The Back Nine

Sometimes we have to come to the conclusion that we only have one more car in our dreams to complete before we move on to the next phase of our life. Having owned and driven over a hundred Hot Rods in my past, I still would be hard pressed not to consider a Woodie Wagon for the final chapter. The wife and I love the Woodie events and the people involved in the fascinating hobby of building and restoring Wooden Wagons. My first love affair with a Woodie Wagon was the one built by Don Thelna who built several over his short life time. He built this one and let me drive it while finishing the wagon. I never forgot that car and it was a 1946 Ford painted Medium Cabernet Red (which he painted) with a brown interior and a 1941 Ford dash. The wagon was featured on the cover of the Novewmber 1992 issue of American Rodder. Gary Gasaway owned it at that time and it now owned by Jeff Bates. Don built several this color and Jim owns another version of this famous Woodie. I do believe this started the Hot Rod Woodie craze as we know it today. Prices rose to the $150 – 200+K range and stayed there until the last 6 years or so, in which prices dropped below the six figure mark in most cases. I have a few friends who have purchased some of these wagons in the $75-85K range.

The result of the price drop resulted in some very good buys of these high-end wagons. You simply cannot build one for anywhere near what you can purchase one. Increases in materials, labor costs and initial investments have risen drastically from when Don started buying up all the Woodie skeletons he could find. I was visiting his shop once and he had 10 shells in a container waiting their turn. He was very wise at anticipating the demand for the beautiful old beach wagons. As I have mentioned previously, my one and only wagon was a 1946 Ford purchased from a friend in Napa. Health issues prevented the right mind set, so the project was sold to a good friend Bill who completed it for his son. Sometimes sellers remorse sets in and this one that I still regret selling.

The Back Nine in life sometimes takes forever to complete and I hope to have the time to own another Wooden Wagon.

Stay Tooned!



click on photo for a larger image


Gary built my dream woody and found a dream surfer to ride along to Huntington Beach.


The all blonde wood and 41 dash were a first for the 46-8 Woodie Wagons. Doug at the Wooden Car did the wood on Don’s Woodies.


Ted was kind enough to sell me one of his many Woodies.


Walt was kind enough to let be the caretaker of this beauty for a couple of years. I called her Ruby!


Walt’s neighbor purchased this high-end Woodie and has joined our group for the Woodie events.


Jim at Brizio’s has a high mileage 46 Woodie that travels the Coast seeking the best surfing spots.


I have found builders for a reasonable amount but the restoration cost are prohibitive.

1947 Ford stock station wagon 6-2010 014

A friend has the project for sale  and it is all there, but doing the math and adding the time involved makes these decisions difficult at my age.


I looked at this one a few years ago and when I opened the hood I was really surprised.


I nicely detailed Hemi was installed and looked right at home.

front passenger 3-4 view

I am found of the Maize Yellow on the 46-48 Fords. Ford colors were very sporty on these years.


Black is a popular color for Woodies also and blends well with the wood.


Roy did a rare 42 Woodie and it turned out perfect.


Jane gave me this beautiful drawing of what she likes in a Woodie Wagon. Thanks Craig for your concept.


At the end of the road, you need to stop and enjoy the beautiful scenery we have in our area.

Comments 1

  1. Lynn I was fortunate to have been to Don’s shop in the mid 70’s . Larry wood took us there. All I remember is it was behind of all things a funeral home. It felt like I had died and gone to heaven. N.O.S. fenders hanging every where and a real 32 ford sedan delivery that he had found in Iowa. Quite the place. Don was, and always will be one of my favorite builders.

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