but isn’t it interesting how those ’39 taillights keep popping up all over the place? Not a lot of these cars running around these days.

    Like 1
  2. Mark

    Already gone!

    Like 1
  3. bob

    ‘ 52 powerglide should have 235 C.I. engine ,not 216 .

    Like 6
  4. art

    There was a 1954 version of these on CL a couple of years back in LA that was in really nice original shape. It was a rare one with Powerglide, Power Steering, Power Brakes, Power Windows, Power Seats, Radio and Tinted Glass, all original. the seller wanted $14k-ish. I still have the pictures…neat car that i should have bought.

    Like 2
    • Rodney - GSM

      We only regret the ones we sell and the ones we don’t buy.

      Like 5
    • Skorzeny

      The guy that went into the dealership that day and ordered all those options must have had a fat wallet. That was a loaded unit!

      Like 4
  5. Dickie F.

    When I see one of these in nice running condition like this one, I firstly think of adding an aftermarket manifold and a second matching carburetor. So that this six can breath!
    Secondly, put the woody look back in printed vinyl.
    Just from bucket list ….

  6. Dickie F.

    When I see one of these in nice running condition like this one, I firstly think of adding an aftermarket manifold and a second matching carburetor. So that this six can breathe!
    Secondly, put the woody look back in printed vinyl.
    Just from bucket list ….

    • Dickie F.

      Oops sorry, duplicated…

  7. Norman Phillips

    i had a 2 door fast back with powerglide.i wondered, at times, ifi would make it through the intersection before the light turned red.

    Like 1
  8. M L Kieffer

    We had a 54 GMC Suburban with simular tail lights. I do think the metal wood had a wood grain. I think it was just cream color.

  9. Phlathead Phil

    What a COOL ride!!!

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