The Legacy of the WoodiesThe last of the real Woodies were made by Buick, in 1953. The Buick Roadmaster Woody was built to celebrate Buick’s 50th anniversary. They paid homage to the classic beach cruiser, but added a powerful V8 engine. Their creativity and flawless design made the 1953 Buick Roadmaster a hot collectible. But, the 1953 Buick Roadmaster Woody is not the only beautiful Woody on the market today.
Using Wood to Replace Much-Needed Steel
Car manufacturers began building woodies in the 1940s. In most cases, the wooden panels were used either to decorate the car or to change the purpose of the car. The wooden panels often added a luxurious look to the cars, especially if the wood was applied stylishly, like on the 1940 Nash Suburban. The mix of steel and wood developed as steel was used for the war effort, so car makers needed to turn to wood to fill in where the steel could not.
When Steel Becomes Available
Once the war was finished, steel became readily available and automakers touted the fact that steel automobiles were safer than those made of mixed materials. In the 1950s, car makers began to phase out the use of real wood and began turning to faux wood and painted features that resembled wood.
Faux Wood Rules the Mid Century
The 1960s, 70s and 80s saw a plethora of vehicles with faux wood trim on the exteriors. In the 1960s and 70s, automakers placed faux wood on the huge stationwagons of the day, like the Caprice Classic and the Country Squire. In the 1980s, the minivan debuted and buyers could choose to deck out their Dodge Caravans with faux paneling, too. In the current car market, there are very few options, like the Ford Flex and the PT Cruiser, that can be found with faux wood paneling.
Find the Classics at the Beach
Now, the hottest place to find classic woodies, like the 1948 Chevy Stationwagon and the 1948 Ford Super Deluxe, is at any beach in California. The relaxed luxury and sturdy design makes any of the real woodies popular with the surfers in California and around the world.