It's never too late to own that dream car...To
the list of things you wish you had bought into on the ground floor--Microsoft
stock, Warhol doodles, Maui real estate--you can add a woodie station wagon. A
car that cost $40 in 1960 might today be worth $50,000. Probably more.
According to Hans Halberstadt's colorful
source book, Woodies, (MetroBooks, $14.98), there were 150,000 woodies
manufactured between 1928 and 1953. Some were lost or were twisted into hot
rods. Others had to be put out of their misery after hundreds of thousands of
miles. Today only about 10,000 survive, and 5,000 of those belong to National
Woodie Club members.
"People watch the
prices very closely," says Ed Bowman, a California dentist and leading woodie
connoisseur. "I own a fairly rare 1940 Ford Deluxe and I can tell you that there
are no others out there for sale at the moment. People are holding on to them.
Lack of supply drives the price up to ridiculous levels." Bowman recalls that a
fellow club member recently turned down an astounding $120,000 for his 1940 Ford
Standard--another desirable model.
tight has the market for good woodies become that the restoration business is
now booming. But don't expect that to be a cheap road either.
According to experts, you might buy a
rolling chassis with no wood for between $10,000 and $15,000. Then expect to pay
at least $50,000 in parts alone, before labor costs. Restoring the wood--even
dry rot can be a problem--or fabricating the wood from scratch can add $35,000
to $40,000 to the job. (Halberstadt's book lists the nation's top
A good source for sales
information is the redoubtable Hemming's Motor News (www.hemmings.com),
or the National Woodie Club (www.nationalwoodieclub.com) where a $30 membership
entitles you to their magazine Woodie Times, which includes comprehensive
class- ifieds. If you still don't find what you're looking for, it's time to
surf the Web, dude.
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