Woodies America

Introductory questions

Introductory questions
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- Why are we rebuilding woodies in Brazil?

Woodies are not only a technical and cultural phenomenon on the North Hemisphere. Since the automobile  first paths, many countries found on the Wooden Body the easy way to improve the car utilisations.    All kind of bodys were build to fit into chassis that were imported sometimes Completely Knocked Down (CKD). A Brazilian Woodie could be a Station Wagon since its birth, or could be converted at the midlle of its life.   We believe that in Brazil most often the Wooden Station wagons were issued from used cars conversions.   Imported cars were very expensive, and so the users were impelled to prolong the cars life.

- How large and diversified were the Woodie panorama specifically in Brazil?

Since we started our activities we were commited to discover the roots of Brazilian Woodies.   Until the 20’s, the Brazil interland was accessed mainly by navigation trought the Big Rivers, connected to railroads. Maybe some part of the experience on constructing horse carriages, boats and train wagons, were then displaced to build cars and trucks bodies.     Nevertheless,  as a Continental Country, it would be impossible to reduce a much more rich history to that restricted proposition.  Woodies were built throughout different Regions of the Country, and different styles were developped to attend the local needs and demand.  Local workshops and carpenters found their own solutions and probably the original projects and sketches were frequently modified.

- Who were the Woodie Builders in Brazil?   

Automobile manufacturers as Chevrolet, Ford, International  and Studebaker haved had decades of activities in the brazilian market, and some of them use to provide their costumers with station wagon bodies.   The  complete history of brazilian woodies is unknown but researches keep finding interesting facts, as did recently  Collectible Automobiles in a report about Brazilian car makers, from which we learn that  in the 40’s Chevrolet do Brasil had a plant in São Paulo where Woodies were build.  Also the same magazine show a Ford 1938 brazilian car product.

In another words,  the phases of the Wooden car industry in Brazil are not so different from other Countries.  It seems that in most of the cases, the Woodie Builders came from the horse wagons industry, and they easily convert their plants to build cars and trucks bodies.    The company Irmãos Grassi Ltd.  is named as the most important body builder for the Twenties.  Nevertheless, many other big firms also have had plants to makle Station Wagon bodies.    To discover who really where them, would be an interesting task for the Woodie Collectors, and we will be doing our best efforts to highlight) those facts.

- How the brazilian Woodies history links with Public Transportation?

At the beginning, public transportation were done also in Brazil, by jitney cars wagons called “jardineiras” – a word from the Italian word giardinera - probably by the influence of the italian community that was formed by a huge Immigration wave.  To the Southeast region of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro the jardineiras for city trafic have a distinctive and beautiful configuration as tramways wagons with open sides and decorative supports for the seats and handhold side bars.  But for travelling and rural purposes the so called jardineiras were closed wagons with side panels and curtains.  Their width were extended over the rear fenders, and as their most amazing feature, sometimes the front seat allowed place for five passengers.  Today many examples for those vehicles still exist and many of them attend to be restored.   We intend to convince their owners how interesting and valuable are their cars, to preserve the automobile history.

- Which kind of work and service we could offer to the Old Cars market Worldwide?

As a regular and legal brazilian company we can deal with any Woodie Collector around the world.  We can search, apraizal, purchased, import, restore and reexport the cars.  The cars would be send to Brazil by our foreign customers just for the period of their restoration.           Furthemore, we intend to work in the draw back importation, buying Woodies from foreign countries to be restored and reselled. 

- Which kind of Woodwork Tradictions we eventually have to affirm that we have the skill and the  conditions to do this job better?

As the proprietor of the biggest forest in the Earth, Brazil has the most precious timbers to construct car bodies.  Until nowadays, truck beds are build with durables wood species.  The later old buses, were construct with a composite body, on which the wood frame structure was covered by metal panels.   Even if these practices were abandoned from the Sixties and replaced by contemporary technology, that know-how were not completely lost, and many professionals and woodworkers at their middle age, would remember their past jobs.  Anyway it is known that marine carpenters, generally have the skills and competence to reach the perfect fit and assembly of  wood.   That’s why we choose to settle our workshop in a southern coastal region where those craftsmanship are available.    

- Does we have a cultural project in order to preserve the automobile woodwork techonology to the future generations?

We think that all benefits that we could expect from our activities, would be without value if we should not be in the way of preserving something very precious to the future generations.  Our concern is that in a automatized world, we must bring Human Kind to an organic perception of the phisical World.   Thinking about wood as the most noble of the resources, the skin of our Earth that will help to maintain the human life in the earth, and found the economic uses that it can provides, is the most grateful task. 

With these thoughts in mind we are adapting our places to have a permanent Woodwork Exibit.  The general public, childrens, students and young professionals would find there the answer about  how one could give the Wood the most  impressive use,    building car bodies and wagons capable of allowing efforts and impacts for decades.   These endurance, each Woodie has proved during its own existence  to make part of on of the most interesting chapitres of the Automobile History.