Live Auctions

Wood Is Good: 1948 Ford Woodie Wagon

1948 Ford Woodie

This 1948 Ford is interesting because the seller claims that it is a “survivor car” and that it has been sitting in a barn for the past 20 years. They claim that it has never been restored and that the wood is original. They also mention that it has been resprayed though and normally that would disqualify it from survivor status in my book. Still, Woodie Wagons are the epitome of cool and this one is going to be sold at an auction not far from my hometown. Perhaps I need to go pay mom and dad a visit? The car will be sold at the Montana Classic Car Auction sometime over the next two days in Billings, Montana. You can read more about the sale here and view more photos of the car here on photobucket. Thanks goes to Mark L. for the tip!


  1. Dave Dietz

    In your opinion because of a respray its not a true survivor????? Idiot comments like that and I’ll drop my subscription to Barnfinds.

    • roger

      Why the insult dave?
      Everyone has a right to their opinion.
      I doubt you will be missed if you leave barnfinds.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Sorry that bothered you Dave, but I’m not exactly sure what you thought was idiot about my comment. In most circles the term “survivor” is reserved for cars that have been preserved and are as close to factory original as possible. That includes the materials and finishes. Perhaps I’m wrong in my thinking, but the fellas over at Bloomington Gold seem to agree with me. You can read their judging guidelines here. So, instead of feeling offended, please share your viewpoint so we can all understand where you are coming from. The discussions are what make this site interesting please stick around!

    • rancho bella

      No Dave……… isn’t a true survivor.
      The color looks absurd anyway.

      The woodie thing is cycling out like many of the people that would own one.

      • Woodie Man

        Say it aint true Rancho Bella!

    • Brad

      Jesse is being very diplomatic, but I sure don’t have to be — If you can’t see any potential conflict with someone trying to have their cake and eat it two by claiming “never restored survivor” and “resprayed” in the same breath, then there’s only one idiot comment so far, and it’s yours.

      Let us know where to forward your mail!

    • Woodie Man

      I’d say dont let the door hit you on the way out..but that would be idiotic.

      If a “survivor” car is defined as one that is original as it rolled out the factory this “fly green” respray disqualifies this as a survivor. If you want “survivor” to mean it has survived then it is a survivor. Bottom line is it looks to be in pretty good all around shape except for the wood..say 10 grand worth of repair and refinishing.

      Maybe the seats are a 48 only color I dont know but they dont look original

  2. Ed P

    It is a cool car, respray or not. I am amazed at the good condition of the exterior wood work. There was a lot of maintenance associated with that. The sun would ruin the old varnish finishes of the day very quickly. I would recommend using a modern polyurethane for the next refinishing. That will hold up much longer.

  3. Charles

    Love those woody wagons! This one looks so nice. Too Cool!

    I don’t want to insult anyone, and am not going to threaten to drop my subscription to BF’s. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I think the word patina is overused. To me patina is a nice car with a few bug chips and few stone chips. It looks like it has been driven and enjoyed, but is basically a nice car. If it is beat all to h***, or a bucket of rust, it’s not patina.

    I routinely serve a a judge at several car shows in the southeast. A simple repaint does not disqualify a car as a survivor. A repaint is condsidered part of maintenance and up keep. As long as the car wears it’s original panels, engine, trans, and most of it’s interior, it is considered a survivor. The term survivor is very broad. It can be a lightly used car, or a well worn car, as long is most of it is original.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Good reasoning Charles. I can see where you are coming from. Sometimes the patina thing is over used, but so is the survivor thing. Maybe paint is considered part of maintenance for a car that is used everyday, but I wouldn’t consider it a consumable such as tires, hoses, etc. If a car is well cared for, the paint can last indefinitely. I have owned many cars that have been resprayed, reupholstered, and mechanically rebuilt, but I would never call them survivors. Unmodified and partially restored, yes! But, unrestored and well-preserved “survivor” cars are truly a rare and special thing!

  4. grant

    There’s a subscription to Barnfinds? I just like to look at old cars on my work breaks….am I stealing? Oh, my…

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      You’re not stealing Grant! They are just referring to the free email updates we send out.

  5. TBall

    She’s a beauty! Love to get a hold of it. Thanks for sharing Jesse…

  6. jim s

    another auction that has something for everyone. i think this car is going to bring a lot of money. it looks good and is a few years away from needing the wood redone. nice find.

  7. Jose

    Love barn finds. Love old cars. To me that woody IS a survivor, overspray or not. I’ve never seen one in this good original condition, wood and all. Granted the original was not that shade of green but someone saw enough in it to save it. So I suppose one can say that it survived in that it didn’t get crushed.

  8. Dan Farrell

    A woodie parked in a barn for 20 years untouched would have the wood shrunken dried up peeling or swollen and mildewed unless it was in a climate controlled environment. Wood needs maintenance.

  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    Very nice. Something to drive and enjoy. Maybe some fixing up while you’re at it. The color leaves something to be desired but I’d take it long before patina. Great posting! Not all that far from home either. I’m real tempted…

  10. Grr

    I always enjoy having a woodie. Sometimes, though, I don’t have anywhere to park it.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Careful, Grr. That comment could be taken a number of ways. So I’ll just LOL…

  11. sunbeamdon

    Rancho, you rascal, you’ve outed all us old farts – I, too am drawn to this Woody; however, I’m thinking the colour is something Ford may have used in the ‘forties – my Uncle had a ’41 Woody with a similar vivid green

  12. Dave Dietz

    The definition of survivor is a person or thing that has experienced severe trauma but still lives on. The fact that we are viewing this car say ” I’m a survivor”. Just because a few Judging circles have included and trademarked the “survivor” term does not change what a survivor truly is. This is only done to draw more people to events, to show their auto, even though it may not be a pristine example. Should a survivor still be wearing its original tires, oh my god, did someone change the battery????? It’s paint, that’s all, just the exterior coating to keep the steel from rusting and add cosmetic beauty. All this patina talk over the last few years is disturbing also. Patina is a crust of oxidation which occurs on bronze and copper which adds beauty in some opinion. On a car………..not much…..give it up……paint the damn thing.

  13. JohnD

    Sportin’ Wood!

  14. sunbeamdon

    res-erect this good ol’ woody

  15. Charles

    There seems to be lots of misconceptions about what term survivor means. A survivor does not mean the same thing as original as built. It also does not mean pristine. What it means is that the car survived the years, and is in still is reasonably decent condition. From what I can see in the picture, considering that most barn find woody’s are just a pile of sawdust and rust, this car is a survivor. No it is not exactly original, however it does appear to be mostly complete and solid. The problem is that we are actually debating the theory of abstract reality. That fact is that there is no such thing as abstract reality. Everyone sees things from their own perspective. The method that I used to apply the term survivor is the most common understanding and agreement of the term.

    Original, is just that. My 1982 Trans AM is an original car. It has 24K actual miles on it, wears the original paint, original interior, and has most of the original mechanical parts. The OE tires were on the ground until June 14, when they became so dry rotted that we were afraid of a blow out sitting in the garage. We changed the radiator hoses, belts, and fuel hoses for the same reason. We also made the decision to rework the brakes because the pedal was spongy, and we feared that a hose might rupture during a panic stop. And the car has had several battery changes over the years. The debate is at what point does the maintenance of the car diminish its originality, and then it will be considered original. At some point it will become a survivor. That is were the grey area applies. Granted, we could have parked it in the den, not changed anything, polish it with Pledge, put a couple of lamps on the hood, and it would be 100% original. However, it would also no longer be a car. One could not start the engine and drive down the street safely. So we made the decision to maintain the car in stock, but road worthy condition. The car is very drivable at this point, and could be safely driven anywhere. In most circles the car is still considered original because the only items that have been changed are what is necessary to maintain safety, keep the car road worthy, and be a functioning car.

    Switching gears a little, if I were a car, I would be considered a survivor. I fractured two bones in my spine at age 24. Four surgeries with six fusions later, my back is solid and useable, but hardly original. I have chronic pain, and my back no longer works like it was designed, however I can ambulate and can function. A tendon transplant in my left foot due to nerve damage allows me to walk on the foot. I have cadaver bone in place in my spine, lots of wire, and enough hardware in place to more then set off any metal detector. Three hernias and lots of mesh placed left several scars, but no more problems. A large benign tumor removed from under my left arm with reconstruction left me with a scar but no disability in that arm. A brain tumor in 1999 that was supposed to be fatal, however the very bright doctors at Johns Hopkins were able to use a 3D CT machine and specialized CT guided radiation to shrink the tumor and allow me remission from the tumor’s effects. The tumor robbed my balance function, and my hearing on one side, however I learned to balance by eyesight, and can hear some with my right ear. Then there was the prostate cancer in 2014. It was found in the early stages, although I have a very aggressive form of the disease. After chemotherapy and 39 radiation treatments, they tell me that I am full remission. I work full time as a charge nurse in a Indian Health Hospital, and part time at local regional hospital. I an am avid hiker, and hike many trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near our home. I completed most of the remodeling of our home. I am active in the charity car show circuit, own two power boats, and am healthy enough to enjoy spoiling our 14 grandchildren. So you see, I am a survivor just like this car. Hardly original, and not painted in the original color. Also not in exactly in the configuration that I was born as, but a reasonable facsimile of the original and identifiable with the original version. Most importantly functioning, working, and paying taxes.

    The eventual buyer of this woody will have the ability to enjoy this car as is, or they can make the decision to break it down and complete a full restoration. Either way, this woody has survived to this point and will likely continue to be enjoyed for many more years and generations to come.

  16. Woodie Man

    Charles, you’re a mess! But obviously a survivor.

Leave a Reply to grant Cancel reply

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.


WANTED 1959/1960 Pontiac ANY parts car need an engine Contact

WANTED Caterpillar Any Wanted Caterpillar , in any condition running or non running for restoration project parts machine Contact

WANTED 60s – 70s TUK TUK Tuk Tuk Looking for a Thailand taxi (tuk tuk) Please give me a shout if you have one for me Contact

Submit Your Want Ad