Light Truck Woodies for American Collectors
text by Gilberto Rufino
Without leaving USA you
have now a unique opportunity to get an authentical American Woodie Truck rebodied in Brazil.
2004, attending a old car meeting a São Paulo Brazil, I have seen a nice beige
Chevy Woodie, belonging to a Brazilian collector, proudly exposing it, tailing with
a classic boat. From that day on, I have been looking
for a similar car, in order to reproduce the good parts.
After five years waiting the right moment , I have had the chance of purchasing a vehicle with identical characteristics.
Even if it has lost almost completely
the right side panels, the remaining wood parts could be used as patterns, for reproduction.
But one more opportunity, also brought to us the very favourable condition to develop
this initial idea.
In a beautifull country estate, which holds a rural Museum a 1950 Chevrolet 1950 Carry-all had been sleeping
for a long time in an open barn.
The owner of this car give us the chance to help
him to bring back to life this vehicle. Our Company is now working on this Woodie restoration project,
in a different manner.
It is not question of a big frame off restoration, since the
car is in a very good overall condition. We will do minimal interventions, to reinforce the structure and
cosmetic wood application, on the parts where the time dammage are too much visible.
In memory of his father the owner decided to keep the property and enjoy
the car, as an touristic attraction to the picturestic town where he lives.
These three mentionned cars have the same structure and shape,
identical hardware and trim.
They had in common a beautiful design,
with streaming lines for the outside, and inside a fine detailed woodwork
upper mouldings and side panels.
All facts together we have no doubts theese Woodie models,
deserve valuable efforts of getting them back to the Old Car scenario. By reproducing original patterns belonging to vehicles owned
by us, our Brazilian Automotive Woodwork Company, is now also capable to build the charming utility Woodies from the past.
We started this project having in mind how
rare are today these kind of Suburbans and Carry-all in the USA market.
They were always made by independent Coachbuilders, and the most
renown were Campbell Mid-State and J.T. Cantrell for truck-based wooden bodies.
Don Gilbert's 1948 GMC
is a rare example of a woodie on a General Motors Truck chassis. (photo from Old Woodies site)
Yet in Brazil the Auto Industry took in charge, very often the
woodwork and body assembling to the light truck chassis, that were imported from USA. By this way, the Woodie truck models assembled in Brazil, notably for Chevrolet,
Ford and Chrysler (Dodge and Fargo) were luxuriuous as much as the station wagon bodies, provided to the
passanger chassis. GM do Brasil has even developped a sophisticated body for the truck chassis, on which
the passenger rear right only door open opposing the wind (suicide door). One of the most amazing pictures we ever found during our researches is an old
picture where one of the most popular brazilian country singers is standing out in a 50’s Chevy Carry-all greeting
people with the full open doors. Researchs, proves that the SUV woodie predecessors collectible models, became
efectively scarce in the american market. And literature does not mention frequently
facts related to those cars model. .Very few cars of that specie have been seen
during Cars Shows and Events nowadays.
For these circunstances, we assume
that creating the opportunity for the NorthAmerican Woodies Collectors have an authentic Brazilian Woodie,
is probably very atractive.
Currently we are reproducing Station Wagon bodies for
GM and Ford light trucks or commercial chassis. We rather prefer to do the job mounting the body on the chassis.
But we can consider,
eventualy to ship the parts, to be assembled in USA. The complete body includes, the shell, the
wood parts, hardware, seats, hinges, door with latches and the cowl metal parts modification.