1941 FORD SUPER DELUXE WOODY STATION WAGON
BODY BY FORD IRON MOUNTAIN
Chassis No. 6644331
Cayuga blue, Honduras mahogany panels, Michigan hard maple stiles, ash roof slats with tan leather interior
Engine: V8 flat-head, 221ci, 96bhp at 3,800rpm; Gearbox: 3-speed column shift; Suspension: leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: drums all round. Left hand drive.
Unlike the rest of the Detroit establishment, Ford was one of the few to actually produce its own wood bodies. Nearly all the rest were built by independent contractors such as Ypsilanti Furniture, J.T. Cantrell and Hercules. Ford station wagon bodies were built from wood harvested at the company's Iron Mountain timber mills in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Much of the wood used to build Ford station wagons went into the construction of the headliner, which consisted of long, white ash slats; the inside door panels were mahogany and the outside panels a combination of mahogany and birch.
While 1931 marked the end of the Model A era, the Woody - a nickname given the cars many years later - remained in the Ford line until civilian automobile production was officially halted on February 2, 1942 and the last American automobile, a Ford sedan, rolled off the assembly line. The Ford wood-bodied station wagon was one of the first models back into production after the war.
This exceptional station wagon was assembled in April of 1941 at Ford's Dearborn, Michigan plant and its wooden body was made at the Iron Mountain facility. The car was purchased that spring by Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Deitz of Syracuse, New York, founders of the famed Deitz Lantern Company. It served for over thirty years at the family's summer retreat on the St. Lawrence River.
This delightful Woody was purchased from the Deitz family in 1985 and then stored until 1991 when a six year restoration project was initiated. Having always been garaged, the car was remarkably well preserved. All of the wood, leather, glass, metal, engine and drive train were original. Mr. Deitz' owner's manual and original keys were in the glove box. A small "Roosevelt for President" decal still adorns the vent window. All but the woodwork was meticulously restored by Mr. Terry Kesselring of Elsmere, Kentucky. The original components were carefully returned to like-new condition, replaced where necessary with new old stock, or in the case of a special brown rubber rain strip for the tailgate, fabricated anew.
A total of $74,000 was invested out-of-pocket over the six year period including the original purchase price. Receipts are available to the buyer. This amount does not include over 1,000 hours spent removing layers of old varnish and applying four new coats of marine-grade varnish. Since its restoration the car has been driven less than 300 miles with the odometer now reading 46,000 (believed from new). It has never been shown in competition. A car cover is included with the Woody.
In recent years, public interest and nostalgia surrounding Woodys has grown and collectors are purchasing them. Many concours events such as the Louis Vuitton Concours d'Elegance are now catering to this interest with classes for them.
The purr of its flat head V8 engine, its baritone horn, the smell of leather and the feel of deep, rich wood will return this car's third owner to another place and time in American automotive history.