Gear Head Tuesday – Woodies!

Gear Head

Hat tips today to “Chris-to-Fear” and “Popcorn.”

Packard El Paso front

Packard El Paso - side

Packard El Paso - rear view

The 1951 Packard El Paso is the Packard station wagon that never was. It is a genuine Packard and it is a genuine woody, but it is not a genuine Packard woody. Tune in again next Tuesday for the full story!

Station wagons appeared early in auto history. The body form became popular particularly in the U.S. and Canada. In the ’50s through the ’70s, wagons were the ubiquitous symbol of growing suburban life. From the early years of the body form into the early ’50s, the rear of the wagons was often formed by woodwork. The obvious drawbacks to auto bodies made from wood on the manufacturing side is the amount of hand labor, making the woody bodies expensive to build. From the vehicles’ owners side, the amount of upkeep to properly maintain the wood is problematical. All of that said, woody wagons (as well as other body forms where wood was used) are enormously popular with collectors. Today, with hat tips to “Chris-to-Fear” and “Popcorn,” we have a gallery of woody cars.



Above: In the late ’30s, Packard offered woody wagons on the “Junior” series chassis. Below: post war, Packard had woodies built on the “bathtub” body in their portfolio. Today it is not unusual for the postwar Packard woodies to sell for $100,000.




Woodies from “the General” – Above: Pontiac; Below: Buick


Below: a collection of Mopar woodies demonstrating that not all woodies were wagons:



Below: Mopar woodies – Chrysler and Plymouth wagons, followed by a collection of other Chrysler-brand woodies.




Below: details of woody construction



Auto trivia

Hat tip: “Cousin Mary”

The first drive-through gas station was opened by Gulf Oil in Pittsburgh, PA
in 1913.

Gas station


Add yours →

  1. Dave Brownell 08/08/2017 — 09:47

    According to a Google search, St. Louis, Missouri was the site of the first “filling station”, where attendants would fill your car from five gallon containers when you’d drive up. No direct connection of cars to pumps.

    My late father, born in St. Louis in 1884, was a callow young man at the time of the World’s Fair in 1904. Many years later, he remembered “filling up” his 1908 Buick two seater at a site very near the Fair, just outside Forest Park. Before that, he had to use hardware stores to buy gasoline, dispensed from measured pitcher cans.

    As a kid in the early fifties, I cannot remember Pop ever saying “Fill ER up.” It usually came out “Two bucks Regular” and that would often be enough to last a week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • … hee hee … 🙂
      Your correction proves the the need to vet items that I publish and not just accept that what was in the material is a fact. Maybe GULF’s first filling station was in Pittsburg, but someone else (in this case in St. Louis) did it first!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: