California Living: A Line-Up of Woodies on Silver Spur


(First Posted August 29, 2013)  Yes, it’s another Saturday here in Southern California. As always, the air is lousy with sunshine, and I’m suffering through another crappy day ;-).  I’ve been coaching my daughter on the finer points of driving (she’s on the third week of her Learner’s Permit), and on the way home I spotted this Woody family portrait.


This Chrysler Town and Country led the parade. Could be a ’46, ’47 or ’48, as Chrysler didn’t make many changes to their postwar cars until 1949. Of course, with buyers lined up around the block, there wasn’t any compelling reason to update the only woody convertible on the market.


Behind the Town and Country sat a Chrysler woody wagon. It was built about ten year prior to my birth, so based on some sketchy internet research, I’m calling it a 1950. Although the perimeter wood is real enough, some post-war Chryslers included sheet metal panels for the door and rear quarter panels. In ’46 and ’47, the panels used thin veneer of plywood, but ‘48 saw one of the first applications of Di-Noc on a Woody.


Both the Chryslers carried a serious air of originality, but this 1937 Chevy shows a more modern stance. I’m guessing the owner replaced the original stovebolt six with classic small block power. Classic power that arrived on the scene about 20 years after Chevy built this car.

Oddly enough, I knew this was a ’37 without looking it up. Perhaps I’m recalling an AMT model kit from my youth..


 Yep- Here’s an image of the box.


These last two cars look original as well. I was thinking this Ford was pre-war, but had to Google the exact year. Turns out it’s a 1940.

I was surprised to discover that this was only the second year that Fords came from the factory with juice (hydraulic) brakes. Prior to that, a complex linkage tied the brake pedal to each wheel, with metal rods running to each axle. Old timers tell me the system worked well when properly adjusted, but proper adjustment was rarely obtained and once achieved, short lived.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say this- After viewing pre-war Fords on Google images, the 1940 Ford is WAY better looking than the 1941 Ford.

41 Ford

A ’41 I found on Google- I’m NOT a fan.


Lastly, our line-up included a 1946 Ford. It still has those ugly ’41 Ford rear fenders but the front styling is something of an improvement. An improvement, but still frumpy.

These post-war Fords (’46 to ’48) were also the last of the Fords to use the Model T’s solid axle, transverse leaf, center pivot front suspension.  Although less dangerous than mechanical brakes, the design still represented anachronistic engineering. This means the ride and handling harks back to the bad old days, rather than providing a warm nostalgic glow. Given the choice, I’ll hop in the Chryslers every time.



The Chrysler wagon also had these cool travel stickers. Looking closely, some of them are not exactly period correct.

So that’s the line-up. If anyone calls for a Curbside Classic on these cars, I’d respond “Thanks for the request, but I’ll pass.” Gazing at these classics, I have no gut reaction, feel no resonance, and hear no muse to inspire me. Good lord, my father was in short pants and attending a one room school house when some of these cars came out. Because of that, I’ll leave the recollections to those readers who have a direct connection to these golden oldies.