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Starting in the 1930s, wood-bodied cars began "sprouting" up and were largely used to transport people and their luggage from railroad depots to hotels and back.
These so-called "depot hacks" gave rise to a multitude of other uses for wood-bodied cars including logging, surveying, forest management, and later on as family transportation.
Woodies, or woodys depending on who you ask, really took hold of America in the 1940s and early 1950s when their designs became more ornate and they were often offered as the most expensive offering in an automaker's lineup. They became the go-to road trip car for families around the country and a sign of opulence for the well to do.
The 1950s brought along improvements in metallurgy and power plants that killed off woodies. It didn't help that the wood required yearly varnish jobs to keep it from rotting.
By 1953, the era of wood-bodied cars had come to an end. The 1960s surfer movement revived the woodies for a short time and later on, some manufacturers hung onto the woodie look by applying fiberglass panels and decals on their now all-steel vehicles.
We invite you to relive this era in person with a visit to the California Automobile Museum and our new "Wood is Good!" exhibit. Now on display until mid-July!
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