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War Wagon: 1942 Pontiac Chieftain Woodie


We know it’s not Wednesday, but this wagon is too cool to not feature. This 1942 Pontiac Chieftain was originally purchased by the Army and there are documents to prove it. They painted it an olive-drab color and used it during WWII. The car was sold and resprayed in 1946 and then went into storage around 1965. It is going to need a full restoration, but if you are interested, you can find it listed here on Hemmings.


When you think of military vehicles, woodie wagons probably don’t come to mind, but remember that people had more style back then. German generals cruised around in big Mercedes and this beauty hauled its fair share of American service men. We assume this one stayed home during the conflict, but you never know.


You could track down the original paint codes and return this car to factory specs, but if it were ours, we would stick with the military theme. Change the color back to olive-drab, stencil on some numbers, and leave the wood alone for the perfect war wagon look. We bet it would get more attention then a restored woodie ever would. There is even a good story here to tell all the gawkers.

UPDATE: The seller has this listed as a Chieftain, but Pontiac didn’t start using that model name until ’49. Looks like it is actually a Torpedo. That is a more fitting name for this one anyway. Here is some inspiration for the paint scheme.


  1. Your Name

    At 40 G seller is dreaming and has watched to many TV auctions. Fully done might bring 40-45 and would cost almost that to restore to bring that price.
    At 4-5 g might sell
    But one nice car that would be fun to have

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  2. paul


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    • paul

      I would keep it original but I would go with the new color, Maroon.

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  3. Lynn Barnes

    Would be pretty cool with the Army olive drab. Lots of work and expense to restore, so needs to get the price more realistic.

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    Cool find. I would get it in running/driving condition and leave it alone and enjoy it for what it is.

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  5. Chris in WNC

    40K is, a little pricey but if the photos are accurate I’d say its worth at least twice the 4-5K mentioned above.

    go throught the mechanicals, clean & seal the wood, replace the roof fabric and DRIVE IT. the maroon looks OK but it would be even more impressive in OD green…….

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  6. Rancho Bella

    Woodies do not bring the money they used to. Right around the time the Alexander woodie collection was sold it has been down hill ever since. It will never come back as it is all about demographics.

    Find a twenty one year old interested in a big slow half wooden car…………….

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  7. FRED


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  8. Glen Riddle

    My parents had one of these from new until replacing it with a 1949 Pontiac wagon. Pretty sure there were no Torpedo wagons for 1942. Wagons were built as Streamliners, with either six or eight cylinder engines. I think the deluxe trim Streamliners were called Chieftains, so I believe the seller is correct.

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    • Glen Riddle

      Editor is also correct that the first time Pontiac used Chieftain as a model name was for 1949. In the case of the 1942s, Chieftain was the new name for the old Deluxe trim level, not a model name. But it is confusing, as apparently this was done only for 1942. Wagons became part of the Streamliner line(but without Streamliner styling of course) for 1942 and this lasted through the end of the Streamliners in 1951. By the way, as far as I can tell, 1941 was the only year the wagons were part of the Torpedo line, which existed from 1940-1948.

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