If you say a classic Woody car, what would come first to your mind? The family favorite Wagon Queen Family Truckster featured in the movies in its “metallic pea” paint job and the panels of fake wood? A beach buggy perfect for Sunday beaches with a surfboard on top? A New Englander? There are a lot of famous Woodies that made a mark in history.
Woodies have a lot of different names across the world such as: Woody, Woodie, Beachwagon, Estate Car, Shooting Brake, or Brake de Chasse. Basically, Woodies are wagons that have the rear section made with wood such as Ash or Mahogany. Some woodies have most of their side panels made out of wood. The wood give them a unique beauty with very fine detail which is rarely found in other cars. Finger Joints outline the wooden boards giving the car a refined finish after some varnish and sanding. The variety of the wood is different from each company or builder. From the color to the type of grain the wood has, it all contribute to the beauty of a Woody. Each Woody is a work of art with skillful attention to detail which is already hard enough, restoring one is a lot harder because find the wood the will perfectly match the original ones is almost impossible.
Woodies have already existed since the start of the automobile age with most of the bodies are made with aluminium and steel frames covered with wood panels. The railroads made use of these cars to transport the customers and their cargo because they were cheap, this is where the name “Station wagon” came from.
Woodies were usually economical cars that had some available options, but with the growing popularity, some luxury car companies started building their own luxury Woodies. Classic coach manufacturers such as Franay and Henri Labourdette started to design wooded “skiff” and “torpedo cars” similar to the boat-like edges from Roll-Royce, Renault, Panhard, and Delahaye cars.
After the 1950s, the production for a lot of the Woodies for cancelled and most that remained are being built by third-party builders. The true Woodies finally fell after new automobile regulations and the body designs changed, they were replaced by “faux” cars that had plastic beams and panels. The Woodies were shortly revived during the “retro” era but now they are completely gone. There are still some body kits that can fit almost every car such as a PT Cruiser or a more modern Smart car for anyone who really wants to have a Woody look but there’s not much appeal left for the 1930’s style wood paneling. Only a few people are left to appreciate the classic beauty of a Woody but that erase the fact that they played a part in the history of automobiles.
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