A woodie (or a woodie wagon) is a wood-bodied automobile, that became a popular type of station wagon where the bodywork is constructed of wood or is styled to resemble wood elements.

Originally, wood framework augmented the car's structure. Over time manufacturers supplanted wood construction with a variety of materials and methods evoking wood construction — including infill metal panels, metal framework, or simulated wood-grain sheet vinyl bordered with three-dimensional, simulated framework. Wood construction was evoked abstractly on the Nissan Pao (1989-1991) and Ford Flex (2009–2019) with a series of horizontal grooves and strakes.

History

As a variant of body-on-frame construction, the woodie as a utility vehicle or station wagon originated from the early practice of manufacturing the passenger compartment portion of a vehicle in hardwood. Woodies were popular in the United States and were produced as variants of sedans and convertibles as well as station wagons, from basic to luxury.

They were typically manufactured as third-party conversions of regular vehicles—some by large, reputable coachbuilding firms and others by local carpenters and craftsmen for individual customers. They could be austere vehicles, with side curtains in lieu of roll-up windows (e.g., the 1932 Ford)— and sold in limited numbers (e.g., Ford sold 1654 woodie wagons)

Eventually, bodies constructed entirely in steel supplanted wood construction—for reasons of strength, cost, safety, and durability

1950s and 60s

In 1950, Plymouth discontinued their woodie station wagon. Buick's 1953 Super Estate Wagon and 1953 Roadmaster Estate Wagon were the last production American station wagons to retain real wood construction. Other marques by then were touting the advantages of "all-steel" construction to the buying public. By 1955, only Ford and Mercury, joined in 1965 by Chrysler, offered a "woodie" appearance – evoking real wood with other materials including steel, plastics and DI-NOC (a vinyl product). As the appearance became popular, Ford, GM, and Chrysler offered multiple models with the woodgrain appearance until the early 1990s.

The British Motor Corporation (BMC) offered the Morris Minor Traveller (1953–71) with wood structural components and painted aluminum infill panels—the last true mass-produced woodie. Morris' subsequent Mini Traveller (1961–9) employed steel infill panels and faux wood structural members.

 

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