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Weather-Worn Woodie: 1950 Ford Station Wagon

While a restored station wagon with wood body panels can be a thing of beauty, they weren’t terribly profitable for the car companies that offered them. They were expensive to build and required a lot of hand-assembly. Ford stuck it out longer than some, with their “Woodies” being all wood from the cowl back through 1948, and then real wood attached to steel doors, sides and tailgates until they stopped making them in 1951. This Ford Woodie from 1950 is described as a field find and has the looks of one as most of the wood is long gone, likely victim to Mother Nature (and perhaps a few termites). The Ford awaits its next owner in Manchaca, Texas and the bidding is up to $6.50 (that’s not a misprint) with an unmet reserve and a Buy It Now price of $8,950 here on eBay. Thanks, Larry D, for finding this one for us!

Wood-bodied station wagons were often called “woodies” and were first popular in affluent American communities. So, you would often find them at hotels, lodges, country clubs, and national parks. After its original tour of duty, it was not uncommon to see one with a surfboard hanging out the back on the way to the nearest beach. They usually had hand-crafted strips of birch and mahogany on exterior and interior surfaces, which meant that they cost more than steel-bodied wagons when they were new.

Apparently, Henry Ford had a passion for these kinds of vehicles as he bought 400,000 acres of woodland in Michigan’s Iron Mountain Forest as a source for lumber. While the competition used outside vendors to manufacture their wood bodies, Ford’s had its own and nearly unlimited supply of lumber for their wood bodied cars, trucks, and wagons. While he purchased that land in the 1920s, a county-owned, public airport sits there today.

Successfully restoring this wagon makes the term “back from the brink” come to mind. The seller says the body is in good condition for sitting outdoors for ages. The wood is all but gone and the metal that remains has light rust or is pitted. Even the metal dashboard has surface rust. The floors, however, are shot and will have to be replaced. The title for this wagon was lost long ago, but the seller says the serial number tag on the cowl has numbers that are readable enough for getting a new one.

Under the hood should be a 239 cubic inch flathead V8 that was tricked out back in the day. The seller says it has Offenhauser aluminum heads and aluminum intake with twin 2-barrel carburetors. There’s no telling how long ago this engine was last started or what it will take to do so again. The Woodie has both front and rear seats and a spare tire cover which is said to be rare. A lot of odds and ends are piled into the storage area in the back.

Assuming this wagon is brought back to 1950 perfection, these woodies will require considerably more maintenance than steel-bodied wagons. They have to be washed more frequently and protected as best as possible from rain, road grime and road salt. Constant polishing of the wood is required and the nuts and bolts holding everything together should be torqued from time to time. These woodies can be quite valuable in Concours condition, but bringing this one back is going to be a costly endeavor.

Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    I think Henry Ford bought 400,000 acres of woodland because his early cars used wood frames for the bodies. Then with all the scraps leftover, he created the KingsFORD charcoal brand, useful when Ford owners took their vehicles motor camping.

    Like 18
    • Ralph

      You are correct sir. As a kid/teen/adult my Grandpa knew Henry Ford. He had a “summer” home in Iron Mt. Michigan. In fact my Grandpa worked for Ford in the area for 20 years, and drew a pension for it til his death.
      I remember him saying that Ford was nuttier than a fruitcake, and could be mean as a snake if you got on his bad side.
      This is a ton of money for this, I bid
      Tree-fiddy, not a penny more.

      Like 7
  2. Mrtinwoodie

    2nd time around on EBay for this overpriced turkey.
    High bid was $3750 on 2/27

    Like 4
  3. Frank Farrell

    The seller states “Will need floors for sure”. Really? Thanks for the tip, Sherlock.

    Like 2
  4. Sam61

    I think Norm Abram and Roy Underhill have some spare time.

    Like 2
  5. Lou Tripper

    I’ve got no wood for this project.

    Like 2
  6. Stevo

    Meh. Couple sheets of plywood and a jig saw…Done.

    I don’t think anyone would wash a woody if they knew what was good for them. No way to really seal the wood and water is a bad, bad thing in the joints. No wash. No rain. No parked outside day or night.

    Like 0
  7. Bmac777

    I wonder what the rest of the Mod Squad looks like?

    Like 0
    • Steve Clinton

      Clarence Williams III and Michael Cole are both in their 80s, and Peggy Lipton (who I had a big crush on) passed on at the age of 72 in 2019.

      Like 1
  8. robert lewis

    the only thing that would be fun with this car would be getting this wood running again.

    Like 1
  9. Steve Clinton

    Under four and a half days left and it’s bid up to $116.50! Wood YOU buy this?

    Like 0
  10. B.A. Schoen

    There are guys that do the wood only for about $50K.
    Like new.
    Everything else is technically feasible and pretty straightforward.
    The devil is always in the details.
    Small parts, particularly unique to the model like tailgate hinges and handles are often made of unobtainium.
    Almost every restoration is under water financially.

    Like 1
  11. Maestro1

    No, I don’t think so. The car should be retired.

    Like 0
  12. HC Member

    Hurts my eyes to look at it. What a shame. Only thing of value left is the flat head and maybe transmission.

    Like 1
  13. Dennis Mitchell

    Just needs a little Sprucing up.

    Like 1
    • Steve Clinton

      Just don’t overdo it and make an ash of yourself. ;-)

      Like 1
  14. Frank

    I’m glad people try to be comedians, you know, try to branch out a little.

    Like 1
  15. Frank Farrell

    Now that I think about it, I wonder if the car’s trim is in the trunk.

    Like 1
  16. Steve Clinton

    And the puns just keep on coming! I hope we don’t leaf any out!

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      I pine for the day when the puns finally come to a halt on B.F.

      About 30 years ago I submitted 10 puns to a contest with the Washington Post, hoping at least one would be published. How many of mine were published?

      No pun in ten did! Get it?

      Like 3
  17. ford farmer

    Do you want to sell the spare tire cover in the back

    Like 0
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      ford farmer,

      This was from an ad on ebay, and long gone. ebay doesn’t keep records past 30 days, so it’s not possible to contact the owner.

      Like 0

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