Winters were hard on woodies in most parts of the country where snow packed the streets. Many owners just parked their wooden Â body cars in the garage until the weather cleared. I have seen some examples of vehicles driven in the inclement weather and they didn’t survive the harsh driving conditions. Rust is the result of years of accumulated miles racked up on salty roads. The wood deterioration was really noticeable where neglected by the owners over the years. The once highly varnished exterior soon was exposed to the elements without any protection. The result was highly cracked stress points and joints. The glue used became spongy and the structure weaken greatly. The old wagons soon became parked and stored away for someone to locate and restore.
Over the years I have looked at numerous Woodie projects and always passed until I found one that had been stored in a garage in downtown San Francisco for many years. The wood was in excellent shape even though the varnish had long disappeared from the wood. I made a deal to purchase the 1946 Woodie from a friend of mine who had originally located the car. I was retired and thought this would make me a great retirement project. The car was complete with lots of parts to make it a Hot Rod Woodie. I had other projects in the garage so I stored it and continued gathering parts for the build. I was also working on a 1948 Ford convertible at the time and injured my back which brought a stop to all of my projects. The surgery didn’t go well and the rehab time grew to several months so I sold all of my cars (5) and thought I would do something else with my time.
The healing process progressed and I spent my time writing Pewsplace using my email addresses. My son thought I should have a website and set my up with a WordPress site of my own. The rest is history as Pewsplace and my love the of the Woodie Wagon still continues today. Sometimes we just need to adjust for the bumps in the road and install an independent front suspension to help smooth out the journey in life.
“The flame continues to burn one day at a time”
click on photo for a larger image
My friends helped me with the loading as my back was still not doing good. Good friends are priceless when you need some help.
It was a long trip home but my dream Woodie had been found stored in Napa, CA.
Bill finished her in fine style with Chris Messano restoring the old wood to perfection.
The chrome and stainless were polished back to original finish and the red stripes added.
Bill added a sbc and connected it to the stock driveline for dependability. He is thinking about re-installing the flathead. Oh No!
Old Woodies survive with the surfers who make them theirs!
When the wood is gone you are in for some expensive new wood. I know it varies but the good wood cost around $50K on the West Coast. Better off to purchase one done.
My favorite Woodie is the 1940 Ford. SO-CAL was restoring this one for Bruce a few years back. Birdman made a new floor.
Bob likes Woodies also and has built some real winners in his shop. Finding a nice cowl and floorpan like this makes the job much easier.
The hulk is not very stable when the wood is removed so lots of bracing is required while repair work is done.
My friends found this hulk which now belongs to Jim and undergoing a full restoration at Ryan’s. See chassis below.
This 40 had good wood despite being in Nova Scotia its entire life.
I went to look at this 48 a few towns over only to find some really bad wood. Replaceable only in my mind.
Lack of varnish and care results in wood like this which has patina but not for me.
The varnish work is the key to a beautiful Woodie and Chris Messano is the man who can make it perfect.
You may choose to do it yourself with either a brush or spray gun. The end result takes lots of work no matter how you apply the varnish.
Finally, the wood goes on with lots of time and effort into making it all fit like you like it. Lowrey’s did this woody in NH.
Bob uses Mike Nickels for his wood and it always looks nice. I think the price is much less in MI than on our west coast but haven’t checked in a few years.
Jim has a full blown Hot Rod Woodie under construction at Ryan’s and the IFS will provide the ride and handling he expects with the Kaase Boss 9 engine.
Bob also uses the IFS on his Woodie builds. Older folks love woodies and need the comfort instead of the bounce!