Why Woodies Are So Fascinating for Auto Body Repair Technicians
No, we’re not talking about Andy’s favorite plaything in Toy Story. The woody—also known as a woody wagon—was a style of vehicle popular in the thirties and forties. First manufactured for mass commercial use by Ford, this type of automobile is characterized by the wooden paneling commonly found on its side and rear.
You will seldom see a woody on a modern roadway. Because of manufacturing legislation and impracticality, these woodworked babies have been entirely discontinued. However, serious collectors and automotive aficionados know that a classic woody in mint condition might be worth more than the property it’s parked on, with some models fetching six figures. But for the truest supporters, owning a woody is not necessarily about generating revenue, it’s about preserving a part of history.
Feeling Nostalgic? Cry About it in The Back Seat of a Woody
For many people, things bygone evoke a sentiment of nostalgia. We are rooted in habit, and for some, things have evolved too rapidly, and without warning. Being an auto body repair technician working on a woody is like helping bring a fragment of the past back to life.
When originally introduced, the woody was a work horse. It was essentially an extension of the horse-drawn carriage and was mainly used to transport people and luggage from train stations to their destinations. But eventually, the unique wooden cachet of the automobile seized the attention of the wealthier community and it became the preferred transport of the rural rich.
Woodies Are Special Not Just Because They’re Made Out of Wood
Of course, woodies are distinct because of their wood paneling. However, that use of wood made them unique in many other ways too. For example, the process of building a woody was highly labour intensive. Each car required 150 different sizes and shapes of wood that would have to be hand assembled. The wood would then have to be varnished and sanded multiple times. At one point, Ford even owned 400,000 acres of forest in Michigan so that it would have its own supply of wood.
In their heyday, woodies were status vehicles. They were extremely expensive to produce and expensive to buy. And despite their high price tag, it was difficult for automakers to actually make a profit off of them. That fact, combined with changing tastes and evolving safety regulations, mean that today the woody is a rarity. Thankfully, as an auto body repair technician you can do your part to help keep this piece of history alive!
How Someone with Auto Body Technician Training Can Repair a Woody
After your auto body technician training, the opportunity to work on a woody is like having the opportunity to ride a flying unicorn over a full moon. It represents a professional, and sometimes even personal challenge. It is a test of aptitude.
This is a task to take on once you’ve gained a considerable amount of experience in auto body work. Fixing a woody is a delicate procedure that should be undertaken only by specialized and qualified personnel in possession of adequate equipment.
Fixing a woody is more complex than fixing a modern style of automobile because it combines conventional bodywork that you’ll learn about in your courses with woodworking. Only a trained auto body technician who has the knowledge and experience to not risk damaging the automobile should take on such an important project.
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