This Town and Country Woodie car had a paint job that sparkled in the sunlight. (Angel Grady/Lariat)
On Saturday, Southern California Woody Club, the largest Woodie organization in the world, hosted their 19th annual car show, Doheny Wood. The show takes place every April at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California.
There is no charge to participate in the event, but you much have a wooden vehicle if you would like your car to be showcased. The event is also free to the community or anyone wishing to appreciate the beauty of these classic cars.
During the event, the Southern California Woodie Club sells food and merchandise, such as T-shirts and posters. Though the members pay an annual fee to join the club, they also help fund these events by raffling off prizes. At this event they had a stand-up paddleboard, a beach cruiser and a few Woodie and surf related items.
The event started at 6 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. toward the end of the event the hosts handed out awards for several cars. They had categories such as best in show, best wood, most unique, state park and a few others. They had about 300 woodies this year and about 20 or so awards to give out.
According to the Southern California Woodie Club, the event has been running continuously since 1997 and has close to 200 woodies of all makes and models in attendance. Members drive their woodies from all over to Southern California to show off their cars.
Paula Parsons enjoys driving her rare 1949 Dodge Woodie. (Angel Grady/Lariat)
“I have a 1941 Super Deluxe Ford station wagon,” said Mark Henzel, Pasadena, California. “I drove it here from Pasadena today. It has a cracked exhaust manifold, so it sounds like an old pick-up truck pulling away, but it get still gets up and goes pretty well for an 85 horse flathead V8 motor.”
According to Charlie Crowell, author of “The History of Woodie Station Wagons,” wooden bodied station wagons were work horses. Considered unattractive and strictly utilitarian, they were produced in low number. Yet today, they can sell for more than a house.
In the late 20th century, furniture makers began making wooden vehicles as a sideline to their businesses. The car was bought without the body, in which they would make out of wood. The custom vehicles were often set up like small buses and were commonly used to transport travelers to and from railroad depot, hence the name station wagon or depot hack.
“I have a 1925 Ford, they call it a Depot Hack,” said Mission Viejo resident Dan Mudra. “Depot Hack meaning, depot is like train station and hack is a slang in New York for a taxi driver. They would use it to haul people and their luggage to and from train stations.”
The Southern California Woodie Club hosts many shows in different areas, which many of the club members drive for from whatever they are to make it.
“We go to all the shows,” Santa Ana resident Paula Parsons. “The next one is our show up in Arrowhead, then there is Santa Cruz two weeks later, Santa Barbara, and the biggest Woodie show in the world is in Wavecrest in Encinitas.”
The Woodie cars were known to be owned by surfers and people that possessed the aloha spirit. It is said that the members enjoy getting together and owning a woody car is a lot of fun.
“It’s really fun and the Woodie car people have the spirit of aloha,” Parsons said. “They are so nice and it’s kind of a couple’s thing and the women get involved because usually the shows are in a nice spot by the lake, by the beach. It’s just really fun.”
Parsons has a great deal of knowledge about Woodie cars, she was very informative, look for her at the upcoming shows. She drives a rare yellow 1941 Dodge form the pilot house era. The next car show in the area will be in October, more details can be found on the Southern California Woodie Car Club website.
Many Woodie cars have modified engines and no longer have the original stock parts. (Angel Grady/Lariat)