29 April 2000
1941 FORD SUPER DELUXE WOODY STATION WAGON
BODY BY FORD IRON MOUNTAIN
Chassis No. 186472898
Blue with hard maple and birch woodwork and dark brown leather interior
Engine: V8 flat-head, 221ci, 96bhp at 3,800rpm; Gearbox: three-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 others 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 to 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 early 1941 at Ford's Dearborn, Michigan plant and its wooden body was made at the Iron Mountain facility. The car was titled on June 15, 1941 in Eastern Pennsylvania, the original owner being a Ford dealer who used it for his family throughout World War II. The Woody passed through a former employee of the dealer to the current owners in 1974. They drove it for a few years for pleasure before deciding to restore the car to its former glory.
The wagon was subject to a full seven year restoration in order to return it to 'show-room' new condition. During this nut and bolt restoration every part was rebuilt to original specification or was replaced with new old stock parts. The original hard maple and birch woodwork was restored and finished to the highest standards. The interior was done to the same high standards and new dark brown leather upholstery was fitted to the seats. A substantial amount of money, running to many thousands of dollars, has been spent on this restoration. All the original tags and the owner's manual are still in the glove box.
This superb restoration was finished in 1985, and the Woody has only driven 58 miles since. It has always been garaged when off the road in a climate-controlled facility. At Hershey it was a Senior Award Winner of the Antique Automobile Club of America and has earned three Preservation Awards. It also received a Dearborn Award at the Early Ford V8 Club of America.
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 next lucky owner to another place and time in American automotive history.
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