Old Woodies for Enthusiasts of Wood-bodied Cars and Trucks

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1940 GMC

1-ton Mountain Woodie

David Miller, Nashville, Tennessee USA

I've had an infatuation with vehicles made of wood since I was a kid, drawing them when I should have been listening in class. Actually, I was obsessed with anything that had wheels - cars, bicycles, motorcycles, roller skates, trucks. If it had wheels, I liked it. If it was wood, I could work it.

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Last year I started flirting with the idea of getting a woodie.   My wife was urging me to get a sports utility vehicle - the minivan of the nineties. I liked my little Nissan NX2000 sports coupe and I knew that I could coax another couple of years out of it while I fixed up an old car. I surfed the 'Net and devoured Hemmings each month.

I found woodies of all kinds, early, late, hucksters and hotrods. Then I came across this GMC woodie. I waited for photos, got them and was disappointed.   It was a huge, ungainly truck - the mahogany panels were shot and the fenders were dented. I mulled over it's possibilities and ran a dozen scenarios of restoration and/or modification. It grew on me.

It was rare. I liked that. It was also incredibly complete and original. Plus, it was an SUV, my wife would have to like that (Ha!). I made an offer, conditional on an on-site examination. I lined up a transport company, and flew to Reno. I bought it.

Three weeks later, the 1-ton woodie was in my driveway, a little worse for wear. the transport company had three separate mishaps while the truck was entrusted to their care. I was told Phoenix Motor Transport and their subcontractor, 'Showtime Proformance MotorSports' (sic), had never paid a insurance claim. Now I know why - they damage your vehicle, then deny any liability. To add insult to injury, they ignored all claims, knowing that my only recourse was Federal Court. The cost of litigation far exceeds the damage. The crooks got away.

The pictures of my woodie on the gallery page were shot while it was in Nevada - before Showtime destroyed the grill and damaged a dozen other parts. The wood is solid, yet weathered. It looks like I'll be able to save the old timbers, and just replace the mahogany panels. The metal body is solid, with no perforation from rust. The engine is apart and ready for the builder.   Now where was that sandpaper?

David Miller, the author and owner, is the creator of the Old Woodies web site.

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