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How an old Woodie car became an icon

How an old Woodie car became an icon
2 years ago No comments

It’s no secret that we have an addiction to the Ford Woodie. We have a few of ‘em, and if you’ve ever come across one of us on the Hot Rod Power Tour, in our hometown of Victor, Idaho, or on a remote backroad in the middle of nowhere, then you know these iconic cars are our mascots. For us, they are the embodiment of Laid-Back, with their classic car, old school vibe.

But how did the Woodie become synonymous with beach cruising and restored classic cars? Well, we put together a short history of our favorite automobile to answer this very question.


Old Woodie Car Laid Back USA_1


The term “Woodie” refers to a vehicle with a body constructed from hardwood. The first Ford Woodie hit the scene in 1929 — the style was originally used for trucks and other working vehicles, and then was later incorporated into the bodywork of various sedans and wagons. Ford’s Model A station wagon with a wooden body was the beginning of a whole host of cars sporting the same look.


Old Woodie Car Laid Back USA_2


However, before too long, Woodies began to fall out of favor. Their bodywork was too difficult to maintain — if the wood swelled or shrank it would crack, and there were questions as to the safety of its composition. After World War II, steel was popular and that old wooden look was out.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s Woodie production numbers dwindled, until the British Motor Corporation (BMC) was the only manufacturer making them anymore. Companies like Ford, Plymouth, Mercury and Chrysler moved on to making all-steel station wagons, incorporating wooden veneer elements as a nod to the past.


Old Woodie Car Laid Back USA_3


As the original Woodie vehicles were being replaced with steel counterparts, many of the old wooden chariots were abandoned in barns and left in junkyards across America. However, thanks to the surf community, the Woodie found a future as a symbol of all things beach related.

By the late 60s, Woodies were just another used car, one that surfers found to be economical. They could get them cheap, and these station wagons were perfect for carrying surfboards and a crew of riders all at the same time. In addition, the car was mentioned in various surf tunes, most famously by the Beach Boys. As the decades sped by, the Woodie gradually became a favorite among collectors.


Old School Woodie Laid Back USA_4


These days, a fully restored Woodie can fetch over $100,000. Typically, restoring and even maintaining a Woodie is quite a bit more involved than other classic cars. That wooden bodywork is still a headache today, but worth the effort, in our opinion.

So next time you see us at the car show, make sure you stop by and check out one of our classic, Laid-Back Woodies! More than likely we’ll have a few Woodie-themed t-shirts around as well, to help you join in on our obsession. Shop for 'em here!


We put two of our Woodies to the test and raced them against each other! Watch us burn some rubber:

We just can't leave well enough alone. We'll be posting pics/vids as we build the Laid-Back Woody Gasser. Stay tuned, should be fun.

Posted by Laid-Back on Tuesday, February 24, 2015


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